The inaugural Pasifika Bay Rugby 10s tournament played out at Arataki's Grenada Park on Saturday, with BOP Fiji winning a thrilling final over the Samoan visitors from Wainuiomata.
Playing under the banner of The Get Down Boys Club, the Samoans jumped out to a 12-0 lead thanks to two well-taken tries from impressive Samoan under-20s first-five Josh Robertson-Weepu.
But with the final play of the first half, BOP Fiji scored with their first real threat of the half to close the gap to 12-7 at the break.
Boosted by former Wainuiomata stalwarts who are now part of the BOP Steamers squad, Shahn Eru and Henry Stowers, the Samoans again started well but a long range try changed the momentum of the match as BOP Fiji took the lead 14-12.
It was short lived though as the visitors drove over for another try converted by Robertson-Weepu to retake the lead.
With time up on the clock there was one more attacking raid from BOP Fiji, who showed their instinctive sevens skills to cleverly create the space for the match-winning converted try under the posts.
While the Fijians celebrated and said "vinaka vakalevu" to the good-sized crowd watching, the bringing together of Pacific cultures was the true winner on a special day.
The idea to put the tournament together came from former Wellington stalwart Ati Aaifou-Olive and his Bay of Plenty Samoan committee.
Nine teams representing Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Tokelau and Tuvalu battled it out.
"I am definitely happy with how it has all gone and it should build into bigger and better things next year," Ati said.
"We had teams from all over Bay of Plenty representing the Pacific Islands and The Get Down Boys from Wainuiomata. We first thought about this last year and to be honest it has only really come together in the last few weeks.
"It is good for the Pacific community and also good for Bay rugby as well. This tournament will help unite them together."
Two other Wellington teams had planned to attend but were thwarted by the earthquakes that hit the region last week.
The event was supported by the Pacific Island Community Trust Tauranga and Bay of Plenty Rugby.