MIL-OSI New Zealand: Backyard cricket turns into White Ferns dream

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Source: Massey University


Hannah getting re-presented with her New Zealand cap by New Zealand Cricket President Debbie Hockley at Eden park, earlier this year. Image credit: Photosport.


White Fern Hannah Rowe is currently on a six-week tour in the United Kingdom, juggling her studies with her passion for cricket.

The 24-year-old grew up on a dairy farm in Manawatū and graduated from Massey with a Bachelor of Communication (majoring in Journalism), in 2019. She’s studying again – this time completing her Postgraduate Diploma in Business, via distance. Her passion for the sport began as a child – playing backyard cricket with her brothers.

“Being under a New Zealand Cricket contract with the White Ferns means I am away from home a lot of the time, either at training camps or touring and it makes it difficult to hold down a job. Being able to study via distance means I can upskill wherever I am in the world and prepare myself for a career after cricket,” she says.

“The next 12 months are really important for the White Ferns. We have a 50-over home World Cup coming up early next year, and then have our first opportunity to compete in the 2022 Commonwealth Games with women’s cricket being included for the first time.” 

Hannah and the White Ferns running out onto the field for the T20 series decider against Australia at Eden Park earlier this year. Image credit: Photosport.


Combining two passions

Hannah says it’s been an honour to be part of the team over the last six years. She was first selected for the White Ferns at the age of 18 and managed to balance full-time study while training during her first year. However, as cricket became more professional over the years, she moved to part-time study.

Hannah says it’s a privilege to be able to study at the same time as training and playing elite sport. “The flexibility of online study means I can chip away at my studies whenever I get the chance on tour, and I’ve found that the lecturers are really understanding of athlete lifestyles, allowing a certain level of flexibility if assignments are due around heavy travel or game days.

“Having something else to focus on in my downtime means I can really focus my attention on cricket while I am training and playing, and then also find purpose away from the game. Especially touring in the time of Covid-19 bubbles and MIQ, I have found study a great distraction – there is only so much Netflix you can watch!”

She’s even found time to pick up some work in communications over the years. “I’ve done some casual work for Massey over the last two years, mainly with the Academy of Sport, writing stories about Massey athletes and their journeys and achievements. This has also included working on an ambassador project and Olympic Games content. I have really enjoyed combining my love for sport with my passion for communications.”

Hannah Rowe and Olympian Hamish Kerr (high jump) were named Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year at the 2015 Blues Awards in Manawatū.


Making connections

The Academy of Sport has been a great support network, she adds.

“The academy has helped me massively both financially and practically through my years at uni. I was on a leadership scholarship for my first year but gained access to the academy’s financial assistance through the elite bursary scholarships after that. This meant that rather than having to use my time outside of study working, I was able to dedicate more time to cricket and fitness training. With the academy’s assistance, I was also able to sit a couple of exams while away on tours which was game-changing.

“The academy has also allowed me to nurture relationships with many people involved in the programme who I still stay in contact with now – staff members, as well as fellow athletes which has been quite rewarding.”

After cricket, Hannah hopes to work in business communications and public relations. “I am so engulfed in the sporting world at the moment so I’m not too sure what that looks like yet, but I am really passionate about paving a career path for myself outside of the game.”

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