Kate Pahina would love to see more talented young hockey players remain in Tauranga.
She grew up playing hockey at Oropi Primary School from the age of about 7 and since then she has enjoyed many highlights in her sporting career including winning National Hockey League with both the North Harbour and Midlands teams, playing a junior world cup and playing an international season in Belgium.
She knows what it's like to move away from Tauranga to chase a dream, living and playing in North Harbour for about 10 years before moving back to Tauranga and joining the CMS Mount Maunganui side about three years ago.
"When I was in North Harbour I was kind of striving to be the best, so now that I'm enjoying it for different reasons there was no reason to stay up in North Harbour, even though that was a great part of building me as a hockey player."
She believes Tauranga loses a lot of talented hockey players to other cities as they chase different dreams - something she says is changing and hopes to see continue to change.
"We lose a lot of really cool talented young kids to university out of the area so it's cool that Waikato Uni is now here, which gives us the opportunity to you know bring some of that age group, from kind of 18 to 22 here.
"And because the top team, the Black Sticks are based in Auckland then there is always a drive to leave Tauranga but again hopefully with the changes in New Zealand Hockey recently there will be opportunity for up-and-coming players to stay in the region and be looked after in Tauranga itself."
Having recently joined the Tauranga Hockey Association Board, she's excited about the direction of the sport in the city.
"It's kind of exciting to be part of an up and coming association."
Pahina has remained in the sport for more than two decades, and really loves the vibe of hockey at club level.
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"For me personally I just enjoy turning up and playing some good hockey.
"When you play club hockey, whether it's North Harbour or Tauranga, when you play with a group of people you know for a full year you really get to know them, so those are the kind of the teams I've enjoyed most in the past because they end up pretty much like family you know including the coach, including the manager and the supporters.
"I guess I've gone through phases. I went through a phase where I was striving to become a Black Stick and then also I had the opportunity to play overseas. I guess that all taught me why I enjoy the sport," she said.
Pahina was one of the major award recipients at last month's Tauranga Hockey Association Awards, which recognises the achievements of those involved with the sport throughout the season.
She was named the Women's Player of the Year award as well as the Women's Club Intercity Player of the Year, while Otumoetai Club's Denym Clarke was named Tauranga Men's Player of the Year and Men's Club Intercity Player of the Year.
Both players have had big seasons for their club teams and were the highest ranked Tauranga players in the Midlands Club Intercity competition. Clarke played for Midlands at the National Hockey League (NHL) and Pahina played for the Tauranga/Bay of Plenty women's team at National Seniors Tournament, placing second to Tasman.
For Pahina, it was her second time winning the top award, seeing the accolades as acknowledgement for her capability but also the team around her, from her teammates, coach and manager.
"I really enjoyed this year being able to play for the Tauranga Bay team, I haven't played for Tauranga since I was 18 and the association has grown quite a lot since then and they're doing some exciting things," Pahina said.
"For our Bay Tauranga team to make the final again it was just putting Tauranga on the map a bit and to play at home in front of a home crowd was also really special with your best mates are by your side and you've got your husband and your family standing on the sideline.
"As a Mount team, I've spent three years with them now and our constant goal is to make the final in the midlands competition and we made that [this year] which was a huge achievement so you know, from a team perspective it's awesome.
The Mount side ended up losing the final to Rotorua Aces and while Pahina says it was "disappointing to lose the final when we were up three nil", the team and culture they had around them was something positive to be part of.
"We had a real wicked bunch of girls and an even bunch of supporters that came along each week so that was pretty cool for that."
And one of her biggest supporters is her husband, Shaun Pahina, whom she is just as impressed by. She said watching him complete an Ironman and the Coast to Coast this year had shown her "there's lots of other things out there to enjoy, going out of your comfort zone".
"It's kind of important to encourage anyone and keep pushing yourself so that's probably what keeps me going you know, having the purpose, it's been cool watching him and having purpose to your training."
Tauranga Hockey Association Awards winners:
Women's Player of the Year: Kate Pahina (CMS Mount Maunganui)
Men's Player of the Year: Denym Clarke (Bayleys Otumoetai and McLeod Hiabs Tauranga United).
Junior Women's Player of the Year: Madeline Fleming (Bethlehem College, Midlands U18 Women).
Junior Men's Player of the Year: Fraser Pugh (Tauranga Boys' College, Midlands U18
International Player of the Year: Samantha Charlton.
Women's Intercity Team of the Year: CMS Mount Maunganui.
Women's Club Intercity Player of the Year: Kate Pahina (CMS Mt Maunganui).
Men's Club Intercity Player of the Year: Denym Clarke (McLeod Hiabs Tauranga
Senior Reserve Grade
Merryweather Cup winners of the round 1 Women's Competition: Otumoetai United.
McCrae Barry Cup winners of the round 2 Women's Competition: Mount Maunganui Thunderbirds.
Kiwifruit Cup winners of the round 1 Men's Competition: Mount Maunganui Mavericks.
Kent Cup winners of the round 2 Men's Competition: Otumoetai Chiefs.
Foster Memorial Cup - for the winners of the Tauranga Premier League Men's
Competition: Tauranga Old Boys.
Winner of Women's Baywide Competition: CMS Mount Maunganui.
Small Sticks Female Coach of the Year: Grace Camplin (Tauranga Primary School).
Small Sticks Male Coach of the Year: Colin Bond (Omokoroa No. 1 School).
Kwik Sticks Female Coach of the Year: Inge van Hedel (Omokoroa No.1 School).
Kwik Sticks Male Coach of the Year: Paul Tyson (Oropi/Pyes Pa School).
Secondary School Female Coach of the Year: Juliet Dunlop-Fraser (Katikati College).
Secondary School Male Coach of the Year: James Elen (Mount Maunganui and Bethlehem College).
Female Coach of the Year: Gill Gemming.
Male Coach of the Year: Narayan Singh.
Bigham Cup Female Umpire of the Year: Brooke Johnson.
Male Umpire of the Year: Antony Bax.
Junior Female Umpire of the Year: Kate Sharpe (Te Puke High School).
Junior Male Umpire of the Year: Daniel O'Connor (Otumoetai College).
Service to Umpiring: Phil Gillanders.
Bill Webb Cup Volunteer of the Year: Antony Bax.
Roy Osman Trophy (contribution to Masters Hockey): Jackie Heetkamp.