Out to Lunch With Nazario Fiakaifonu


It is the first time I meet Nazario but waiting at Au Peche Mignon, it is easy to recognize the impressive Polynesian frame of soft-spoken Nazario. As we settle at one of Au Peche’s tables, it suddenly hits me, I am having lunch with an Olympian!

He has a degree in management and economics. During his university studies, in New Caledonia, he worked as a security guard at nighttime to cover his expenses.

smIMG_0929He is currently Assistant General Manager at Port Vila Hardware where he has put his degree to good use since 2013. Before, he was part of the AJC team as an accountant and business adviser.

Nazario is the only Ni-Vanuatu ever to have qualified for the Olympics. He competed in the over 100kg Judo category at the 2012 Olympic Games. To qualify, he competed in the Judo World Cup in Samoa, the World Judo Championship in Paris and the Oceanic Championships in Cairns during the previous year.

smnazario3He spent a month training in Japan before the Olympics and loves Tokyo.

His parents are originally from Wallis and Futuna, making him of Polynesian blood.

He owes his love of Judo to his big brother, who introduced him to the sport when he was seven years old.

smnazario2He trains six days a week. Twice a week for Judo under the tutelage of black belts Florence and Ted Drew, twice a week for Rugby League and twice a week in high-level sport coaching and conditioning with Brett Wright. Saturday is his day off.

He believes that in a fight between a boxer and a judoka, judo would win. “I would take the first punch for sure but I would then quickly use their forward force to immobilize my adversary.”

Nazario is a busy man who also owns his own security company, Guard Island Security (GIS) employing over 90 security staff. His corporate clients include Le Lagon Resort, the Australian High Commission, Air Vanuatu and Unicef as well as many private residences

smnazario6One of his hobbies is graphic design and he is proficient in Photoshop, Illustrator and other design software.

On his bucket list is a visit to the Torres Islands, “I would love to go there because the beauty of the islands but also because I love Coconut Crab!”

One of his favorites places in Vanuatu is Champagne Beach, in Espiritu Santo.

smnzario5He is well-travelled and has visited countries as diverse as Samoa, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Korea, England, New Caledonia, Fiji and France.

When he is not working at PVH, at his security firm or training, Nazario likes to go wild pig and flying fox hunting at Forari hills.

A Francophone by birth, he can also speak English, Bislama, a little Spanish and of course, Wallisian.

smnazario 1He is married to his high-school sweetheart, Magelie, and they have been together for 12 years.

His favorite food after coconut crab is Italian. “I love any type of pasta, unfortunately I can’t eat as much of it as I would like to!”