Stacey Waaka

Key Info

  • Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance

Stacey Waaka is a time-management expert. She has to be. She’s in her final year of a Bachelor of Sport and Leisure Studies* and she’s a world-beating Black Fern. She was a member of the team that won the Women’s Rugby World Cup against England in Belfast this year.

“I’m super organised. I have to be,” she says. “I have a yearly calendar on my laptop where I pretty much plan every single day of every month for all 12 months of the year. All my rugby tournaments and trainings and all my university assignments and classes are on there, so daily checks help me find what important thing is coming up so that I manage my time effectively.”

Stacey knows that making sacrifices in the short term can lead to long-term gains. Before the World Cup she was training morning and night through the week and at weekends too. “Some days your body is just so drained and physically sore but those are the times where mental toughness comes into play and you just have to push through anything as you look towards the main goal. I think through it all I’ve become a better person. I’ve learnt to be more confident and a better communicator from both aspects in life.”

She says while rugby is her main focus, she was determined not to fall behind with her uni study. “I did my best to keep up with all my assignments. Luckily my lecturers gave me extensions if I needed them, and I kept up to date by watching lectures online. Yay for technology!” Stacey is majoring in sport and leisure with a second major in leadership communication.

Her hometown is Ruatoki in the Bay of Plenty. “I always encourage those people I know from home to get out and explore the many opportunities the rest of the country has to offer. I especially drop Waikato Uni into the conversation, as it’s been the best time of my life these past four years since moving to Hamilton. I have grown so much as a person and have met so many people at this university. It’s something I’m really grateful for.”

Stacey is also glad to be a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar, awarded to high academic achievers who also excel in sport or the creative or performing arts. Course and gym fees are paid and scholars also receive leadership training.

With graduation not far away, Stacey is looking to the future. “Right now rugby is my priority, sevens and 15-a-side, with Olympics and another world cup both big events to aim for. After rugby I’d like to work in sports, maybe teaching, coaching or sports management.”

* Bachelor of Sport and Leisure Studies is now known as Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance

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