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A 10 member group of Victoria Park members just returned from a tour through French Polynesia (July 25th - Aug 10th 2008) playing some Petanque tournaments along the way.


First stop was the Loto tournament in Papeete, Tahiti. This is the kind of tournament we in New Zealand can only dream of. 365 men triples teams and 133 women doubles teams were competing in this two day circus.


All participants get a shirt which has to be worn during play and a second one is handed out on day two if you're lucky enough to make it On Saturday 5 games are played by each team. That is, as long as you don't loose. A loss in any round means the end of the tournament. Games in these rounds are played till eleven points. One round is all that was given to the Victoria Park triple in the men tournament.

Georgio Vakauta had to bow out after losing the 5th game with his two Tahitian partners. For both women teams it was also over after round one.


The second day starts with the last 32 teams. One of the teams were the French World Champions of 2006 with Bruno Leboursicaud. Although especially Bruno managed to impress (the team was 10-0 down when he killed the cochonnet three times in a row to keep the team alive and run away with a 11-10 win) a round later it was over for them.


In the meantime we were enjoying the Tahitian Hospitality. The way we were looked after was unbelievable. Lunches and dinners had to be refused simple because there was no time to fit them in the program.

Overview of Loto Tournament Papeete on day 1


After a day exploring the rest of Tahiti it was off to Nuka Hiva, the main island of the Marquesas, some 1500 kilometers north of Tahiti. This island only has a few thousand inhabitants and due to its isolation is relatively undeveloped. It has a breathtaking mountainous landscape with a few bays with some small villages. We stayed here in the school next to the petanque piste with players from other islands. This was a double tournament for both men and women.


On the Friday afternoon we were all assembled outside the bouledrome and then all made an entry together, welcomed by local dancers. Then an opening ceremony followed with traditional music and dance, a very special experience.

In the evening the tournament started. We fared a little better this time. It started with a barrage. Two wins would qualify you for the second day.

Thanks to my reliable shooting percentage in the first game (0%) and solid pointing in the second (in most cases the boule stayed on the piste) we went out 1-11 and 8-11 but the other mens team (Seti and Tumua) and one womens team (Imelda and Danila) got their two wins and qualified for the next day. In their game the next day Seti and Tumua twice had the chance to win their game but were unlucky. A shot of Seti hit the boule but also moved the coch giving them only one point instead of the three needed for the game.

In the next end they failed to point in the second point. They went down 10-11.

Opening ceremony Nuka Hiva

Imelda and Danila qualified for the last 8 with a convincing 13-1 win. Unfortunately, they didn't expect to get this far and halfway through the quarter

final they had to withdraw as Danila had to catch a plane to Tahiti since she needed to be back in New Zealand. I stayed behind to give it a go in the consolation on Monday and after some 3000 Francs (roughly $54 NZ) and a couple more games (you can buy your way back in after a loss) finally scored my first win on French Polynesian soil.


From the Marquesas it was back to Papeete and then on to the island of Taha'a where we were invited to stay on a private island (motu) with a white a sandy beach, crystal clear water. You can't find a better way to end a trip like this. Evenings filled with Hinano beer and ukelele music,

days filled hanging around on the beach, playing petanque with the family, collecting fish for lunch at the reef.........


The day before departure back in Papeete and invited by the Excelsior petanque club for dinner. Of course some petanque as well and even a second win for me!


The day of departure itself we were once more transported to the Papeete main petanque ground to witness the Interclub. A little different from here. 240 triple teams from 12 clubs all in their own outfit. Quite a sight.


The description above tells only a tiny part of the story. The petanque story mainly. You had to be there to believe it.

It will be impossible to repay ever what the people did for us. The time, effort and expense they put in to make the experience for us what it was, unforgettable. The hospitality, the food, the music, the cheerfulness.......


My only criticism, they could have let me win a few more games. Thanks also to the Victoria Park petanque club who made the trip possible, not in the least Imelda, with all her organizing and contacts.


Vic Park members gather for the opening in Nuka HivaCelebrating all those victories

At 9:09 AM, NZPC Editor (Tom) said...

Oskar, when you have the time can you email me the full names of the entire NZ team - just for the record. As the Wiki page you have created will remain for ever, it would be nice to know.


At 5:19 PM, Anonymous said...

Well, yes it was a bloody good trip, we got there on the 21 of July at night myself and Ruby , it was ‘’hot’’ maybe 32% degrees at night on the day of how arrival, so we where there a week in advance of the ’’ Lotto Tournament ‘’ .Myself and Ruby got pick up by how Host the people we where staying with in Tahiti. Tahiri & Rona+ family they were great to us both the hospitality was awesome, the friendship was huge.


One of the thing that remind me of ‘’ Home “ was the all island was very green and hot !!! Ruby love it very much the temp there for sun beating I thing the only thing she struggle with a bit was the communication as you all know some of the Tahitien don’t speak English very much …ok enough of me & ruby lets get into the games Saturday morning at bang on 8.00am the throw of the first cochonet as been thrown and let the game begins 365 triples team for the ‘’ Man’s “ the Women had to wait ‘’ 133 Doubles ‘’ .


After couple tray’s of beers ( Hinano Beer ) ‘’ 500 tray’s was gone only on Saturday ‘’ never seen so much people drinking and playing at the same time .they event got a back up truck of beer ‘’ just in case they run out early .I know this because I was at the bar helping my mate Tahiri selling it at $ 4.00 nz a can of Hinano Beer.


I have lost into the top 16, my last game cost me and my team mate a place into the top 8, to make it worst that it all ready is the Team that have beaten us two of them came the third guy did not…?? So they have to play as a Doubles, but all ready then they all ready lost couple point in advance as a ‘’Penalty’’ occur against them for turning up not as a complete team.


Tell you what, it was my first tournament of the ‘’Lotto’’ and not my last and I thing that player in Nz should participate on this kind of tourneys because it will bring the best out of you, and it would let you know how good you have to be and the standard of playing there is totally different of what we got here.



At 8:14 PM, Blogger NZPC Editor (Tom) said...

What a fun story Georgio. I absolutely like the bit about the 500 trays of beer and the backup beer truck. Is this something we could introduce here in New Zealand?


I think Roger, Tina and I could use a top tournament like this as part of our buildup to other international tournaments. Anyway, thanks for your contribution.


At 10:46 AM, Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed I missed out on going this time, but I'm very keen to hear the stories (over a couple of quiet ones of course - it would be rude not to) and winter, August 2009 - Tahiti, sun and petanque, yes, yesssssss....!



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