This story was produced by ABC International Development as part of the Pacific Sports Partnerships funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
A decision to return to her home in the Pacific after two decades in Australia has transformed a Tongan mother’s life. Her new role as a sports administrator has inspired her to take her game and her culture to the world, and bring a world of learning home to the Pacific.
Peti Tupouniua firmly believes motherhood is one giant job training program.
“The cleaner for the office, the driver for the kids, administrator, treasurer and a teacher as well.”
All of these skills and more are on display as Peti showcases Pacific badminton to the world at the Sudirman Cup on Australia’s Gold Coast.
One moment, she is translating for the international media. Next, she is playing an exhibition match against a young girl who has come to see one of world badminton’s premier events, held in Australia for the first time. Then she’s off to give a speech about her tiny Pacific nation to officials from around the world.
Badminton is a sports behemoth across Asia and much of Europe, but the Australian Aid-backed Pacific Shuttle Time sport for development program is an exotic attraction at the Sudirman Cup. Many people have never seen the game played outdoors before.
A year ago, Peti could not possibly have imagined herself here. After 20 years in Australia, her family made the huge decision to uproot and move home to Tongatapu, just a few doors away from badminton headquarters. After years in finance and banking, Peti took on a part-time role with the world’s fastest racquet sport in May 2016 and flourished.
Just months into her new role, Peti was invited to join the Pacific Women’s Sports leadership program, which brought together women working in sport from across Oceania to form a powerful new network. It transformed Peti’s view of herself, women, sport and life.
So now, there’s one more title Peti is adding to her resume: talent scout. She is on the lookout for women who could make the transition from the home to the realm of sport.
“Most of them have already got the skills from running their own family,” she says.
“So it’s just a matter of tapping it.”
For Aaron Kearney’s full article click here