Sunday, February 1, 2009

Samoa Cricket:Kirikiti.

Can you imagine that the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world is not in Polynesia but in Auckland?
The immigrants came to work as early as the  60s, and most have stayed especially in South Auckland. I have many ESOL students from Samoa, Tonga, Niue, New Caledonia and  Cook Islands.
The students tell me their sports, and Kirikati intrigues me most.  It is like a West- Samoa fusion of cricket. It has many aspects of Western Cricket, but with Samoa flavour.  It is the Samoalisation of cricket.
In Tuvalu,  they call this game Kilikiti, which is the Polynesian word for cricket.
The game is played in several South Pacific countries. Teams are mixed and can be any size - up to about 50 people.

"Lava Lavas" or wraparound pieces of cloth are worn instead of whites. These are colourful cloth like the South East Asian Sarong that we wear in Sarawak, Malaysia and Thailand. The bat is much bigger and  three-sided, meaning there was no telling which direction the ball would fly in when contact was made!
*** The game I saw last evening at Wesley Park was a mix team. There were many players in the field. And there were lots of supporters, Mums and Dads awith young children and push chairs. It looked very much like a social gathering.  It is good that they brought over this aspect of their culture and retained it.
Many of my students are born in New Zealand, or came as young children. They risk to become like myself and my  own kids, yellow bananas or in their case, brown bananas, brown on the outside and white inside. Not Samoa not Pelangi. (Pelangi is white man in Samoa).***
You can read up on this game written by Polynesians, the real McCoy ones. There are photos of the bat. Click on the link on Kilikiti,
Allow me to hopefully demystify the confusion. The Samoan cricket bat is one real heavy piece of tree and the blade cross-section is roughly an equilateral triangle. The thing you guys got to understand is that there is no real style in Samoan cricket, be it batting stance nor batting grip. What happens is the batsman just stands in front of the stumps and when the ball is bowled, the batsman takes a wild heave (I literally mean a wild swat) and so there is no attention paid to how the bat is gripped. See ball, hit ball. Regardless of how you’re holding the bat. The batsman could make contact with the ball with a flat side, an angled side or an edge of the bat. kinnum, there is no wrist action employed partly because the bat is so bloody heavy and partly because there is no real batting style in this game.
April 11th, 2006 |

john: when the ball is bowled, the batsman takes a wild heave

Sort of like in baseball?

The photo I linked to above, shows the bat quite clearly.
April 19th, 2006 |

I took the photo (thanks for using it). This was taken at a sports festival in Christchurch NZ, during the Kilikiti tournament, semi final. Kilikiti is now an active sport in NZ, mainly though in the Nth Island. Since I can remember (the ’70s), in Christchurch Kilikiti has tradtionallly been played by local Samoan churches, in friendly matches for the whole family, over the Xmas and New Year period. It still remains a tradition and the sports festival is the first of it’s kind to host a public tournament.

April 20th, 2006 |

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