Cultural show a battle of the Hakka
Laura Mock - The Reporters' Academy
Opening up proceedings in a colourful fashion, the Pacific Youth Basketball Championship cultural show proved to be a battle of the ‘Hakka’ between island nations.
Before the competition's beginning, bragging rights were up for grabs, and countries were keen to impress.
Vibrant skirts, floral décor and shells featured prominently as attire, with the Papua New Guinean women’s face paint and headdress impressing early.
The athletes demonstrated creativity, passion and cultural pride in their celebration of multiculturalism and indigenous customs.
Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Tahiti and Samoa’s men shouted, screamed and stomped to outdo their island rivals in traditional war cries.
Host nation Australia had a tough task competing for respect against exotic opponents, opting for a rendition of ‘Home among the Gum trees’, donned in flannelette for nostalgia.
Tahitian goddesses graced the stage in striking floral dresses, coaxing Spanish Under-19 coach Juan Orenga and Patrick Hunt to join the hula dancing.
Samoa’s representative warned that the team would make up for the previous six years non-attendance, by accumulating a medley as a finale extravaganza, complete with improvised instruments.
In a sea of blue outfits, Samoa stole the show with a choreographed, inspired performance from the full men and women’s squads.
A success on multiple levels, the opening nights activities set the precedent for the spirit of the competition, with friendships already forming between all representatives.