When Ojay Moka moved from Papua New Guinea to the Gold Coast five years ago, he had no idea he would score a key role in one of the biggest sporting events on the planet.
The Southern Cross University business student said he was stoked to be appointed the liaison officer for PNG’s Commonwealth Games rugby sevens team, their guide in the golden city he now calls home.
And there’s no better man for the job.
Ojay, 28, once represented PNG in Rugby Union in the National under-20s team, playing in clashes across the world from the Pacific Island to Africa and the Middle East, and alongside Douglas Guise who now coaches the PNG National Rugby Union team.
“My role is to make sure the players feel as comfortable as possible and not have to worry about anything except their job on the field,” Ojay said.
“I also get to take them sightseeing and organise other outings. I’ll definitely be showing off the Southern Gold Coast; I’ll take them past the Guido van Helten’s 10-storey mural at Southern Cross Uni on the way to the beautiful Coolangatta beaches and I’m keen to show them Northern NSW and the theme parks if they’re up to it when competition ends.”
After representing his country for three years, Ojay worked as a quality assurance officer in the PNG gold fields before making the leap to the Gold Coast, where he’s enjoyed many golden opportunities.
As an international student ambassador for Southern Cross and a member of the University’s student board, Ojay has helped others transition to life on the Coast: he has organised cultural university events, played two Rugby League seasons for Tweed Heads Seagulls, scored high-profile business internships on the Gold Coast, was appointed a Mayor’s Student Ambassador and works part-time for Study Gold Coast.
“I was drawn to Southern Cross University because it is so friendly and feels like a family and its perfect location so close to the beach,” said Ojay, who will graduate mid-year.
“I am studying business because I want to get into project management, and while I have a lot of event planning under my belt, this will be my first liaison role for an international sporting team so I’m excited for this opportunity. As a player your head is always in the game, but now I get to see how things operate behind the scenes, how the administration and all the back-end stuff works.”
The PNG Rugby team will arrive on the Gold Coast tomorrow (April 10) fresh from a string of international clashes.
“I’m their go-to for anything they need, from the day they get here until the day they leave,” Ojay said.
“For many of the young players, it will be their first time at a Commonwealth Games and first time on the Gold Coast, so I’ll be their link to the Games committee and anything off-field I’ll be taking care of.”
Photo: Elise DerwinMedia contact: Jessica Nelson 0417288794 or firstname.lastname@example.org