By Kate Enoka
National Women's Water Polo Athlete, Coach and Tattoo Artist
Place of work:
Auckland, Baywave, and Art + Body Creative, Mount Maunganui
What does your job involve?
As a coach, I am working closely with the Tauranga Water Polo club and schools to develop young players into future athletes, with the hopes of playing alongside them as I represent New Zealand. I am a tattoo artist by trade. Unfortunately, water polo is a non-funded sport in New Zealand, therefore all of my teammates work fulltime on top of our training schedule.
What is the main thing you want to achieve professionally?
My ultimate goal would be to make it to the Olympics in Tokyo 2020. We have a clear pathway programme to get us there. The National Women's Water Polo side sits ranked 12th going into this season and 10 countries are invited to attend Tokyo 2020.
Why did you get into this profession?
I started playing water polo 17 years ago, when I was 8 years old. I had followed in my two older sisters' footsteps and fell in love with the sport. Water polo has taken me all over the world and allowed me to study at Arizona State University on a scholarship.
When I first moved to the Bay of Plenty, I had a goal to make a Senior Women's Club team, to compete in the national league. After doing some research, I've found that the best way to achieve this is to coach the upcoming young athletes of the club and pass on all of my knowledge.
What do you like about your job the most?
The people. I've made lifelong friendships with teammates, who have pushed me through the toughest workouts. Also seeing the young players I work with improve every session. All of the people involved in this sport bring a real sense of joy and family.
What's the most challenging aspect of your role?
It would definitely be not having financial support as an athlete. I am looking for sponsors interested in helping out, as I am so close to the Olympic dream. We have world league in Perth and world championship in Korea this year, which are both crucial events for the national side to be successful.
What's your proudest work moment?
As a player, it would be when I captained the NZ Youth Women's team to sixth place at the Youth World Water Polo Champs in 2012. As a coach, I am proud to say Tauranga Water Polo Club have entered both a men's and women's team into the national leagues.
What is the best piece of career advice you've received?
The most important thing is that you have fun and enjoy what you do.
What's the most important thing your current role has taught you?
Time management. Balancing training, coaching, a fulltime career and having enough time to spend with my friends and partner comes with its own challenges. It has taught me how important it is to plan.
Would you recommend your career to other women?
Yes, 100 per cent. Give water polo a go and if you have the opportunity to go far in a sport you love, the memories you make are worth the hard work.