At every turn Ana Tuiketei is Unstoppable

by Oceania Rugby

Judicial Officer and 2021 recipient of the World Rugby Executive Leadership Scholarship, Ana Tuiketei, attains another milestone after becoming the first Pasifika female to be listed as an Arbitrator with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Ana Tuiketei is an international lawyer and arbitrator based in Suva, Fiji. Her passion and aptitude in the legal field combined with her passion to see gender equality in sport has seen Tuiketei smash through barriers at every turn. In April 2021 she became the first Pasifika female to be listed within the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which follows her 2020 appointment as the first listed Pacific Counsel with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Tuiketei has an extensive background in Sport in which includes advisory and board positions with Fiji Rugby Union, Fiji National Rugby League, Fiji Sports Council and Fiji National Sports Commission. Outside of Fiji she has continued her love for Rugby as a Judicial Officer for Oceania Rugby and World Rugby and a stint with the International Rugby League. In addition to her sporting links, she sits on various Fijian and Regional boards including the Fiji Employment Relations Advisory Board, Fiji Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Save the Children’s Fund Fiji, the Fiji Exporters Council, the UK Commonwealth Secretariat Task Force on International Arbitration and is the Deputy Director of the Institute of Small and Microstates based in the UK.

Oceania Rugby’s Women’s Director and World Rugby Council Member, Cathy Wong, has worked with Tuiketei on numerous sporting boards and sporting programmes and believes she will do justice to these appointments as a competent and qualified person in her own right.

“I congratulate Ana and celebrate her achievements in advancing role of women - not only in Rugby, but sports in general. She has played a huge role in guiding and giving legal advice to the sporting fraternity in Fiji, the Pacific Region and globally.

The Pacific and the world of sports are extremely fortunate to have her. This will empower more women in the Pacific to aspire to ‘normalizing women’s leadership in sports’”, said Wong.

Tuiketei credits the World Rugby Executive Leadership with giving her access to a global network of qualified, confident, and daringly ambitious women who are involved in the business of rugby through this celebrated ‘Women’s Club’.

“Ana Tuiketei is one of 12 inspirational women who have been allocated World Rugby Executive Leadership scholarships this year. Her new appointment as an Arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport is further acknowledgement of her potential to have a significant impact on both a local and International scale.” Katie Sadleir GM Women’s Rugby World Rugby.

Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu, the Chair of the Oceania Rugby Judicial Committee, the first Pasifika female Judicial Officer and regional colleague of Tuiketei’s said ‘Ana Tuiketei is a dynamic, talented and accomplished Pacific woman who is trail blazing wherever she wishes to go, and we Pacific women, across the region, are deeply proud of her, and her incredible achievements. We know that God’s hand of love, grace and mercy lights all her paths, and we celebrate each achievement knowing that she is blessed.’

Tuiketei credits her family and ‘man-bassadors’ as her inspiration to her recent achievements but emphasises how female representation is important to reduce the participation gaps in all sports.

“The more women take positive, leading roles in sports, the more women will see that gender inequalities can be overcome - not only in sports but in all professions”, said Tuiketei when talking about the pressures to adhere to gender-role stereotypes which still influence the way females are viewed within many societies. The passion to see gender equity in sports, particularly in rugby has always been a motivator for Tuiketei who looks forward to the day women’s leadership in sports is normalised.

When asked how to encourage women to get involved as a Judicial Officer or Citing Commissioner Tuiketei said:

  1. Please contact your local rugby Club, National Union or Oceania Rugby to get access to information of how you can participate or get accredited. Go into your union office or contact them online.
  2. Set goals or timelines to meet the required criteria.
  3. Get involved – in your local club, union or provincial competitions as practice makes perfect.
  4. Ask questions and contact anyone that is either qualified or on their way to getting qualified. At times support and mentoring helps.
  5. Don’t give up- take one day at a time as you will get there.