Beatrice Faumuina excited to be in Samoa for Games
Legendary Samoan, Beatrice Faumuina, is excited to be in Samoa.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, who became the first Samoan/New Zealander to win a World Athletics Championship event, said Pacific women are not waiting to take their place in sports anymore.
Ms. Faumuina, who has roots in Fa'atoia, is in Samoa this week representing New Zealand in the Pacific Island Sports Ministers meeting, to learn about the work in sports and development of the region and take that information back home.
On the side-lines of that meeting, Ms. Faumuina said women’s representation on the field and in sports governance has some way to go, but that women have become more proactive in making that progress themselves.
“It’s always going to be a working piece, a lot of us would love to see more,” she said. But now that women have been “granted permission” to be proactive, the previously male dominated spaces will change.
“That conversation wasn’t a part of everyday language so now it’s more acceptable, and now you’re going to see us everywhere – from being in the boat, to coaching the boat, to delivering it to the next level.
“I think when you are in that position where you are empowering others to be more, and do more and ask those questions why that is when you see societal change.”
Creating spaces for women in sports governance includes building women’s capacity and capability before they take up their place on boards and management teams, Ms. Faumuina said.
“I’m all about the opportunity to create capability and capacity so that when they are ready they are absolutely ready and welcomed to that table,” she said.
“Instead of waiting for the time to come we want to make sure we invite them… their voices should be heard, and at the same time we want them to say what they need to.
“Sometimes, saying the right thing can sadly be not well received. But saying the right thing, with a purpose that serves many, that’s what we need.”
No longer an athlete herself, Ms. Faumuina challenged the female athletes competing in the Pacific Games to take up the fight.
“Now it’s time for them to absolutely embrace and redefine what women in sports is for the Pacific and for international globalisation of their game, and they can.”
Despite having never competed under the Samoan flag, the world recognised discus thrower said she always represented her country no matter where she went.
“I am of Samoan heritage, it’s my culture, it’s my upbringing of being raised in a family of three generations of Pasikifa women,” she said.
“So even though I was a New Zealand athlete, my surname is Faumuina so everywhere I went there was Samoa with me.”
Ms. Faumuina is in Samoa on business, but she is travelling with her mother Roini Faumuina. She said her journey has always been with her mother, so coming home together under her official title adds yet more to their experiences together.
And in her role representing New Zealand, Ms. Faumuina will be consolidating what she saw in the Minister’s meeting and see how New Zealand can support the work in sport and development in the region.
“It’s about being very mindful and respectful of the work that has been done. when you incorporate that into the way you deliver then the people will come.”
She will be in Samoa until Wednesday, and said she is eager to watch Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi compete in Archery, and the outrigger canoeing competition in Mulifanua.