On Monday, Aumua was recalled to the All Blacks squad to play Japan next month, after one of the most challenging periods of his professional career.
"It's been a tough year," Aumua told Newshub.
"I'm pretty shocked, I didn't really think I'd be in there again."
Twelve months ago, Aumua demanded a national call up with some stunning form for Wellington in the Mitre 10 Cup, which made him impossible to ignore.
But he's endured a testing time since, and he accepts it was mostly his own doing.