Kilikiti, also known as Samoan cricket or kirikiti, is one of several forms of the game of cricket. Originating in Samoa (English missionaries introduced their game of cricket in the early 19th century), it spread throughout Polynesia and can now be found around the world in areas with strong Polynesian populations. The game is the national sport of Samoa,and is played in many other Pacific countries, including amongst the Pacific Islander diaspora in Australia and New Zealand.
The term kilikiti is borrowed from Samoan,Tongan and Tuvaluan. Kilikiti is the Samoan and Tongan term for the sport of cricket and derived from English. The term in Samoan is sometimes spelt kirikiti, which is also the Māori name for the sport.
The ball is made of a very hard rubber wrapped in pandanus. Players are not protected by any padding or masks, and will often wear only a lava-lava. The sennit-wrapped wooden bat is modeled on the three-sided Samoan war club called the "lapalapa," which are based on the stalk of coconut fronds. Bats are shaped to individual players' likings and can be over a meter long; because the striking surface of the bat is angled (just as the "lapalapa" club and the coconut frond stalk), the path of a hit ball is extremely hard to predict.
The rules of kilikiti are flexible. Indeed, the majority of reports written on the game simply say that the rules can only be known by those playing.
There is a batting team, a fielding team, and a pitch (sometimes of concrete). The bowl alternates between two bowlers, one at each end of the pitch; accordingly, there are two wicket keepers (this as opposed to the single wicket keeper in cricket).
There is no limit to team size, and teams are made up of whoever turns up regardless of gender or age.Tourist accounts mention that strangers are often welcomed. Players are typically all-rounders.
A kilikiti game is a multi-day community event full of singing, dancing, and feasting. Entire villages will compete and everyone will be involved, whether as player, cook, or spectator. According to one source, the only universal rule is that the host team forfeits if it cannot provide enough food.
The New Zealand Kilikiti Association (NZKA) is working to standardize the rules of kilikiti. In 1999 the NZKA started a national tournament, called the Supercific Kilikiti Tournament, and in 2001 it introduced the international World Cup Kilikiti Tournament. Games have been cut to a television-friendly 70 minutes (2 innings, the first being 30 minutes long and the second bowling the same number of balls as the first). The NZKA has also added the scoring of 4s and 6s.
Kilikiti is a growing sport in Australia, particularly among Samoan Australians.
The Fetuilelagi Kilikiti Tournament is held annually in Brisbane. In 2022, 15 teams competed.
Tournaments have also been held in other cities, such as Melbourneand Sydney.
Kilikiti has become a popular sport across New Zealand. It is especially popular among Samoan New Zealanders.
Tournaments have been held across the country, mostly in Auckland.
The Counties Manakau Kilikiti Association is the main league for the sport in New Zealand.
Kilikiti originated in Samoa and is popular nationwide.
Like in Samoa, the sport is also widespread in American Samoa.
The sport has also been played in Fiji, Niue, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu.
The sport has also been played in countries such as the United States.
Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga, is a Polynesian country and archipelago. The country has 171 islands – of which 45 are inhabited. Its total surface area is about 750 km2 (290 sq mi), scattered over 700,000 km2 (270,000 sq mi) in the southern Pacific Ocean. As of 2021, according to Johnson's Tribune, Tonga has a population of 104,494, 70% of whom reside on the main island, Tongatapu. The country stretches approximately 800 km (500 mi) north-south. It is surrounded by Fiji and Wallis and Futuna (France) to the northwest; Samoa to the northeast; New Caledonia (France) and Vanuatu to the west; Niue to the east; and Kermadec to the southwest. Tonga is about 1,800 km (1,100 mi) from New Zealand's North Island.
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