A petition to remove the current NISCGA executive committee was the final outcome of the Niue Sports Forum held at the Niue Lawn Bowls at Fonuakula last Friday afternoon.
The aim of the forum was to have an open dialogue inviting the sports codes and all who were interested to share their views and comments regarding sports on Niue with a future focus.
Majority of the views expressed by various sporting codes, officials, athletes and former NISCGA executives at the forum shared similar concerns for the current NISCGA executive members and the processes in how the officials are handling matters, in particular the Birmingham team that will be representing Niue at the Commonwealth Games and the dismissal of two NISCGA executive members.
The forum was organised by the Niue Lawn Bowls committee and was conducted by Niue Lawn Bowls President Des Hipa.
The programme began with a general welcome and housekeeping, followed by a brief sporting history of the national sports governing body known today as NISCGA (Niue Island Sports Commonwealth Games Association).
The evolution over the years since the association began in 1993 with the name Niue Island Sports Amateur Sports Association (NISASA) has seen major changes, setbacks as well as outcomes.
There were three main topics of discussion at the forum including current views on sports in general on the island, solutions to a successful sporting future for Niue, and turning solutions into outcomes.
As Mr. Hipa opened the floor for dialogue on the current views on sport on the island, a chilling tension in the air was the only response.
After a while of quiet tension amongst the attendees, the dialogue began and the main view expressed by various representatives of sporting codes was their concern for the current NISCGA officials namely the President Maru Talagi, Chef de Mission Tony Edwards and General Manager Sidney Lui.
One of the points expressed was the selection of the Niue team to Birmingham where two representatives included in the list confirmed to go are questioned as to what sports group they are representing or derive from to be included in the list.
One of the speakers referred to the constitution stating that it is NISCGA’s role to work for the sports codes and not for themselves. If the decision-making of the team players to go to the Commonwealth Games is to be made by the sports code, if stated in the constitution, then it shall be their decision and not NISCGA.
Niue Weightlifting Federation President Narita Viliamu-Tahega shared that her efforts to contact the weightlifter Giovanni Toimata representing Niue to Birmingham was seized by Chef de Mission and General Manager. However, she only wanted to show the island who was going to represent Niue in the weightlifting sport.
Another issue raised was the dismissal of the NISCGA Secretary General Hagen Siosikefu and Treasurer Christabel Kaukasi-Talagi from the executive committee in the past few weeks.
As per constitution, the NISCGA executive committee does not hold the power to remove executive members without the vote of the general assembly who voted them in, thus, they are still legally Secretary General and Treasurer executive members of NISCGA, according to one of the speakers at the forum.
Touch Tournament 2022 Organiser Lynsey Talagi shared in the midst of the open dialogue against NISCGA the need to develop referees.
“We are short on referees. So when we are talking about sports development, developing athletes something to consider would be developing referees. Develop the athletes, develop the referees and also the officials because when we also go to AGM (Annual General Meeting) for different sports not many people want to put their hands up to be in the committee. There are only a few of us to organise and we wear many hats. So support athletes, support referees, support the organising committees”, says Ms. Talagi.
An athlete of the Niue Shooting Association Clayton Viliamu expressed his concerns for the current issues.
“All we ask as athletes is please find a solution. Because we can see how fast twelve years can go and maybe another twelve years it may be our kids. We don’t want that.”
A great emphasis that was reiterated when discussing solutions and outcomes to move forward and work together was centred around the “athletes”, the “youth” and the “upcoming generations” and how the current issues will impact them.
A concerned citizen for sports on Niue John Asanso shared his experience when he first arrived on the island compared to now.
“I’ve been here for a while and when I first got to the island we used to have a competition level within the villages that nurture the youth. Because the future of the island is based on the youth…I think it’s better for us to come together and work on a natural ground and find a common ground and amend the situation. Because a lot of our young talents are wasted…there is no guidance, there is no support, there’s nothing to nurture them and then at the end of the day the talents just come and go. So it would be nice if we have a body organisation who can look into the development of the youth to nurture them and somebody they can look up to and talk to”, says Mr. Asanso.
NISCGA Vice-President and General Manager Sidney Lui was the only present NISCGA executive member at the forum but did not participate in the open dialogue.
The overall point of discussion shared amongst various speakers was the lack of good governance, transparency, and accountability of the current NISCGA executives.
And as a result majority who attended the forum supported the motion put forward by Niue Lawn Bowls President Des Hipa for a petition to remove the current NISCGA executives.
BCN news reached out to NISCGA President Maru Talagi this morning to share his point of view on the forum but he responded saying “no comment.”
Attempts to reach General Manager Sidney Lui were also unresponsive.
The outcome of the forum will determine how the next steps forward for sports on Niue will benefit the sports codes, officials, and athletes on the island and overseas.