Lani Hodgson

Supply technician, sporty mum

Private Lani Hodgson from Feilding is a young, social, sporty soldier. She is also a working mum to a two year old daughter. She lives in a comfortable Defence House in Linton Camp, and feels that she is well supported working within a family friendly organisation. 

How did you see that there was a place for you in the NZ Army? 

After High School I worked as a Marketing Assistant, it was ok but I wanted something more exciting. I actually had a lot of female friends in the Army prior to joining. We’d go running and train a lot together.  I’d find I was able to keep up or in some cases out-run them. I always thought they should be a lot fitter than me because they were in the Army. That’s when I realised that if they could do it then I could too. And it seemed like a great opportunity, giving me a good career, adventure, travel, qualifications, and I continue to play sport.

How has the Defence Force supported you and your daughter?

My daughter had a rough start with a lot of health issues around her liver function. During this time she was rushed to the emergency department when it was discovered she also had pneumococcal meningitis. She has recovered well but still has immune issues and can get sick quite easily. We still have ongoing routine hospital appointments as her liver condition was never diagnosed. I am never made to feel guilty about taking time off to care for my daughter, I can ring up anyone in my chain of command (manager) and I always have their full support. I am also well supported by the Chaplains, Community Services Officer and other support facilities the military offers.

What’s it like living in Defence Housing?

We live in a military house in the Linton Camp housing area. It’s comfortable and warm, and it’s conveniently close to work and day-care. I have other army friends who live nearby, some of whom also have small children so there is always something to do and someone to hang out with.  We often get together to take the kids to the park, indoor playgrounds or meet up for pot luck dinners.

How do your family feel about you being in the Army?

My mum thinks it’s a great achievement being in the Army, and my Dad is really proud and even boasts about me to his friends! I’ve got one brother and a lot of sisters - my 13 year old sister is considering a career in the Army. Her friends are often curious and ask a lot of questions about what life is like in the Army. 

How did you decide on the trade of Supply Technician?

I started out as a Medic and had some great experiences, and I even completed my Diploma in Paramedic Science. But eventually I realised that although I liked the people-helping aspect of the job, I was less interested in pursuing medicine further. 

What was fantastic was that the Army allowed me to trade change, and I came back from maternity leave in my new trade as a Supply Technician. This felt like a better fit for me, it’s an important role because without suppliers the rest of the Army can’t effectively carry out their roles and responsibilities. I can gain military and civilian qualifications and work towards achieving all my vehicle driving licenses.

There is heaps of variety in the role and different specialist avenues you can venture down within the trade. I also get a chance to get out of the office to the gym, play sport and maintain my solider skills - like being on the firing range and training with my Unit on the larger Brigade (all Linton Camp Units) exercises.