Pacific Games gets underway in Samoa

By Regan Paranihi

Twenty four nations will be competing in twenty seven sports at the 2019 Pacific Games, which is being held in Samoa over the next two weeks.

This competition is in its 16th year and it is said to be the largest to date, with around 5,000 athletes taking part in the tournament.  Of the 5,000 athletes, fourteen are Māori. 

Logan Rogerson of Tainui is in the New Zealand U23 men's football squad and he is eager to give it his best shot.  However, he knows it won't be an easy run.

"We're expecting a real physical game.  The conditions will be real difficult as well but it's what we're expecting here in the islands.  We came here, we knew the challenges we were going to face and I think we have to have a positive mindset and have no excuses and roll with the punches."

He says teamwork will get NZ through the next two weeks and he hopes to not return home empty-handed.

"We are all together in one big room so I think that's the best way to gel, be in each other's face for the whole two weeks but we're a tight-nit group and we all know each other from back in New Zealand so hopefully we can take that bond and take it to the game."

David Liti took home the gold in the weightlifting section at the Commonwealth Games last year and he is back representing Aotearoa at the Pacific Games.

"To be able to represent our small nations in the Pacific ... it's exciting and it's a privilege."

He says it's a great time to be a Pacific Islander and to be a part of an event like this is heartwarming.

"Our Pacific is not so big as other areas in the world and to be able to hold a competition where we can all gather around and showcase all our best athletes and talents- it's a chilling kind of environment." 

Kanah Andrews-Nahu (Ngāpuhi Ngāti Porou, Samoa), has built up a healthy weightlifting reputation in the last three years and she hopes to carry that reputation on as she strives for bigger arenas.

"I want to try to qualify for those bigger events like the Commonwealth Games, Olympics and stuff like that but also I want to break more junior records and senior records hopefully."

New Zealand's weightlifting and archery athletes will be focusing on their sport for the remainder of week one.