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Facing the challenge on the field

Corporal Hayley Hutana has spent her Royal New Zealand Air Force career balancing her love of sport, especially rugby, with excelling at her job. She has now upped the stakes after being named co-captain of the North Harbour women’s rugby team.

08 September, 2022

I am very grateful for the opportunity to co-lead our team. I’m looking forward to the challenge this year in competing against some of the bigger provincial teams.” 

The 26-year-old’s role as captain was announced about mid-July and the first game of the season at the end of that month was a success. 

“We got a win first up, which has been a refreshing way to start the season. We played against Taranaki and set a nice platform to build on for the season.” The season goes for about two months, with the playoffs in September, Corporal (CPL) Hutana said. 

“Some of our players are still at high school, which just goes to show there really is a pathway in women’s rugby now. Our team is aged between 17 and mid-30s.”

CPL Hutana’s long-term goal and “ultimate dream” is to wear the black jersey for the country’s 15-aside squad. 

“I’m looking forward to the challenge and extra duties this year. For me, I have got to set an example through my actions, perform well each week and lead through my performance. I prefer to be that sort of leader, as opposed to someone who talks all the time.” 

CPL Hutana is posted to inventory management, more specifically in a purchasing role for the Hercules, Boeings and P-3K2s. 

And even though her sport takes up a lot of her time, CPL Hutana is able to make time for work life as well. 

“It’s about being as prepared as I can be in doing the little things right each day. I like to ensure that I’m organised each evening for the following day so that I can be present during both work and training commitments, as well as travelling and playing each week.”

Deployment opportunities can be limited with the role, which can in ways be helpful, she said. 

“Being in an office role and with the season on at the moment, things have aligned nicely.” 

“We’re a pretty small team, and have some very young players. But I like to think of it as a challenge. I want to make a statement this year.”