Puriri Netball Centre and the surrounding area was renamed Vautier Park in 1976 after Catherine Vautier who had a lifetime involvement with basketball (called netball after 1970).
Basketball was played in Palmerston North from around 1914. Some of the early courts were located behind the Y.W.C.A in Grey Street. From the late 1920s games were played regularly on Wednesdays because it was early closing day of half-holiday, and Saturdays.
Catherine Vautier was educated at Palmerston North Girls’ High School. By 1926 she was teaching at the Technical School. She became involved in local basketball, coaching the 1930 representative team. Her dedication to the sport as a player, coach, umpire and delegate was rewarded in 1967 when she was granted life membership of the Manawatu Basketball Association.
In 2018, Vautier Park provides Netball Manawatu with a modern regional outdoor facility with 17 courts for over 4500 players, coaches, umpires and officials.