You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Honey Hireme is a mother, daughter, soon-to-be-wife and one of the world's best rugby league players.

But right now the Kiwi Ferns superstar is a carer for her mum Caryn, who is in a fight for her life. 

Based at Waikato Hospital in Hamilton, 120km south of the Warriors' training base in Auckland, Hireme joins near the ward where Caryn, who is battling an aggressive form of incurable stomach cancer, is resting peacefully. 

The news of Caryn's diagnosis was sudden, with limited symptoms. It came just three weeks after Hireme agreed to knock back offers from the Dragons and Broncos to commit to the Warriors for the second season of the NRL Holden Women's Premiership starting in September. 

"It was meant to be really, a bit of a silver lining you could say," a candid Hireme tells

"From the moment Mum came into hospital I would've already flown out to Australia by then if I had signed with an Australian club so staying back has been a real blessing.

"We didn't know what was going on with Mum and then we found out a lot more in detail about how serious the illness is and I've stayed by her side ever since really."

Hireme has spent the past five weeks alongside Caryn in the acute medical unit and does everything from help the nurses care for her mum to finding a spare hour to hit the training paddock.

And by training paddock, we mean places around the hospital precinct that the damaging outside back has identified and is using.

The hospital staff and security have become accustomed to the 38-year-old running up nine flights of stairs a day to the hospital rooftop for a workout session, before heading back to the ward to check in on her mother.

"I go up there and have a look around, it's not accessed by too many people because there are no lifts so you wouldn't really go up there unless you needed to," Hireme says.  

"I also do any sort of body movements I can while I'm there so it's a nice little training spot. It shouldn't matter where you are as long as there is some space. The lake is down the road and it's a good four kilometres around that.

"If Mum is resting and she's got a lot of visitors or I need a 30-minute break I'll shoot around there and come back and shower here. I've got a mattress and everything else I need as well, everyone has been very supportive."

No one wants Hireme to join her Warriors teammates for their training sessions more than Caryn, who Honey has always labelled one of her biggest life inspirations.

View this post on Instagram

Another day, Another fight, Keep pushing, Keep grinding 💪🏽

A post shared by Honey Hireme (@hunzbw) on

But in this emotional time, her daughter knows no other way but to remain by her side. And it's why Hireme won't hesitate to pull out of the Warriors' campaign if her mum's illness clashes with any rugby league commitments.

"If I don't end up playing a game I'm content with that," Hireme said of the NRLW. 

"Mum wants me to play, she's still telling me to go and do my running. She'll make sure I've done a session, she's keeping me accountable in here.

"And the reason I want to get up and train every day is so that I know if there is opportunity and I do get to play then I'm ready to go.

"I think I owe that to the team back in Auckland. Although I can't be up there training alongside them they know I'm doing the work here and trust in that.

"I miss the girls and want to be around them but mum and my family are my priority so it's an easy decision to be here."

The Warriors are just as understanding, too.

Hireme's impact off the field has already been felt from the moment she was in negotiations to sign with her home club.

It started with an ultimatum from her employers Sky Sports NZ after she spent the inaugural season abroad in Australia at the Dragons last year. 

A tongue-in-cheek "what do we have to do to keep you here in New Zealand" conversation was quickly met with a brilliant response from one of the game's biggest superstars.

"Back our team, not just me, and I'll sign" – she responded, and so they did, becoming a major partner of the entire women's squad in 2019.

Honey Hireme in action against Samoa.
Honey Hireme in action against Samoa. ©Brett Phibbs/

That's why, even if Hireme decides not to play in the NRLW this season, she's already played a big part. 

"We've been in touch with Honey quite frequently and we're here for her in any way," Warriors NRLW coach Luisa Avaiki told

"Her family situation is very important to us and I'm not concerned if she came in late because she's doing her own training. The type of person she is, she feels bad, but we're all like just look after your mum and do what you have to do.

"We want her to be happy in her personal life and there's absolutely no pressure from our end."

Hireme will marry her long-time partner Rochelle next Friday in a wedding ceremony brought forward by six months due to her mum's illness.

The location pencilled in? Next to the lake outside the hospital where Honey has been doing her 4km runs, with the hope Caryn is able to make it in person.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners