24 September 2018
Ben Peckham will bring the best of his Fijian and Kiwi worlds when he represents the New Zealand Defence Force in the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.
The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate understanding and respect for wounded, injured and ill active service members and former members. This year’s event, in Sydney from 20-27 October, will involve competitors from 18 allied nations in 11 different adaptive sports. The NZDF is sending a team of 24.
Mr Peckham, who moved to New Zealand from Fiji as a 16-year-old, served in Bosnia while in the New Zealand Army. He left the NZDF about 20 years ago and now lives in Auckland but it was only in recent years that he was diagnosed with service-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, subsequently, bi-polar disorder.
He will compete in sailing, discus and powerlifting at the Games.
“The opportunity to represent New Zealand at the Invictus Games gives me the chance to express myself through sport,” he said.
“Managing life with these conditions has been a challenge but has definitely been made easier with the help of key organisations, health professionals, family and close friends.”
Mr Peckham has two boys, Sekonia, 14, and Oliver, four. Last year he introduced partner Tanya Knighton and Oliver to life in Fiji’s Bua province, and next year they plan to visit Taveuni and Levuka.
His father, Sam Peckham, recently moved back to the family property in Bua, and he also has family in Taveuni and Vatukoula.
Mr Peckham keeps his Fiji heritage alive for his sons with regular visits, lovo [hangi] on special occasions and visits to their Auckland-based grandmother.
“I am immensely proud to be Fijian-born and represent New Zealand at the Invictus Games,” he said.
“At the Games I realise that I am in a position to showcase the natural talents of Fiji/Pacific, combined with the guidance and resources of New Zealand. Put simply, I have the best of both worlds.”
This year’s Invictus Games are being presented by Jaguar Land Rover. The NZDF team is sponsored by Auckland RSA, Christchurch Memorial RSA, Fulton Hogan, Jaguar Land Rover and Direct Sport.
Throughout the Games the team’s journey can be followed on: