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Living the dream: Honorary Midleton man Holland can see bright new light appearing at end of lockdown tunnel


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Jason Holland: ‘There’s this real wellness element that needs to be taken into consideration, and people do struggle if they don’t get out of the house and do normal things.’ Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Jason Holland: ‘There’s this real wellness element that needs to be taken into consideration, and people do struggle if they don’t get out of the house and do normal things.’ Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Getty Images

Jason Holland: ‘There’s this real wellness element that needs to be taken into consideration, and people do struggle if they don’t get out of the house and do normal things.’ Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Jason Holland's house is set in the hills above Rugby League Park where the Wellington Hurricanes go about their daily business. Nowhere is too far from anywhere important in a city that wraps itself around water at the southern tip of New Zealand's north island.

A Taranaki boy, before he moved to the capital he thought it was "a bit of a shit hole". He's changed his mind. If the sun is shining and the southerly coming in off the Cook Strait is not cutting you in half, then Wellington is a lovely spot. The city is compact and has a certain charm about it. And the access to the waterfront, snaking around from Seatoun in the west over to Eastbourne, is as good as it gets. "It's a cool city," he says. "Especially in summer. You've just got to suck it up and pretend you're in Midleton at Christmas time for about three months of the year."

It only takes five minutes for Holland to drive to training. So, out of the gaff around 6.30am and already wading into the day by 7.0. En route he can reflect on lots of good things in his life. Outside of the All Blacks there are only five head coaching jobs in the world's leading rugby nation - and he has one of them. The Hurricanes, where he succeeded his buddy John Plumtree just before Christmas, are a popular, well-run, ambitious franchise. His family - wife and two teenage girls - are healthy and happy. And he loves his job.