Kilikiti - Pacific Island Cricket

Kilikiti - Pacific Island Cricket


Posted 2015-12-31 by Pete Pettersonfollow
I have often seen local Samoans playing their brand of cricket, Kilikiti, on a summer's evening down at Fraser Park in Taita where I live. They have a tournament that has also been played there after Christmas for a number of years, but this year it was shifted to Trentham Memorial Park a few kilometres north in Upper Hutt.

The change of venue proved popular, because Fraser Park is very wide and can be windswept at times, TMP has a number of trees to provide a bit of shelter. The three day event between six teams of both men and women competitions in the Wellington Congregational Christian Church district was successful as usual .

I was rather intrigued with the sport and decided to do bit of online research. It started with the help of English missionaries and traders in the Pacific islands of Tonga, Samoa and Rarotonga in the 19th century. The sport was brought to New Zealand and while the Tongans were dominant initially, the passion and competiveness of the Samoans came to the fore. Kilikiti as the sport is known is now played all round New Zealand where Samoans reside in significant numbers.

A commentator described the following:

There are two sides, usually consisting of equal numbers. There is a strip, sometimes a cleared patch, sometimes even made of concrete, at the centre of the ground. They call it the pitch. A bowler hurls the ball from one end to the batsman, who is protecting his wicket. Prowling behind the wicket is a wicket-keeper. Scattered across the ground are the fielders, running, yelling, sledging.

The match proceeds on the sun-baked Polynesian islands. Batsmen hit and run. Bowlers keep hurling. They celebrate once stumps are shattered or a fielder pulls off a catch or a run out. And in the end, the team that has scored more runs almost always wins.

And yet, this is not cricket. This is a sport that starts with a mandatory prayer before or after the toss. But it is cricket's closest relative.

And in New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere play is much the same. As I wrote earlier, Samoans play their game with a passion and competitiveness that they play rugby and rugby league in the winter months.

The game of Kilikiti or kirikiti is now played internationally and the first World Cup was played in 2001.

NZ KBLACKS KWC 2001 winners
The Inaugural Kilikiti World Cup was organised and hosted by NZ Kilikiti Association Inc in January 2001.

The event was held at the Waitakere Athletic Sports Stadium, Henderson, Waitakere, NZ.

Seven Nations took part in the first ever tournament, America Samoa(Chiefs); Australia (AussieRoos); Cook Islands(All Stars); New Zealand(KBlacks); Niue(Rock); Tokelau(Hurricanes); USA(Hollywood Boys).

The KWC was played under the NZKA Rules and Regulations and was held in January 2001.

93393 - 2023-06-12 00:50:27


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