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The Pacific’s home-grown sporting heroes

"A fateful Sunday afternoon, I was on my way to church when a lady stopped me on the way to invite me to trial for rowing” - Georges Langa.

Georges Langa

The Pacific is vast and the stories of the athletes competing in the upcoming Pacific Games are as varied as the region. ANZ is proud to support its own champions who will be taking to the contest. Here are some of their stories.




Georges Langa has never allowed the restricted use of his left leg to stop him doing anything.


While working as a Customer Consultant in ANZ’s Customer Service Centre Team in Vanuatu, he is now training to be part of the Vanuatu Paralympic shot put team.


Langa will make the journey to the Solomon Islands for the 17th Pacific Games – also known as SOL2023 – where 24 nations from around the region will compete. The games start on November 19 and conclude on December 2.


“I am appreciative of ANZ supporting me in my sports involvement. I am able to take time off for training and also travel for sports competitions,” Langa says.


But, as he explains, his journey to the top level came about by chance.


“I started participating in sports back in my village. Playing volleyball, football, basketball and other active games children play.”


Langa only got involved in professional sport nine years ago. He was going for a walk in Mele Village, Efate, when he had an accidental meeting.


“A fateful Sunday afternoon, I was on my way to church when a lady stopped me on the way to invite me to trial for rowing,” he says. “I had seen Va’a (the word for canoe) in Tahiti during my time there and was intrigued. However this was an opportunity to participate.”


“I attended trials the following Saturday and was called back to training after that. After months of rigorous training, I was selected to represent Vanuatu in my first international Para-Rowing Regatta Competition in Australia.”


He made it to the finals for Group A and came fifth.


“It was impressive for a first timer like me and a para-rower from an island nation like Vanuatu,” Langa says. “I was enthusiastic about the sport because of the opportunity of being consistently coached by professionals and improving my skill and technique.”


“This built discipline, consistency, character and sportsmanship. I had the opportunity to be part of national team and fly the Vanuatu flag internationally at a professional level.”


Langa says he was supported by his family in Mele Village – including two sisters and one brother. Relaxing involves fishing with cousins and helping his Mum make tuluk - a delicacy from his village.


Langa is now involved in the Vanuatu Paralympic Committee as a para-athlete representative.


“I started getting involved in other sports such as para-athletics and recently shot put and discus. I have competed in the Arafura Games in Darwin, South Pacific Games in Samoa and Commonwealth Games in England.”

Team photo



When Fiji-based ANZ payments specialist Denzel Mock finishes work he jumps on the work shuttle bus that goes past his training venue for the national hockey team.


“It’s easier for me and I am glad that it does, because it’s about 20 minutes’ drive from where I work,’’ he says.


Mock mixes his job looking after salaries and payments for Fiji and the Pacific with his hockey career which thus far has him playing 29 tests for his nation.


“I started in high school and been playing ever since. My parents played the sport so I actually enjoyed watching them when I was younger and developed it into a skill,” he says.


In 2015, Mock was part of the team that won gold in the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby.


Earlier this year, he was part of Fiji’s successful five-a-side hockey team that took part in the World Cup Qualifiers on Australia’s Gold Coast.


“We will be taking part in the first ever five-a-side World Cup tournament in Oman next year in January,” he says.


He finds motivation from his family, including his partner and four children.


They love having an active life “whether it be mountain climbing, playing a different sport, swimming or running marathons”.


Victoria Kanevsky is Communications Manager, Pacific, for ANZ

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