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'We've worked so hard' - Tauranga native's inspirational quest at Olympic water polo spot

Tauranga Waterpolo's Kate Enoka is leading the charge for New Zealand's first ever Olympic qualification, but the sport and the 25-year -old herself are facing their own challenges in getting there.

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Battling Graves' Disease, Kate Enoka is leading the charge for Kiwi history. Source: 1 NEWS

Already taking part in what's arguably the world's toughest sport, Enoka suffers from Graves' Disease, an autoimmune disorder.

Her condition meaning Enoka would suffer a relapse just days before this year's World League competition in Perth - remarkably still taking to the pool, much to the admiration of her coach.

"Sport brings a special kind of resilience and Kate's a great advocate of there is hard things ahead of you but if you have the right mindset you can get over them," Angie Winstanley-Smith told 1 NEWS.

Enoka did just that - named as the tournament's Most Valuable Player in New Zealand's national competition, something she'd have never dreamed of after a near career ending injury, needing shoulder surgery.

"I'd have days where I came home extremely tired and just so fatigued," Enoka said.

"So coming away with that MVP was a really over whelming feeling."

Now, she and the New Zealand women's team are gunning for the World Champs in less than two weeks' time. Up for grabs, Olympic Games qualification.

"It's been my goal since starting playing waterpolo 17 years ago, so too everyone here - we've worked so hard."

Despite being one of the oldest team sports in the history of the Olympics, New Zealand have never qualified, and with just 10 spots available, it's now or never for Enoka and her side.