Paula was born in Clyde, Central Otago, New Zealand on 27th May 1974; the youngest daughter of John and Monica (née Donnelly) Flannery; with brothers Wesley, Richie and Ashley, and sisters Donna and Christie. Her father John is the son of Martin and Mary (née O'Connor) Flannery. Her grandfather Martin was the son of Thomas and Anne (née Sammon) Flannery. Thomas was one of the four famous Flannery brothers who emigrated from Clooncunny townland in the parish of Killaraght in County Sligo near the Roscommon border in the 1860s during the New Zealand Gold Rush. Thomas was the son of Thomas and Winifred (née Casey) Flannery of nearby Lomcloon townland.
Before turning her hand to cricket she played both softball and hockey. In hockey she represented Canterbury in 1994 and 1997 and New Zealand Under-21 in 1994.
Her cricket career includes playing for New Zealand Under-23s Women (1996); Canterbury Women (1998-2002); New Zealand A Women (1998-2000; 2004); South Island Women (1999-2000); New Zealand Women (2000-2002; 2004); Kent Women (2002) and Otago Women (2003-2005).
Paula played cricket for the Canterbury "Magicians", before shifting to Lancaster Park - Woolston (who honoured her with a place in their all-time greatest women's team during their 125 years anniversary celebrations in 2006), and then the Otago "Sparks". She started her career as a promising leg spin bowler (right-arm offbreak) but it was her batting (right-handed) that attracted the national selectors. Her international career includes one Test Match (scoring 64 runs, including 9 boundaries) and seventeen One Day Internationals (scoring 258 runs, including 27 boundaries).
Most notably, she played for New Zealand Women ("The White Ferns") when they won the Cricket World Cup in 2000, beating reigning champions Australia 184 - 180.
[her portrait is illustrated above; courtesy of Cricinfo (2001)]