When Deanne Read joined the Navy, being able to pursue her love of boxing while serving New Zealand was a big drawcard.

But Ordinary Combat System Specialist Read has since learned just how behind her the Navy is overall, after being supported through a boxing injury, and then her pregnancy.

OCSS Read, currently posted to HMNZS CANTERBURY, had big plans in 2018. She was fighting welterweight in the Amateur World Boxing Championships in India and was working on her Olympic qualifications. But food poisoning struck her down in India, and she picked up a back injury that wouldn’t go away. She became pregnant later in the year. She needed to take time away with her husband to focus on her newborn son, and seek physiotherapy for her back.

“It was a huge process, to figure out what the issue was, and I’m still seeing a chiropractor every month to manage it,” she says.

She posted to CANTERBURY just after her son – Samuel – had his first birthday. “It’s exciting to be on the ship, getting into things.” She’s sparring with other crewmembers, getting her fitness up while helping those who are interested in the sport. “If there’s someone that wants to learn, I’m happy to help other people.”

Boxing is a hard sport, she says. “It’s a mental game, and it’s challenged me in different ways, which has extended into my career. I pushed myself – and a lot of my doctors – to come on ship, because it’s important to me to get into my job, learn my job and be efficient in it, just like my sport. I’m enjoying my role. You don’t go into your job half pie. You give it your all, give it your best, so you can be the best.”

The Navy were very supportive, she says. “If there’s something going on, a lot of things in the background hitting you, they help you get back. When I was pregnant, they gave me time to attend appointments. They support you mentally and emotionally. I applied for a year off, and I came back two months early, to get some sea time experience. They Navy helped me quite a bit, and you want to give back, to prove you aren’t just sitting back.”

It’s not easy, but nothing big is ever easy, she says. “Sometimes it’s how you take things on. Enjoy every second of it, regardless of the situation. I joined the Navy because they were supportive of sports. But they are supportive of a lot of things.”

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