Niue Premier Dalton Tagelagi takes part in Commonwealth Games lawn bowls during his annual leave

Niue’s Dalton Tagelagi had hoped to fly under the radar at Birmingham 2022 as he is a relative veteran on his third trip to the Commonwealth Games.

But that’s easier said than done when you’ve become your nation’s leader in the years since Gold Coast 2018.

Tagelagi competed this week in lawns fresh from the high-level Pacific forums, meeting Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern.

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The 54-year-old spent time in Fiji before moving to Wellington to discuss climate policy for the region.

He was in New Zealand when the reason for his impending annual leave emerged during a press conference.

“I was hoping you wouldn’t ask me about that,” he said.

Niue Prime Minister Dalton Tagelagi (standing, sixth from left) rubbed shoulders with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (standing, third from left) and New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern (seated, far left) last month. Credit: Samuel Rillstone/MONKEY

Tagelagi made his debut at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow when he was already a minister in the government of Niue, returning for Gold Coast 2018.

But on his way to Birmingham 2022, despite being elected prime minister two years ago, was a special milestone for the politician: his 14-year-old son Tukala is also in the selection.

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“The team has trained very hard and I am looking forward to joining them,” Tagelagi said last month.

‚ÄúParticipation in these things is very important. It’s one of those life experiences that you can’t take away… and it’s our head of state’s games, so it’s important to be there.”

Dalton Tagelagi (right) is on the lawn bowl team with his son Tukala. Credit: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

The 54-year-old is on his first break since becoming prime minister more than two years ago.

With climate emergencies and COVID in his day job, it’s no wonder Tagelagi enjoys his free time.

“They’re both the same, but I think this is more fun than politics,” he said at the lawns on Wednesday.

Niue, an island nation home to about 2,000 people, has only one bowling alley.

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