In the recent months, Badminton New Zealand has happily welcomed Camellia Zhou as an intern to help her in the field of Sports Management. Throughout her internship, she has been a valuable asset, contributing her skills and knowledge for badminton and applying it to various events, including the 2023 Junior New Zealand Badminton League. Camellia's experience sheds light on the opportunities internships provide for students to gain practical knowledge and insights of running a national sporting organisation.

During her time with Badminton New Zealand, Camellia actively participated in the behind-the-scenes operations of organising events. From overseeing sanctioned events, delivering the Junior New Zealand Badminton League and discussing future national events, Camellia's contributions were valued in creating a positive experience for athletes, officials, and spectators alike.

Camellia Zhou

"I have gained practical skills, such as effective communication, problem-solving, adaptability, and organisation, which are highly transferable and applicable to various professional contexts."

Camellia Zhou

One of the highlights of Camellia's internship was her involvement in delivering the Junior New Zealand Badminton League. This premier event showcased the exceptional talent of young badminton players and provided a platform for their growth and development. Working closely with the organising team, Camellia actively contributed to the event's success by coordinating match schedules, managing the teams, and ensuring a vibrant and engaging experience for all involved.

Camellia's internship experience highlights the value that internships offer to students. It provides them with firsthand exposure to the processes of a national sporting organisation, offering insights into event management, stakeholder engagement, and challenges faced in delivering successful sporting events. Through this experience, Camellia gained practical knowledge, sharpened her organisational skills, and developed a deep appreciation for the collaborative efforts required to deliver events.

"My experience as an intern at Badminton New Zealand working alongside the events coordinating team has been incredibly rewarding."

Camellia Zhou

Badminton New Zealand enjoyed having Camellia as part of the team and recognises the potential in developing young talent. The organisation is committed to providing more opportunities for youth to engage in internships and gain valuable experiences within the sport.

Let us join together to celebrate a momentous milestone as the New Zealand Junior Team Championships (previously known as the North Island Team Champs) proudly enters its 40th year!

For generations, this event has been the pinnacle of excitement for junior players, and it is that time of the year again where we celebrate this remarkable occasion. For 40 years, aspiring juniors from all around the country have come together, proudly representing their associations, embarking on memorable journeys, forging new friendships, and creating lifelong memories along the way.

NZJTC has evolved throughout the years and it has become known as a crucial stepping stone for young talent, providing a platform for both budding beginners and high-performing athletes to shine. It is an exceptional opportunity for newcomers to learn from experienced players, honing their skills while immersing themselves in the vibrant badminton community.

Richard Skarott, a Manawatu representative and one of the pillars of the event, succinctly captures the essence of the long-standing event, acknowledging how everyone “values the contacts and friendships made over the years. It’s fantastic to see players go on to be integral parts of their association teams or to higher honours.”

Over the decades, the venue has also undergone many changes, from a rubber compound on concrete to sprung wooden floors, and expanding the capacity to accommodate the growing demand. With an impressive 24 courts in regular use and a staggering 38 courts for this year, Palmerston North continues to raise the bar for excellence.

Behind this grand event stands an extraordinary team of dedicated volunteers, some of whom have been involved for over 30 years. Among them, Janice Cudby has served in various roles such as Treasurer, Event Director, President, and now Referee.

Janice and her fellow volunteers share a deep passion for nurturing young talents and witnessing their growth in the sport as they progress through the age groups. Despite the challenges faced over the years, from snowstorms to leaking roofs and even the unforeseen impacts of Covid, the spirit of the event perseveres.

Janice remarks, “The show must go on,” and with a wealth of experience and resilience, the team stands ready to overcome any obstacles that may arise.

The legacy of NZJTC extends beyond the players themselves. As Donna Haliday, a Commonwealth Games representative, former NZJTC participant turned coach, beautifully puts it,

“Palmerston North was always the highlight of the year. I loved having the opportunity to play the sport I love for a whole week while at the same time having fun.”

Today, as a coach, Donna finds immense joy in witnessing players develop, gain confidence, and strive for excellence. The cycle continues as these former players embrace coaching roles, passing on their knowledge and passion to the next generation.

Known to everyone as “Palmy,” this event holds a special place in the hearts of all those who have experienced its magic.

“The fact that it has remained as a fundamental part of the National Calendar for 40 years is probably the best testament to the event, affectionately known as Palmy.”

Richard Skarott

Let us honour the rich history of the New Zealand Junior Team Championships, where talent thrives, friendships are forged, and unforgettable moments are created. Let’s celebrate this milestone together, playing hard and supporting each other as we experience another exhilarating chapter in the remarkable journey of junior badminton in Palmerston North.

As Halliday advises, “focus on your strengths, learn from your losses, and above all, savour every moment of this extraordinary event.”

New Zealand's women's doubles pair, Erena Calder-Hawkins and Anona Pak, recently embraced the challenge at the Yonex Taipei Open - Super 300 in Taiwan. Securing a spot in the round of 16, the duo displayed a strong performance and gained invaluable experience on the international stage.

The Kiwi pair showcased a solid performance in the first round against the young Chinese Taipei duo Battling against the home crowd, they engaged in a thrilling three-game match that kept spectators on the edge of their seats.

Erena Calder Hawkins / Anona Pak (NZL) def Chung Chia En / Huang Tzu-Ling (TPE)
21-19 17-21 21-19 

Leading up to the Kiwi pair's performance at the Taipei Open, Erena and Anona had the opportunity to compete in the Crowne Plaza Northern Marianas Open and TAKECARE Saipan International in the Northern Marianas. These tournaments marked their first tournaments as a pair outside of the Oceania region.

It has been interesting re learning our routines when preparing for international tournaments as it feels like it has been a while since competing outside of Oceania

Erena Calder-Hawkins

The exposure to these tournaments provided a valuable learning experience for the pair, allowing them to fine-tune their strategies, which they successfully applied in Taipei.

The presence of New Zealand players on the international badminton stage highlights the potential for future achievements, and we eagerly anticipate more Kiwi players participating in international competitions!

Erena Calder-Hawkins and Anona Pak - TAKECARE Saipan International 2023

Three talented Kiwi badminton players, Adam Jeffrey (Auckland), Dylan Soedjasa (North Harbour), and Justine Villegas (North Harbour), have embarked on an exciting journey to Europe, seeking valuable experience after a prolonged period without travel due to the pandemic.

For five weeks, they will compete in the European International Circuit, featuring renowned tournaments such as the Victor Swedish Open, I FEEL Slovenia Yonex Open, Austrian Open, and Victor Denmark Masters.

In Sweden, the trio kicked off their campaign impressively, with Dylan and Adam delivering a solid performance in the Men's Doubles, securing a win against Singapore.

Adam Jeffrey / Dylan Soedjasa (NZL) def. Kriston Jun Hao Choo / Low Sheng Yan Nicholas (SGP) 21-16 / 18-21 / 21-19

"It was nice to play and win against countries that we don't often get to compete with in the Oceania region. Winning against Singapore with Dylan felt great, and we stayed composed, sticking to our game plan."

Adam Jeffrey
Dylan Soedjasa

They faced a tough challenge in the following match against Indonesia, the eventual finalists.

(2) Teges Satriaji Cahyo Hutomo / Christopher David Wijaya (INA) def. Adam Jeffrey / Dylan Soedjasa (NZL) 21-12 / 21-17

"We played really well at times and stuck to our game plan. The Singaporeans and Indonesians showcased exceptional speed and racket skills, so we had to find solutions. While we're disappointed we couldn't convert our lead into a third game against the second seeds, it's an area we'll work on."

Dylan Soedjasa

In the Mixed Doubles, Adam and Justine demonstrated their skills, defeating the Estonian pair and securing a spot in the quarterfinals. Justine expressed the nervousness of their first competition outside New Zealand and Australia but commended their composure and solid play.

Adam Jeffrey / Justine Villegas (NZL) def. Mikk Ounmaa / Ramona Üprus (EST) 21-17 / 21-12

Unfortunately, their journey in the quarterfinals came to an end against a formidable Malaysian pair after a hard-fought battle.

Lim Tze Jian / Desiree, Hao Shan Siow (MAS) def. Adam Jeffrey / Justine Villegas (NZL) 21-12 / 21-11

Now in Maribor, Slovenia for their second tournament, the Yonex I FEEL Slovenia Open, the Kiwis are ready to face new challenges. Adam and Justine will take on the 7th-seed German pair in the Mixed Doubles, while Adam and Dylan will face the 3rd-seed Irish duo in the Men's Doubles.

Stay updated on their progress by following the tournament results on Tournament Software, and catch the thrilling live stream of the matches on Badminton Europe TV.

The Kiwis' European adventure continues, and Badminton New Zealand stands proudly behind them as they represent the nation on the global stage. Best of luck to Justine Villegas, Adam Jeffrey, and Dylan Soedjasa as they showcase their skills and aim for success on the international stage.

The Junior New Zealand Badminton League 2023 (JNZBL) has come to a close after three days of intense matches, with two teams emerging victorious in a weekend filled with great atmosphere and excitement.

The event featured the best Under 15 and Under 19 talents from across New Zealand split across four teams in two age-divisions. With twenty-four of the country's brightest young badminton players, the JNZBL promised to be an intense and thrilling event, and it did not disappoint.

Despite the competitive nature of the event, the players showed great sportsmanship and camaraderie throughout the weekend, building new friendships and partnerships with players from different associations. The atmosphere was electric, with players, coaches, and spectators alike caught up in the excitement of each match.

In the U19 division, Team Kawarau and Team Ruapehu were tied at 3 matches apiece, leading to a Golden Game to determine the winner of the 2023 Junior New Zealand Badminton League. The players displayed remarkable composure under pressure, delivering an intense game of Men's Doubles that had the crowd cheering throughout.

In the U15 division, Team Ruapehu proved to be the strongest team, winning a tight tie score of 4-2 against Team Taranaki. Their opponents put up a tough fight, but the players showed great determination and skill throughout the matches.

The JNZBL provided a fantastic opportunity for junior players to experience the intensity of a competitive badminton event and showcase their skills. Experienced coaches and squad members were present, adding to the prestige of the event and the quality of young talent involved.

The great atmosphere and sportsmanship shown by the players were the highlights of the JNZBL. The event was a testament to the future of badminton in New Zealand, and we look forward to watching these young talents grow and excel in their badminton careers.

Congratulations to Team Kawarau and Team Ruapehu on their victories, and a big thank you to all the players, coaches, and spectators who made the JNZBL 2023 a weekend to remember.

1stTeam Kawarau1stTeam Ruapehu
2ndTeam Ruapehu2ndTeam Taranaki
3rdTeam Aoraki3rdTeam Kawarau
4thTeam Taranaki4thTeam Aoraki

The Junior New Zealand Badminton League not only showcased the best young talent in the country but also the finest sportsmanship. Chris Benzie and Lillian Cao were awarded the Sportsmanship Award, as voted by their fellow players. Throughout the competition, each team selected players to receive MVP points, and Chris and Lillian stood out with their exceptional performance, attitude and behaviour on and off the court. Congratulations to both Chris and Lillian for setting a great example for their fellow competitors and showing what true sportsmanship is all about.

For the full results, visit Tournament Software

Renowned New Zealand badminton player, Oliver Leydon-Davis has announced his retirement from the sport after a successful career spanning over a decade. Leydon-Davis has represented New Zealand at the highest levels of international competition, in particular donning the fern at four Commonwealth Games.

Oliver Leydon-Davis and Kevin Dennerly-Minturn at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland

Throughout his career, Leydon-Davis has been a shining example of professionalism, discipline, and dedication to the sport. His performances on the court and his achievements are a testament to his long-term hard work.

His most recent accomplishment, included representing Aotearoa at his fourth Commonwealth Games, in mixed doubles partnering Anona Pak. The pair exited the Birmingham Games in the quarter-finals, falling to the eventual winners from Singapore. Nonetheless, the journey to qualify for the Commonwealth Games was easy feat - making tough decisions to compete in international events across Europe and Asia, whilst New Zealand's borders remained closed. His efforts across all his campaigns, have earnt recognition and respect from Kiwis following along - and no doubt, inspiring the next generation.

Anona Pak and Oliver Leydon-Davis - 2022 New Zealand National Championships

Oliver's extensive badminton career includes highlights such as;

  • Four-time Commonwealth Games representative (New Delhi 2010, Glasgow 2014, Gold Coast 2018, Birmingham 2022)
  • Five-time National Champion (4 x Men's Doubles, 1 x Mixed Doubles)
  • 19 x Oceania Medallist (4 Gold, 13 Silver, 2 Bronze)
  • 291 - 243 win-loss International Record including a highest MD ranking of #37, and highest XD ranking of #43.
Oliver and Susannah Leydon-Davis at the 2017 Sudirman Cup, Gold Coast

As Leydon-Davis hangs up his racket and moves on to new endeavours, we would like to express our heartfelt appreciation for his outstanding contributions to badminton. He has been a true ambassador for the sport, representing his country with the utmost distinction.

We wish him the very best in his future endeavors, and we are sure that he will continue to make a positive impact on the community in whatever he chooses to do next.

Whilst, Oliver Leydon-Davis's retirement from badminton is a significant loss for the sport in New Zealand. However, his achievements and contributions will be remembered and celebrated for years to come. We thank him for his dedication and passion for badminton and wish him all the best for the future.

BNZ Staff and members of the NZ Squad celebrated Leydon-Davis' retirement over brunch.