Author: Taylor Hawks

Keith Price Completes Successful Tenure as Board Chair, Leaving a Lasting Legacy

“The Taylor Hawks would like to thank and acknowledge Keith Price for his outstanding service, dedication and commitment to the club over his tenure as Chair of the Board. Keith has made significant contributions to the Hawks and the Hawke’s Bay Region leaving a lasting legacy”.

Under Keith’s leadership the Hawks have achieved significant growth in crowd numbers, sponsorship levels and he has built strong relationships with community and key stakeholders. In his tenure Keith has taken the club from the brink of bankruptcy to regular championship contenders. His vision and relentless commitment to excellence have played a pivotal role in shaping our success so far.

The contribution Keith and his family have made to the Hawks has been invaluable and we wish him the very best.

Keith will always remain part of the Hawks whānau. 

In light of this transition, we are pleased to announce the elevation of our current board member, Sally Crown, to the position of Board Chair. Sally has been an integral part of our organization, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the table from her business and governance backgrounds. Her commitment to developing our strategy, combined with her leadership skills and community connections, make her the ideal candidate to lead our board during this important next phase of our journey.

“I would never leave the Hawks unless it was in a good state to hand over. I’m proud to say we are there. Now is the right time to pass the reins to Sally, with the full support of all other board members,” says Keith. 

Sally’s appointment reflects our commitment to ensuring stability and maintaining the high standards of governance that our stakeholders expect. We are confident that under Sally’s leadership, our organisation will continue to thrive and reach new heights.

“The Hawks are a fantastic asset for our region. It is a privilege to take on this role, and to continue to build on the foundation Keith has set. As a board we are excited to explore opportunities for the franchise and work closely with our supporters, stakeholders and community to deliver something that we remain proud of,” adds Sally.

“The future shines bright for Ball and the Hawks”

A week on from The New Zealand Basketball 3×3 Cup which was held in Invercargill, showcasing 126 of the best players from across the country, with over 170 games played over the 4 day event. This year the addition of 16 international games were played in a trans-tasman rivalry between the New Zealand Tall Blacks and Tall Ferns vs the Australian Gangurrus. 

The Taylor Hawks produced a strong showing finishing the tournament in 7th place, in the top half of the draw.

The real success lay in the emergence of local talents from Hawke’s Bay, namely Jackson Ball, Zoram Smiler, and Kobe Kara. Both Ball, Napier Boys High School, and Smiler, Hastings Boys High School, made their debut for the Taylor Hawks, whilst Kara was given the opportunity to lead the team.

Watching the boys grow in confidence and begin to have that self belief, was the best part of the trip for me. Knowing the work that these three have put into their craft and the abilities they have, seeing them competing and representing not only themselves but their whanau and the region was something to be proud of. The way they carried themselves and competed in every moment is what it means to be a Hawk” says Jarrod Kenny.

Ball’s outstanding tournament was recognised in his selection for the All Star 4. From start to finish Ball was a standout for the Hawks. Finishing  in the top 10 players in total scoring, while making several game winning shots. It’s been a busy year for Ball, leading Napier Boys in their quest for a National Championship and representing New Zealand at the under 15 Asia Pacific Cup, where they finished 2nd to Australia.  

The All Star 4 was rounded out by Ethan Rusbatch, Rangimarie Dougall-Mita and the Most Valuable Player, from the 3×3 Cup Champions the Canterbury Rams, Kaia Isaac. 

Young local talent on display for the Hawks at 3×3 Cup

Looking to build the up and coming generation of local high performance ballers The Taylor Hawks are taking some of the best young talent the Bay has to Invercargill, for the third year participating in Basketball New Zealand’s (BBNZ) 3X3 Cup. Starting October 25, the tournament runs over four days, with the first three being a round-robin, culminating in finals on Saturday. 

The 3×3 format is an ideal space to look to build skill and depth for the Hawks, with a number of participating franchises signaling the tournament to feature key development talent with a number of NBL key players currently playing off-shore or unavailable. This plays into the Hawks new strategy well. This exciting young Hawks team features two high schoolers, Jackson Ball from Napier Boys High School and Zoran Smiler from Hastings Boys High School. These two talented young men lead the charge of the next generation of Hawke’s Bay ballers. Smiler, a crafty guard that can get to his spots on the floor to finish or create opportunities for others will thrive in the 3×3 format with the extra space it provides. Ball is a flat out scorer that can get it done in all three ways. The team is captained by ex Napier Boys star Kobe Kara, now a young vet that brings size and strength to the team. Kara’s ability to defend and play multiple positions will be a pivotal part of the Hawks Success at the 3X3 Cup. Rounding out the Hawks team is Jarrod Kenny. Kenny returns to the 3X3 cup for his second season, providing stability for the Hawks; being able to guide the younger players.

The tournament will bring together 24 top men’s and women’s teams with players taking part in 178 games, creating a highly competitive environment that promises exciting matchups across the event. Every game of the 2023 3×3 Cup will be broadcast live on Sky Sport,as an initiative by Basketball New Zealand to promote and elevate the presence of 3×3 basketball in the country.

Denhym Brooke, a member of the Taylor Hawks team this season, will be representing New Zealand at the event, playing in an 8 game Trans-Tasman series against Australia.

Hawks to remain the Taylor Hawks

The Hawks are excited to announce that Taylor Corp, a world wide exporter of New Zealand apples, will continue to be the naming rights sponsor for the team for the eighth consecutive season. This partnership, which began seven seasons ago, was a crucial lifeline for the team when they faced the threat of bankruptcy, and it has since grown into a successful partnership.

Taylor Corp’s unwavering commitment to the Hawks has been nothing short of remarkable. Throughout these seven seasons, they have provided invaluable support, ensuring the team’s success and fostering a deep sense of community spirit. This renewed agreement reaffirms their dedication to the Hawks, demonstrating their shared vision for the club’s growth and success.

In the face of adversity, Taylor Corp has demonstrated their true character. The Hawke’s Bay region, like many others, was severely impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle, and the challenges were immense. However, Taylor Corp’s response was nothing short of heroic. They deployed their resources, including a helicopter, to rescue people stranded on their roofs during the rising floodwaters, saving numerous lives.

“As an organisation, we are thrilled to have Taylor Corp remain a part of our whānau,” said Board Chair, Sally Crown. “Their contributions over the past several years have been invaluable, and they stood by us when we needed them most. Now, we return that support during their time of need.”

This renewed partnership is not just about sponsorship; it’s about solidarity and shared purpose. The Hawks are committed to working closely with Taylor Corp to assist them in raising the necessary funds to continue to be the naming rights sponsor. It’s a testament to the strength of this partnership, reflecting the mutual trust and support between the two entities.

The Hawks and Taylor Corp share a deep bond that extends beyond the basketball court. This renewed sponsorship marks a new chapter in their journey together, demonstrating the power of unity, even in the face of adversity. 

The team looks forward to an exciting and successful season ahead, with Taylor Corp’s name proudly emblazoned across the uniform as a symbol of resilience, community, and shared vision.

Kobe Kara back for 2023!

Please welcome back Kobe Kara for the 2023 SalsNBL season.

Kobe has been a part of the Hawks since 2021, when he joined the team after his final year at Napier Boys. Kobe’s game has come along in leaps and bounds this season. Making significant changes physically in the off season, has seen him hit the floor running this year. Kobe continues to be a reliable player on both ends of the floor. Not only has he improved physically, but the biggest change has been his mental development. No longer a shy young teenager, Kobe believes in his abilities and proves himself on the floor everyday. Kobe’s attitude and willingness to do all the little things makes him a favourite amongst his team mates.

“Coming back for another year of development. It was an easy call for me to make. He’s put the work in through the off-season and has pushed himself through a very tough preseason. Not only I, but the coaching staff and players have been impressed with what Kobe has shown. I hope he continues to work hard to stay ready”, Everard.

Jacob Murphy

Jacob is one of our promising young up and coming players. Having come through the Hawke’s Bay Basketball system Jacob is no stranger to Hawks Fans. Jacob plays with a lot of speed and passion. His athletic ability and 3 point shooting are among his greatest strengths. Although not overly tall for a basketball player, Jacob’s hunger for the offensive rebound gives his team a number of extra possessions in a game that is often decided by rebounds. Also working towards his Plumbing apprenticeship, Jacob has found the time to get himself in the best shape of his career, dominating in preseason drills. 


“Knocking on the door for the last few years, this is a big year for him to show that he is capable of moving up the roster in the future. He has worked hard up to this point, now it’s his chance to make the most of this opportunity and be ready when called upon”, Everard. 

JK is back for 2023!

Returning for the Taylor Hawks in 2023 is Jarrod Kenny.
Jarrod brings experience and leadership. He has been a key member of the Hawks team for 13 seasons in the New Zealand National Basketball League
“One of BBNZ longest standing players in the NBL. Our former Tall Black & Perth Wildcats champion has accomplished many goals in his career that his peers still hope to achieve. He is not only leading the Hawks off the court with his new calling, But leading the troops on court once again. I feel secure knowing I have a leader like JK in my team”, Everard.

Welcome Joshua Tutagalevao for the 2023 SalsNBL.

Josh has made his way North this season to the Taylor Hawks from the Wellington saints.

Josh has been described as a player from the same mould as former Wellington Saint, Damien Ekenasio. Josh does all the little things well, he will be a spark off the bench, coming in bringing energy, fighting for rebounds, setting hard screens and diving on the ball. Josh is a competitor, turning up everyday and leaving it all on the floor. His hunger to get better everyday is contagious and has already had an effect on his team mates.

Hawks fans will love the energy and hustle Josh brings to the team, weather that be on the court, sidelines or in the community. He will quickly become a fan favourite!

“He impressed me enough in his 2022 preseason games against the Hawks whilst he was playing for the Saints. A humble and coachable kid that gives 100% in training & games. He brings physicality that we need and a willingness to play defense.” Everard. 

Denhym Brooke Joins The Taylor Hawks For 2023!

Taylor Hawks fans please give Denhym Brooke a big welcome for the 2023 New Zealand National Basketball League
Denhym is an exciting young player that brings size, length and athleticism to the Hawks. He is a hard worker that has a big motor and a great attitude. He has already had an impact on the team in the short time he’s been here and we look forward to seeing him make his mark on the league this season.
Denhym is a 6’8 athletic forward that can stretch the floor out to the three point line. He makes his way to the Bay from Auckland. Having grown up in the Harbour Basketball system, he has a solid fundamental skill set and a good understanding of how to play the game.

Denhym attended Rangitoto College, and played age groups for Harbour Basketball. Denhym was also a member of a number of New Zealand Junior National Teams, before attending BYU-Hawaii and the University of Hawaii. This is his 5th season in the NBL, previously playing for the Super City Rangers and the Franklin Bulls.

“His ability to play above the rim will hopefully bring Hawks fans some high flying action” Everard.

Rasbatch is BACK!

The Taylor hawks are excited to announce the return of sharp shooter Ethan rusbatch for his sixth season in the bay.
Returning after red hot form and an impressive shooting display in the recent international window for the Tall Blacks, Ethan is hoping to carry on that form with the Taylor hawks.
The SalsNBL is full of offensive fire power but none do it quite like Ethan! He’s one of New Zealand best shooters right now, and with the World Cup in August, he is looking to secure his spot.
#skysport #SalsNBL