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‘Kilikiti at the Basin’ praised as a cultural success following historic event

Wellington’s Pacific community celebrated kilikiti at the famous Basin Reserve playing three games and hosting hundreds of locals.

Matt Manukuo
Matt Manukuo
18 March 2024, 9:07am
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“We were at the Basin yesterday and I stood there thinking how amazing this is.”

That’s Kilikiti at the Basin organiser Mata’ia Shana Muaiava reflecting on the historic occasion.

The event took place last Saturday, bringing the unique game of kilikiti to the iconic Basin Reserve. The event invited four teams, and one celebrity side for a combined three games.

Mata'ia said the Pacific community shared his sentiments.

“Everyone was really happy! If you’ve been to the Basin before, the sense of walking into the space is special. It’s a sense of calm and peace, being there was a privilege.

“So having our communities turn up in their colours, [with] their families and their groups added an extra sense of importance to the day.


“That feeling of connectedness and people who came to support, you could feel that real community spirit.”

Cricket Wellington representative Tom says the teams received the full experience at the venue, using the changing rooms, sitting in the players’ pavilion and walking down the stairs of the pavilion.

He says the games bought real excitement both for players who have, and who haven’t played the game before.

Kilikiti at the Basin 2024

“The celebrity game we had a mix of players who played, and many who hadn’t. Keri Tomlinson was captain of our Aotearoa Māori team and she smacked a few runs.

“I was talking to some of the kilikiti players afterwards and they were asking ‘what were those shots?’, seeing a sweep shot, and an under the leg shot.

“There was a lot of action! I think it was a huge success.”

Tom says there was a lot of good feedback from key people involved, including board members and the CEO of Cricket Wellington. He adds this event will be at the top of the organisation’s priority list for future community events.

Looking back on the day, Mata’ia Shana Muaiava says it was a huge honour to connect the younger Pacific community - in celebration of the game.

“This is such a great way for our young people, it’s such a great avenue to learn the sport but also to learn our gagana.

“Sometimes we don’t know whether our young people have those connections, it’s another avenue to open up those doors to connect to their culture.

“Our young people who live away on the islands, the diaspora, it’s teaching them the culture, the language. Those aspects are all tied into this sport, so if we can get it out to our schools, our young people can have somewhere to connect to their identity.”