Inside the Great Kiwi Bakeoff's military operation

Ricardo Simich. ,
Spy News,
Publish Date
Saturday, 3 November 2018, 10:41AM
Hayley Sproull. Photo / Supplied
Hayley Sproull. Photo / Supplied

She’s been busy counting down the clock and playing cheerleader in The Great Kiwi Bake Off kitchen — now Hayley Sproull is teaching Oman’s military how to keep time.

Sproull, 28, who is smoothing the icing as host of the TVNZ 2 show alongside Madeleine Sami, left for a six-week stint in the Gulf nation to teach marching this week.

“I know — it sounds insane or like I’m making up a lie when really I’m going over to get a facelift or something but no it’s true,” Sproull told Spy.

“I’ve been a marching girl since I was a kid — it ran in my family with my grandfather coaching, my mother and her sisters marching; my mum was coaching when I was in her belly and I spent my early years being pushed in a pram around marching competitions. So, it was inevitable that I would end up doing the sport. It’s very much in the blood.”
It was the Sultan of Oman who first spotted the talents of Hayley’s marching troop, the Lochiel Marching Drill Team, when they performed in Oman in 2016.

He hand-picked them to return and help the country’s female Royal Guard how to march “Kiwi style”. He reached out to Sproull’s coach Colleen Pobar and members of the team have since spent time working with the female troop in Muscat, Oman.

This year, it’s Sproull’s turn — and she couldn’t be more excited.

“It’s pretty incredible and something I never dreamed was even possible, so I’m super grateful to my coach for trusting me to represent her and our team over there. Not a lot of English [is spoken] and it’s a difficult sport to coach — what could go wrong? I’ve done some crazy amazing things in my life and this is right up there.”

Sproull has been marching competitively since she was a child, giving up every Saturday to compete — and training multiple times each week. With a growing number of television commitments, she has taken this marching season off.
It’s not surprising. It’s been a busy year for the comedian — not only has she sweetened things up on The Great Kiwi Bake Off, she has also been working on a documentary about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Cystic Sisters, which will screen on TVNZ OnDemand at the end of November.

Sproull has been diagnosed with PCOS and wants to lift the cloud surrounding the condition that affects many Kiwi women, but is not often talked about.