"Straight away I feel comfortable in the environment. There are no cliques or hierarchy, it's just been awesome to come in and be part of the team straight away."
Elle Temu's decision to move home has been as well timed as the intercepts she's become accustomed to latching onto this ANZ Premiership season.
The hard working defender has been a standout in her first season with the Robinhood Stars, after relocating back to Auckland following two campaigns with the Te Wānanga o Raukawa Central Pulse.
"Auckland's pretty much been my home for my whole life, so the opportunity to come back and be close to family and friends was awesome and the Stars looked like they had such a great team environment," Temu said.
"It really made the move easy knowing I was coming to a family orientated team. I knew a few of the girls too which helped."
Temu moved to Wellington and outside of her comfort zone after finishing at Mount Albert Grammar School and made 16 appearances for the Pulse throughout their back to back title run.
"It was a massive move but a great one too for netball and a chance personally to grow up. Coming back to Auckland now feels right," Temu reflects.
While coming into a brand new environment can be daunting for some, Temu says she was made to feel comfortable immediately amongst the Stars whānau.
"There are no cliques or hierarchy, it's just been awesome to come in and be part of the team straight away."
Temu is enjoying a breakout season in the Stars' purple dress and leads the competition in intercepts with 13 and has forced 17 deflections and pulled in eight rebounds.
Coach Kiri Wills has provided Temu with multiple opportunities to shine and Temu's flourished by demonstrating her no-nonsense style of play out on court.
"I love going for the ball. I used to play shooter and I couldn't handle the pressure of shooting very well. In defence you can just go hard and I really enjoy switching and working in the circle with someone else," Temu explains.
"I like to think I can read the game pretty well. I'm definitely not the fittest or fastest, but i'll do the hard yards and don't mind playing in tight. Being tall with long arms helps too."
While at the Pulse, Temu was able to learn from long-time defensive dynamo Katrina Rore. This year however, she's formed an imposing defensive combination with former Silver Fern Anna Harrison, who's in her first season with the Stars after coming out of retirement.
Temu says being in the presence of Harrison is invaluable.
"Playing with Anna is amazing. I've learnt so much in a short space of time. When I first found out she had signed I was like oh my goodness, this is awesome,"
"Oceane Maihi and I are both learning lots from her and she's always there if we have a question and willing to help, which is fantastic."