June 7, 2023

Softball NZ is delighted to announce Black Sox legend Thomas Makea will be the national men’s team’s eighth head coach.

#BREAKING | Softball NZ is delighted to announce Black Sox legend Thomas Makea will be the national men’s team’s eighth head coach.
Following a rigorous and transparent interview process, Makea, a renowned figure in Black Sox history, has secured the job through to the 2025 Softball World Cup in Canada.
“Being appointed Black Sox Head Coach is a massive honour for me and my whanau,” Makea said. “It reflects my hard work, dedication and love for our sport. I am very grateful for the opportunity to lead our program forward. I have learnt and been mentored by some of our most successful Black Sox coaches so will take that into this role.”
Softball New Zealand Board Chair Hoani Lambert was pleased with the calibre and quality of those who applied for the Black Sox job.
“We are blessed with some great coaches in New Zealand, so this was a very difficult decision for the panel. We are excited with today’s announcement and look forward to supporting Thomas throughout his tenure as Coach.”
A distinguished member of both the WBSC and Softball NZ Hall of Fame, Makea’s challenge is to guide the New Zealand men's programme back to the podium.
The improvement internationally of the men’s game has been seen at the 2019 and 2022 WBSC World Cups, and with the Black Sox now ranked seventh in the world.
“It’s time to roll up our sleeves, embrace the challenges ahead and show our softball whanau that the Black Sox are committed to becoming the best that we can be,” Makea said. “This will take a collective effort from everyone involved.
“The opportunity to rebuild our foundation and strengthen our future generations to dream big and achieve greatness is a driving force for me.”
That begins, internationally, at the XVIII Men's Softball World Cup 2024 group stage qualifier in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada, in 2024.
Regarded as one of the Black Sox’s all-time best players, Makea won four world championships as a player and is the second most capped Black Sox with 143 international appearances over a nearly two-decade-long international career.
He also has a strong record as a coach having taken the Juniors to a silver medal in Canada in 2014 after a 17-year absence from the podium. They finished third in 2016, third again in Canada in 2018, then at the 2020 world championships in Palmerston North. Makea has also enjoyed a long association with Wellington’s Poneke Kilbirnie club, leading them to numerous Wellington, intercity, and national interclub championships.
Makea, Ng?ti Kahungunu, will be the first M?ori Head Coach of the national side. He affiliates to Ng?ti Kahungunu, Ngati Porou, Ngati Marama, Ngati Makea Ki Rarotonga.

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