We caught up with Stacey Fluhler to learn more about this amazing wahine. We hope you enjoy this interveiw.

Q1: The first question would be around Your childhood and being raised in Australia, did you ever feel disconnected to New Zealand while living in Australia? or did your parents raise you around the culture? I always had a connection to home - Ruatoki in NZ because my parents would send me and my brother back there every xmas to be with my Nan and enjoy that rural lifestyle every holidays and I am so grateful they done this because it wasn't such a big shock once they did make the decision to move there permanently when I was 8 years old! Culturally it was a little shock as I was never immersed in the Maori culture when we did live in Melbourne but after 6-12 months we soon learnt how to fit in and sport was definitely the one thing that helped us transition into a different culture from what we were use to.

Q2: How did you end up getting into Rugby? I look at my daughters and the oldest loves netball and Basketball but my middle girl wants to play touch and next year wants to pursue Rugby. Why do you think Rugby is appealing to wahine and where do you see it going in the next 5 years? I played rugby purely because my friends were playing and I grew up playing touch so I thought the transition couldn't be too hard. After my first game ever I absolutely loved it and then the love and passion grew stronger each year I played. Rugby has given me so many amazing opportunities in life - it's my fulltime dream job getting paid to play the sport. I get to travel all around the world for free, experience many other cultures and meet so many cool people along the way. It has helped me grow not just as a player but as an overall person and human being - life skills such as teamwork, communication, confidence, resilience, hard-work, dedication and much more! Females have just as much talent as males do in rugby and it's a cool way to express ourselves on the world stage. I see Rugby getting so much bigger in the years to come, more games, more teams, more opportunities around the world which gives wahine a chance to showcase their talent and experience the world through this awesome sport.

Q3: You have kinda hit the pinnacle in sports with this gold medal and your achievements. Where to from here? Do you look into creating a family of your own? I have been fortunate enough to win every pinnacle event in my sport which I am so grateful for but I still want to strive for so much more. With comm games, 7s world cup and 15s world cup next year + 2024 Olympics in Paris - I want to put my best foot forward to also compete in all of these events once again! I want to be there to help our talented younger generations coming through and share my knowledge and skills with them along the way. My husband and I have plans to start a family soon and that will happen when we know the time is right 🙂 My focus is still rugby at this stage!

Q4: You and all the sevens girls would be inspiring the younger generation especially our wahine, What advice would you give the younger generation?

My biggest advice for our upcoming wahine toa is to understand that you can absolutely achieve anything you put your mind to! Nothing worth having will ever come easy but if you work hard, overcome every challenge and obstacle that comes your way and with the right attitude and the right mindset you can achieve any goal or dream on your mind. It's not easy being a successful sportsperson nor is it easy being successful in any chosen area of work, but perspective is everything and it will take you a long way if you never ever give up!

Q5: You run your own online business with the scrunchies. What got you into the scrunchies and do you have plans to develop the idea and scale the business? Yes, my little side hustle selling scrunchies started at the end of last year and whilst I don't do it to make money (as I don't profit a lot from them) I enjoy putting big smiles on other people's faces, wahine in particular which is why I decided to create this little bizzo. When I wear scrunchies it makes me feel a little more feminine in a supposedly "male dominated sport" and I live by the motto "Look good, feel good, play good" so wearing a scrunchy whilst playing such a physical sport makes me fee like I have extra superpowers! I do have plans to develop more products in future but still deciding what exactly that will be! Watch this space 😉

Q6: From the outside looking in we see you are a very successful rugby player, a business woman and wife. Where do you find time to balance your life and is there any advice you can give to other women that may be needing help or that may be struggling with balancing their lives? My simple solution is good PLANNING and ORGANISATION. I love being a busy person - it keeps me sane tbh. So yes, whilst juggling all of my commitments may seem stressful to someone else looking in, I really do love it. I would never commit to things I don't enjoy doing but the one thing that helps me give time to all aspects in my life is good planning. I love to do lists and I write daily and weekly schedules all the time to tick everything off my list but I am also very adaptable so if I forget to do something or run out of time then I will simply write a new plan as needed. Unexpected things are inevitable in our lives so we need to also be ok with changing a plan when we have to. Balance to me isn't about giving 50% of your time to work and 50% of your time to your family. It is more so about giving specific time to each aspect when you can. Eg - during season I sacrifice time with my family to focus more on my training and games whereas out of season I won't train too much and I will spend that quality time with my family and friends. It's planning your day so you are doing everything that makes YOU happy and not trying to please others.

Q7: Mental health is an important topic, what's one thing you do to help you and any advice you can give to our Rangatahi? My biggest advice is to find the right people to talk to. I have so many different support people who I talk to for different things and this helps me so much mentally! Too often we bottle things up and don't talk and this is when people reach breaking point so I think it is super healthy to speak out when you can. My next thing is to find things that make you happy and do it. If going to the gym is your mental outlet then go do that. If walking along the beach is what clears your mind then go do that. Because if you are too shy to speak to others then there are other ways to connect with your mind and looking after your mental health is just as important as anything else going in your life.