Recently, women’s rugby in Fiji has been somewhat of a revelation. The Pacific Island country astonished the world by winning an Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo last year and then had an unbelievable undefeated run in their first ever Super W campaign in Australia this year.
In Fiji, the ANZ Bank has been at the forefront in the development in the women’s
game. The international bank has expanded its operations outside of its office walls to become the
major sponsor for the main local competition in Fiji known as the ANZ Marama Championship.
The ANZ Marama Championship features a total of eight provincial teams from around Fiji. It is the top
tier in the women’s local competition.
ANZ Fiji Country Head, Rabih Yazbek recognises Fiji’s recent successes, saying, “Fijian
women are achieving success in all fields – from sport, to academia, to public health, to business.
“But we know there’s still more work to be done. The same fears of failure and judgement are holding
women back in business and other facets of their lives too. Sport is a globally recognised vehicle to
achieve development in areas such as health, social cohesion and inclusion.”
He added, “ANZ strongly believe in the positive impact sport can have on local communities, by helping
people feel supported and encouraged, while learning important life skills that can be applied in other
areas. Sport is one of the most powerful platforms for promoting gender equality and empowering
women and girls.”
ANZ’s involvement was inspired by a recent research commissioned in New Zealand called the “Watch
Women Win”. The main aim is to enable women to succeed in sport and more importantly in life in
“The research highlights the importance of visibility – if you can see it, you can be it. Women need
encouragement, support and to have visible role models. If we want to accelerate change, we need to
celebrate women’s achievements, shine a light on positivity and tell these stories – loudly and proudly.
“ANZ are proud to be the naming rights sponsor of the ANZ Marama Championship. Our hope is that
ANZ’s support will encourage more Fijian women to achieve their potential in the sporting arena and in
the community,” says Yazbek.
Seruwaia Qauqau, who plays for Nadroga in the ANZ Marama Championship, is vocal about rugby being
a pathway for her, as well as other women in Fiji, as it not only provides a way out of being home-bound
but can give her entire village the resources to grow, learn and upskill in important areas of life.
“It’s a privilege to play in the ANZ Marama Championship. Rugby has been such a huge driver for me
achieving success in my life. The support from our fans makes me extremely proud and pushes us to play bigger and better each week. For many of us, simply playing rugby is winning, because it provides new
goals and opportunities we can strive to achieve and succeed at,” says Qauqau.
There’s more on Fijian women in rugby in the latest issue of Islands Business magazine. Login to your account or subscribe today.