Pakuranga student to be in U-21 Black Sticks

Olivia Grigg in goal.

A former Pakuranga College student has been selected as a goalie for the NZ Women’s’ Under 21 Hockey team.

Olivia Grigg’s journey into hockey was, she says, “accidental”.

When she showed up to hockey practice in Year 9, it was more a fluke than anything. “I decided to be goalkeeper because I didn’t like running,” she admits. “I didn’t expect to be any good.”

This changed significantly over the years.

As she grew older and more experienced, Olivia started to hear similar sayings from her friends, family, teammates and coaches. ‘You’re really good,’ they’d say. ‘You’re very talented,’ they’d repeat.

“Hockey became something relaxing,” Olivia says. “It’s an outlet of sorts.”

Olivia is currently in her 3rd year of a physiotherapy degree at Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

“I enjoy working with people,” she says. “It’s one of the reasons I chose physiotherapy.”

She trains extensively with Howick Pakuranga Hockey Club.

During her first year of university, she felt “okay” in terms of juggling both her rigorous training schedule with hockey and her studies. It got more difficult as the years progressed.

“I used to teach swimming,” Olivia says. “But I had to stop because I got so busy.”

However she says that New Zealand Hockey has been incredibly accommodating. “A lot of players have full-time jobs while playing professionally,” Olivia says. “They’re great like that.”

The Howick Pakuranga club plays other premiership teams in Auckland in the Premier Intercity Women competition. Occasionally there is a three-match Under-21 North v South series.

The most recent one was held at St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton.

Following these matches on May 14, the New Zealand Under-21 Black Sticks women squad was named.

This was in anticipation of the proposed Junior World Cups later in the year.

Olivia was selected as one of three Black Sticks goalies that could potentially perform in the Junior World Cup.

“Everyone was so excited,” she says. “It kinda felt unreal.”

She has received tremendous support from people outside and in the hockey world. “I’d like to especially thank my parents for driving me at 6am to training for years and Clive Daniels, the sports coordinator at Pakuranga College,” she says.

To Olivia, hockey is a multitude of things. It’s an outlet for aggression, a break away from her studies and it teaches her leadership and how to deal with a diverse group of opinions.

“As a goalkeeper, you have to be mentally in there when you play,” she says. “Otherwise you get deleted.”

Olivia will play in the National Hockey Tournament in Tauranga from September 12-18.