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Professional rugby player Stacey Waaka

Stacey Waaka follows Stacey's journey from Ruatoki to the rugby stadiums of the world. Read about some of the many challenges she's been through, including a terrifying bus crash, and how she overcame them. Find out how her faith, family, friends, coaches, teachers and culture have guided and powered her to aim high in life.

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From the rural town of Ruatoki, New Zealand to the bright lights on the World Stage.

Growing up as the youngest sibling of four was one of my greatest blessings in life. Genetically blessed with sporting talent, we sure were a competitive family and my sister & brothers never ever took me lightly. Mum and dad were both stars in their day and well, I guess that's where our talent came from. I played every sport I could as a kid because that's what made me happy! 

But I never actually found my passion for rugby until I was 15 years old when I signed up to play for my school's rugby team. I joined to play with my friends and this was the start to my Black Jersey journey. My rise up the ranks were much faster than I expected and I learnt quickly about the importance of hard work, sacrifice, humility and resilience.

At 24 years old I have already learnt a lot of valuable lessons along the way and I will never forget what my teacher told me back in Whakatane High School:

"You can only control the controllables"

And this statement has contributed massively to my experiences and successes thus far in life.

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