Maria Folau: The Iconic Netball Player

Maria Folau is a household name in the netball world. She has made a name for herself with her exceptional skills on the court and has become a role model for aspiring netball players worldwide. In this article, we will take a closer look at her life, achievements, and her impact on the game of netball.

Early Life and Career

Maria Folau was born on February 18, 1987, in Tonga. Her family migrated to New Zealand when she was young, and it was there that she discovered her love for netball. Folau started playing netball at the age of 11 and quickly rose through the ranks, eventually making her debut for the Silver Ferns in 2005. Folau is a versatile player, able to play in multiple positions on the court. She has played both as a shooter and a defender, making her a valuable asset to any team. Her height, standing at 188cm, also gives her an advantage on the court.


Folau has had an illustrious career, with numerous achievements to her name. Here are some of her most notable accomplishments:

International Achievements

Tournament Year Team Result
Commonwealth Games 2006 New Zealand Gold
World Netball Championships 2007 New Zealand Silver
Commonwealth Games 2010 New Zealand Silver
World Netball Championships 2011 New Zealand Gold
Commonwealth Games 2014 New Zealand Gold
Netball World Cup 2015 New Zealand Runners-up
Fast5 Netball World Series 2016 New Zealand Gold
Quad Series 2017 New Zealand Winners
Commonwealth Games 2018 New Zealand Silver

Domestic Achievements

Tournament Year Team Result
ANZ Championship 2008 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic Winners
ANZ Championship 2012 Northern Mystics Runners-up
ANZ Championship 2013 Adelaide Thunderbirds Runners-up
ANZ Championship 2014 Adelaide Thunderbirds Winners

Individual Achievements

Award Year
ANZ Championship Player of the Year 2014
ANZ Championship All-Star Team 2014
Netball New Zealand Player of the Year 2015
Netball New Zealand People’s Choice Award 2017
Fast5 Netball World Series Most Valuable Player 2018

Folau has also achieved the remarkable feat of scoring over 5,000 goals in her career. Her consistency and accuracy on the court have made her one of the most feared shooters in the game.

Impact on the Game

Folau’s impact on the game of netball extends beyond her individual achievements. She has been an inspiration to countless netball players around the world, particularly those from the Pacific Islands. Her success has helped to raise the profile of netball in these regions and has encouraged more young people to take up the sport. Folau has also been an advocate for diversity in netball. In 2019, she made headlines when she spoke out against Netball New Zealand’s decision to force players to wear skirts instead of shorts during the ANZ Premiership. Folau argued that the policy was discriminatory and did not take into account the cultural and religious beliefs of some players. Her stance sparked a national conversation about the issue, and Netball New Zealand eventually changed their policy to allow players to wear shorts.

Folau has also been a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. In 2019, she publicly declared her support for same-sex marriage, despite the fact that her husband, Israel Folau, had made controversial comments about the issue. Her willingness to stand up for what she believes in, even in the face of criticism, has made her a respected figure both on and off the court.

Retirement and Future Plans

In 2019, at the age of 32, Folau announced her retirement from international netball. She cited the desire to spend more time with her family as the main reason for her decision. However, she continued to play domestic netball in the ANZ Premiership, signing with the Adelaide Thunderbirds for the 2020 season. In May 2020, Folau announced that she would be taking a break from netball to focus on her family and personal life. She has not played competitively since then, but she has continued to be involved in the sport in other ways. In September 2020, she was appointed as an assistant coach for the Adelaide Thunderbirds.


Maria Folau’s legacy in the netball world is one of excellence and inspiration. Her numerous achievements on the court have made her a role model for young netball players around the world. Her impact on the game extends beyond her individual success, as she has been a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion in netball. Folau’s retirement from international netball marks the end of an era, but her influence on the sport will continue to be felt for years to come. As she transitions into the next phase of her life, it is clear that she will continue to be a positive force both in the netball world and beyond.


Maria Folau is one of the most iconic netball players of all time. Her achievements on the court are numerous, and her impact on the game extends far beyond her individual success. As she begins a new chapter in her life, we can look back on her career with admiration and respect for all that she has accomplished. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors, and we know that she will continue to be a positive force in whatever she chooses to do next.

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