Pacific women play part in sporting history

5 December 2018

By ABC’s Karen Shrosbery

Naoia, Luisa Tamanitaukula hemi tekem sait blong defenda, we hemi mekem wan shot blong klemen wan kol!"

For those of you who don't speak Bislama that translates as "Now, Luisa Tamanituakula beats a defender, takes the shot and goal!"

Adele Willie is making sporting history.

She is commentating a football match in her local language for viewers back home in Vanuatu (and showcasing Bislama to the world). This is a first.

The journalist is one of four Pacific women from Vanuatu and Fiji calling the Oceania Football Confederation Women's Nations Cup Finals in Bislama and itaukei Fijian, as well as English.

Two women speaking into radio broadcast microphones
Josephine (left) and Lavenia call the match in itaukei Fijian - Josephine says it has been a challenge but she's delighted with how she performed Image: ABC - Aaron Kearney

Adele says she is enjoying working with the other women and learning from the whole experience.

"You can see the pride on my face because Bislama is my mother tongue (English is my second language).

"I would love to learn in English so when I go back to Vanuatu I will learn English grammar."

The women are based at the OFC headquarters in New Zealand and use TV screens to commentate the games fed in a live feed from New Caledonia.

Joining her is fellow Ni-Vanuatu Jennesa Hinge Moli and Fijians Lavenia Yalovi and Josephine Navula.

They have this opportunity through the Australian aid funded Women in News and Sport initiative (WINS) run by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's International Development Unit to promote gender balance in sports broadcasting.

The women took part in intense commentary training in August with ABC commentator and broadcaster Aaron Kearney and are now putting the learning into action.

The WINS team are offering an alternative language service for OFC TV and Pasifika TV as well as co-commentating in English with the OFC callers.

They are based at the OFC headquarters in New Zealand where its commentary team is based, calling the games from TV screens which is not an easy task.

Josephine says it has been a challenge but she's delighted with how she has performed.

"I have learnt alot and I am still finding it hard to believe I did commentary in my native language … and live!"

The overall aim of WINS is to increase the opportunities for women in sports journalism and thereby create more representation for women in sports in news stories.

WINS is an ABCID initiative and funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Australian aid program.

The OFC Women's Nations Cup Final will be held in New Caledonia on 1st December 2018 with the winner earning a place at the FIFA Women's World Cup in France next year, and at the Women's Olympic Football Tournament in 2020.

Last Updated: 5 December 2018