|Occur every||4 years|
The Pacific Games (formerly known as the South Pacific Games) is a multi-sport event, much like the Olympics (albeit on a much smaller scale), with participation exclusively from countries around the South Pacific. It is held every four years and began in 1963, hosted by Suva, Fiji.
The idea of holding the South Pacific Games originated with Dr A.H. Sahu Khan who was one of Fiji's representatives at a meeting of the South Pacific Commission held at Rabaul during 1959. The idea was adopted and led to a meeting of nine Territories, held in Nouméa during March 1961, which awarded Fiji the honour of hosting the very first Games.
During 1962, the South Pacific Commission founded the South Pacific Games Council, with the first ever Games being held at Suva, Fiji. In the 40 years since, Games have been held in 12 countries and territories within the region. Initially the Games were held at three-year intervals although this was subsequently expanded to four following the Tumon Games in Guam.
As a residual consequence of the European colonisation of the Pacific from the early part of the 18th Century onwards, many nations who participated in the first Games (of 1963) were under predominantly British or French territorial rule. Understandably this generated a certain amount of confusion as both British and French flags and national anthems dominated proceedings and were occasionally used together for winning countries.
Western Samoa (now Samoa) was the only country with a flag and anthem of its sovereignty as it was the only participating independent island nation at that time. As time went on, fledgling nations gradually achieving sovereignty of their own sought to extricate themselves from their colonial past and new national anthems and flags emerged. Nevertheless, English and French remain the official languages of the Games.
Like other sporting events, the South Pacific Games has experienced slight controversies. A minor dispute that still continues today is the scheduling of events landing on a Sunday. Throughout the Pacific, the Christian Sabbath remains very important (sporting events or similar activity are illegal in Tonga for example) and scheduling at such a time would be frowned upon. The events themselves have also been affected by religious sensitivities, notably beach volleyball where the official uniform of bikinis for women has been forced to give way to more conservative attire. However other larger nations within the region or those loosely associated with more secular states (e.g. Cook Islands (New Zealand), American Samoa (USA), and French Polynesia (France)) are more moderate in this regard.
Other global and regional events have also influenced and shaped the Games' history. In 1995, the year Papeete, Tahiti hosted the Games, many countries took the decision to boycott as a direct protest at French nuclear testing in the Pacific. The Games, however, returned to near full regional participation in the following event in 1999, held on Guam.
According to the Pacific Games Council, The South Pacific Games were established with a view to
"creating bonds of kindred friendship and brotherhood amongst people of the countries of the Pacific region through sporting exchange without any distinctions as to race, religion or politics."
The South Pacific Games were established to ensure the efficient promotion and development of sports amongst the South Pacific Nations and their peoples.
With expansion and economic growth in the Pacific and Oceania region, the South Pacific Commission changed its name in 1998 to the Pacific Community.
The "Pacific Games" as they are now to be styled are intended to be something of a physical representation of the Pacific Communities as they move forward from the first South Pacific Games in Fiji in 1963.
Modern day games
The XII South Pacific Games held in Suva, Fiji saw for the first time the introduction of a full program of 32 sports. That program included sports that are synonymous with the Pacific region as well as sports that have a limited participation and are generally not well established.
A strong corporate sponsorship package a first for the games enabled the organizers to work with a free hand towards their aims of making the games a success. A colorful and effective media and publicity campaign generated much interest and enthusiasm among the public in Fiji. Schools and youth groups were involved in interactive programs such as the adopt-a-country program also a first for the games.
The XIII Pacific Games were hosted in Apia, Samoa. They were the 13th to have been held since 1963. In contrast to the Olympic Games which are expected to generate income for the host nation, the 2007 Pacific Games were expected to leave Samoa US$92million in debt, predominantly as a result of expenditure on large-scale infrastructure projects such as bridges and roads. Potential debt positions notwithstanding, five nations (Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga and American Samoa) were expected to bid for the 2015 Pacific Games. The 2015 Pacific Games were ultimately awarded to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and follow the 2011 Pacific Games held in Nouméa, New Caledonia. However the rising cost (purportedly in excess of $1 billion) and the logistical burden of putting on the games continue to threaten countries' abilities to host the event.
Pacific Games Council
The games governing body is the Pacific Games Council. The Games council flag is presented to the host nation of the next games at the end of every games. With expansion and economic growth in the Pacific and Oceania countries of the Pacific Islands it was now appropriate for the South Pacific Games Council to modernise and revise its charter in light of these changes in the region and the changing place of Sport in our society, thus the council adapted a new charter in 2007.
The current President of the Council is Vidhya Lakhan from Fiji.
Membership of the Council include internationally recognised National Multisport Organisation representing 22 island countries and territories who are members of the Pacific Community. Pitcairn Island is the only Pacific Community member that is not member of the Pacific Council, whereas Norfolk Island is admitted as member of the Pacific Games Council although not a member of the Pacific Community.
In July 2014, the Oceania National Olympic Committees announced their members had voted to allow Australia and New Zealand to participate in four sports, on a provisional basis, in the 2015 Pacific Games. The risk of seeing the two wealthy, developed nations dominate the competition had previously prevented their inclusion. They would be allowed to send participants only in rugby sevens, sailing, taekwondo and weightlifting - sports where other Pacific countries had proved sufficiently competitive against them in the past.
South Pacific Games locations
|Year||Games||Host City||Country||Dates||Athletes||Nations||Sports||Top Medalling
|1963||I||Suva, Viti Levu||Fiji||29 August - 8 September||700||13||10||Fiji|
|1966||II||Nouméa, South Province||New Caledonia||8–18 December||1200||14||12||New Caledonia|
|1969||III||Port Moresby||Papua New Guinea||13–23 August||1150||12||15||New Caledonia|
|1971||IV||Papeete, Tahiti||French Polynesia||25 August - 5 September||2000||14||17||New Caledonia|
|1975||V||Tumon||Guam||1–10 August||1205||13||16||New Caledonia|
|1979||VI||Suva, Viti Levu||Fiji||28 August - 8 September||2672||19||18||New Caledonia|
|1983||VII||Apia, Upolu||Western Samoa||5–16 September||2500||New Caledonia|
|1987||VIII||Nouméa||New Caledonia||8–20 December||1650||12||New Caledonia|
|1991||IX||Port Moresby||Papua New Guinea||7–21 September||2000||16||17||Papua New Guinea|
|1995||X||Papeete, Tahiti||/ French Polynesia||25 August - 5 September||2000||12||25||New Caledonia|
|1999||XI||Santa Rita||Guam||29 May - 12 June||3000+||21||22||New Caledonia|
|2003||XII||Suva, Viti Levu||Fiji||28 June - 12 July||5000||22||32||New Caledonia|
|2007||XIII||Apia, Upolu||Samoa||25 August - 8 September||5000||22||33||/ New Caledonia|
|2011||XIV||Nouméa||New Caledonia||27 August - 10 September||4300||22||28||New Caledonia|
|2015||XV||Port Moresby||Papua New Guinea||4–18 July||24||28||Papua New Guinea|
Pacific Mini Games
Since 1981 the region has also run the Pacific Mini Games (previously the South Pacific Mini Games) to enable smaller nations to host events and compete against each other.
Also a multi-sport event it is a scaled-down version of the main Pacific Games and is similarly rotated on a four-year basis in the intervening years between the main games.
The following cities and nations have hosted (or will host) the Pacific Mini Games:
|Year||Games||Host City||Country||Dates||Athletes||Nations||Sports||Top Medalling
|1981||I||Honiara, Guadalcanal||Solomon Islands||7–19 July||15||5||New Caledonia|
|1985||II||Rarotonga||Cook Islands||31 July - 9 August||15||6||Papua New Guinea|
|1989||III||Nukuʻalofa, Tongatapu||Tonga||22 August - 1 September||832||16||6||Western Samoa|
|1993||IV||Port Vila, Efate||Vanuatu||9–16 December||15||6||Fiji|
|1997||V||Pago Pago, Tutuila||American Samoa||11–22 August||1798||19||11||Nauru|
|2001||VI||Kingston||Norfolk Island||3–14 December||18||10||Fiji|
|2005||VII||Koror||Palau||25 July - 4 August||20||12||New Caledonia|
|2009||VIII||Rarotonga||Cook Islands||21 September - 2 October||21||15||Fiji|
|2013||IX||Mata-Utu||/ Wallis and Futuna||2 – 12 September||22||8||Tahiti|
|2017||X||Port Vila, Efate||Vanuatu|
|2021||XI||Majuro, Ratak Chain||Marshall Islands|
As with the main games, the cost of providing the necessary facilities and infrastructure is a concern to the region's smaller nations. In preparation for the 2009 Games in Rarotonga, despite having hosted the games previously, the local government considered diverting funds from a highway project, and secured a loan for US$10 million from the Chinese government to finance the building of a stadium.
Note: The 12 required sports for the 2011 Games are bolded, save "Rugby" as it is not clear which of the 3 version (7s, league, touch) are required, if only 1 of the 3 is needed, or if all 3 are needed (touch is listed as the sport for 2011).
Cumulative medals table (after the 2011 Pacific Games)
Officially the final medal tally of the Games does not recognize a winner, regarding competition and fair play more highly.
|South Pacific Games medal count|
|2||/ French Polynesia||446||379||397||1222|
|4||Papua New Guinea||344||330||344||1018|
|5||Samoa (includes Western Samoa)||167||129||146||452|
|10||Wallis and Futuna||22||35||71||128|
|12||Federated States of Micronesia||13||15||11||39|
|13||Vanuatu (includes New Hebrides)||12||33||53||98|
|16||Northern Mariana Islands||4||12||12||28|
|19||Kiribati (includes Gilbert)||2||10||15||29|
|22||Tuvalu (includes Ellice)||-||1||1||2|
Qualification for FIFA World Cup
The Pacific Games were, until 2007, open for teams associated to the Oceania Football Confederation only, for example teams from the Federated States of Micronesia or Tuvalu or provisional members of the NF-Board such as Kiribati.
- History. Pacific Games Council Official Website.
- "Charter" (PDF). Pacific Games Council. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF 0.3 MB) on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Bikinis out, Shorts in at Beach Volleyball Pacific Radio News - Niue FM, 29 August 2007
- French tests: Opposition grows, article summarising the response to French nuclear testing in the Pacific from World Information Service on Energy retrieved 19 February 2007
- Article by CBRE regarding increase to gross domestic product and real estate values as a result of the 2004 Athens Olympics
- "Games puts Samoa in debt". ABC Radio Australia. 2007-09-03. Retrieved 2007-09-03.
- Paligaru, Clement. "PNG risks losing right to host 2015 Pacific Games". ABC: Radio Australia. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
- Pacific Games Council - CHARTER - Constitution, Code of Conduct, Protocols, and Regulations adopted Apia, Samoa 14 May 2006 - As amended most recently in Wallis Island, 19 October 2012, Pacific Games Council, retrieved August 27, 2013
- Pacific Games Council - DIRECTORY 2013, Pacific Games Council, retrieved August 27, 2013
- "Aussies, Kiwis join Pacific Games: IOC pushes for Oceania to have a true continental games", Pacific Sunday News, 20 July 2014
- PNG2015 - Papua New Guinea Wins, published by the Pacific Games Council, on 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
- "Tonga to host 2019 Pacific Games", Matangi Tong, 19 October 2012
- "CNMI loses Micro Games bid", Saipan Tribune, 30 December 2011
- Stadium and China loan on hold Cook Islands News Online, 12 September 2007
- "Stadium for Mini Games in Cooks gets go-ahead". Radio New Zealand. 11 March 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-03-11.
- OFC 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP ROUTE VIA ASIA, Oceania Football Confederation Official site. Retrieved on December 20, 2006
- South Pacific Games 2003 (Fiji), Evidence of all matches in men's and women's football (soccer) tournaments on Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved on July 14, 2003 (Author: Andre Zlotkowski)
- Official website of the XIV Pacific Games in New Caledonia 2011
- Official website of the XIII South Pacific Games in Samoa 2007
- List of South Pacific Games and Mini Games on www.rsssf.com by Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation