New Pacific Rugby Players (PRP) board recruit Leulua’iali’i Albert Mariner offers a diverse perspective to the organisation, as well as a myriad of skills he is looking forward to using in as PRP strives to achieve the best possible outcomes for the multitude of rugby players it represents.
It is a far cry from his previous diplomatic roles at the Commonwealth Secretariat and United Nations, but Leulua’iali’i Albert Mariner sees the support and advocacy work Pacific Rugby Players (PRP) is doing for not only the players but the unions in the region, as vital.
“I know the Samoa Rugby Union (SRU) holds Aayden (Clarke, PRP chief executive) in high regards for doing a fantastic job in the Pacific,” Leulua’iali’i says.
“I look forward to working with the board members and support Aayden when he requires my input”.
Growing up in Samoa, Leulua’iali’i soon found rugby at a young age, and joined Vailala Ulalei Rugby Club, where he played from the junior grades up to senior levels.
For his final year of secondary school, Leulua’iali’i relocated to Auckland to attend Mt Albert Grammar, where he was part of the First XV side that lost the Auckland 1A final to St Peters College in 1988 – it is still a sore spot for him, he quips.
Another highlight from his rugby playing days is being part of the Samoa XV that played against the late Peter ‘Fats’ Fatialofa XV for his testimonial match at Apia Park in 1996. He was also a member of the active Suva Golden Oldies Rugby Club (SGORC) in Fiji from 2009 -2014, and made reference to the adage, that “when you make friends through rugby, it’s for life.”
After getting his political science degree at the University of Auckland, Leulua’iali’i embarked on an impressive career starting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Samoa.
“I went on to do my Masters in foreign affairs and trade at Monash University, and then worked) at the Political Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat for 14 years in London.
“I also worked for five years in Fiji as the senior peace and development advisor at the United Nations.”
Returning to his roots, Leulua’iali’i is back in Apia, where he does consultancy work, and is currently the Political/Economics Specialist at the United States Embassy in Samoa.
While he has always been passionate about the game, Leulua’iali’i became involved in the governance side of rugby, when SRU invited him to be on the selection panel for the new Manu Samoa coach.
Former Manu Samoa player and founding PRP and board member Mapusua Seilala Mapusua was appointed as head coach and several months ago, Mapasua and PRP chairman Hale T-Pole asked Leulua’iali’i to put his name forward for consideration.
His submission has been successful, and Leulua’iali’i is looking forward to the new challenge with such a proactive organisation.
With his development, governance and diplomacy background, Leulua’iali’i brings those things and more.
“I hope to bring perspectives, skills and knowledge that would contribute to PRP’s goals and objectives,” he says.
Meanwhile, PRP Chairman Hale T Pole says PRP is committed to diversifying the board and include people from different backgrounds and skillsets to assist with the board’s work and objectives.
Visit PRP for more information about what the organisation does for Pacific players and rugby in the region.