'Aotearoa I miss your smile': Joelle King returns home after three years away

By Kelvin McDonald

Joelle King, queen of the courts, has been away from Aotearoa for three years.

She played her first game back in Tauranga in the weekend - winning her ninth NZ squash title - and the best thing about it was she played in front of her mother Joel King, as she prepares for the Commonwealth Games later this year.

"I haven't seen her for three years so it's been the best thing ever," a smiling mum, Turia, told Te Ao Toa.

"So I'm hanging off her tails every day, it's awesome."

Daughter, Joelle, says she is loving being home.

"The last few days have been a mix of jetlag, pure adrenalin, running on fumes, but it's worth every second of it. It's so nice to be home with my family.

"But also squash is like a second family, it's all the people I grew up playing with. And it's so nice to see familiar faces," Joelle says.

"Obviously, being away for 3.5 years you're sort of so out of the loop. And when I came back, I took a walk with my mum, every person says 'Good morning, how are you?'

"It's the people that make a place, I've missed the people here - and obviously my family."