Waitara teenager Grace Hughes reckons she has struck gold after choosing a career with the Royal New Zealand Navy.
''I am sporty more than academic and wanted a job that wouldn't put me behind a desk,'' she told Fairfax Media yesterday.
And the navy turned out to be the perfect choice, she said during her first leave after 13 challenging weeks of basic training.
''It's the most rewarding thing I've ever done. It's definitely the best decision I've ever made.''
Hughes recently graduated, alongside 63 other men and women, and was presented the award for the most improved trainee, the Stoker First Class William Dale Cup.
She was disappointed that she wasn't allowed to bring it home to show it off. The cup was put back with the rest of the silver at Devonport Naval Base in Auckland.
Hughes is also very pleased to be the first female to finish the taxing cross-country event.
Her parents were proud to have a daughter in the armed forces, she says.
Hughes grew up in Gisborne and moved with her family to Waitara when she was 11. She attended Bell Block school then headed on to New Plymouth Girls' High School.
She now intends to work her way up the ranks as fast as she can, be the best she can in her new trade and finally head off to sea.
She now moves into training as a communications warfare specialist.
And after completion of the course on December 19 she can call herself a naval rating and from February next year will be available to be deployed on one of the Navy's 12 vessels.
- Taranaki Daily News
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