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QPICC Bringing Sports, Community and Culture Together

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The Beenleigh Multisports Association (BMSA) has become the home of sport in Beenleigh. The oldest touch competition in the Beenleigh area, it caters to people of all ages – with players ranging from prep to 60 and over.

Located at the Bill Norris Oval on Boundary Street in Beenleigh, the organisation runs sporting competitions on weeknights throughout the year. This includes Mixed Touch, Touch Rugby League, Men’s Touch, Mixed Touch Rugby League, Junior Touch and Rugby League competitions. The BMSA also hosts the annual Queensland Pacific Island Cultural Carnival – QPICC for short.

Sports ability to bring people together is truly amazing. It gives people a platform to proudly immerse themselves in their cultural identity while gathering as a community.

That is why events like QPICC are so important – it connects the youth to their culture. This year, the carnival is being held at the BMSA on the 5th, 6th & 7th of November.

“Sports like Rugby League, give people the opportunity to come together and play with their friends and interact with other children in a fun and welcoming environment,” commented Michael, the General Manager, who was approached in 2013 about hosting QPICC and was immediately on board. Since then, the carnival has developed into a community phenomenon.

The idea was formed in 2007, when Terepai Samuels from Cook Island, and a few friends, came together to knock a football about at the Browns Plains High School oval. From there, it has grown in popularity, attracting more people from a variety of Island Nations. After realising they were attracting a lot of people to the game, they tried to formalise the event in 2010, but to no success.

It wasn’t until 2013, that the idea was relaunched and the Queensland Pacific Island Cultural Carnival was created.

Initially, six Island nations came on board to compete – including the QLD Cook Island Rugby League, Rugby League Samoa QLD, Tokoau Tonga, QLD Maori, Tokelau Islands and QLD PNG Rugby League.

The inaugural carnival was a huge success with 3,000 people attending over the two days. Now, after eight years, QPICC has grown to span three days and has become a part of the community, with around 10,000 people attending in 2019.

Sam Panapa

“It was felt that it was a huge benefit to the community – even if it was only once in a year,” commented Sam from QPICC. “That enthusiasm ripples through all the nations at that one time – they want to express their culture to the fullest. It is a unique cultural experience to be a part of.”

Sam continued to explain how QPICC was formed with an emphasis on the youth of the community.

“With a lot of the youth being born and growing up in Australia, they don’t necessarily form that cultural connection. The carnival has provided the opportunity for them to learn and express their cultural identity; making sure they are immersed in culture – using rugby as a vehicle. It has given these Island nation communities the opportunity to represent themselves in sport – to get together and present themselves to the wider community.”

This year there are seven Island nations participating in the carnival. They are the Queensland Cook Island Rugby League, Rugby League Samoa Queensland, Tokoua Tonga, Queensland Maori, and Queensland PNG Rugby League, Niue and the Torres Strait Islanders.

This is a proud, community-driven event and everyone is welcome to attend. Tickets are $5 for adults, children 14 years and under are free.

If you would like more information or have any questions about the carnival, contact qpicc.secretary@gmail.com or visit QPICC’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/QPICC/.

Meet the Teams:

QLD Cook Island Rugby League:

(L-R) Terepai Samuel, Renee Samuel & John Siaki

The Cook Islands have been a participating member of the QPICC, an annual Rugby League event for the QLD Pacific Island community since its inception in 2013.

Though the Cook Islands comprises 15 separate islands, they are united as a nation to celebrate their culture and compete.

“We hope to use this time (at QPICC) effectively to engage with our youth and community and to promote our culture through sport”.

For more information, visit https://cirlyq.com.au/.

Joe Smith, Vice-Chair QLD Maori Sports inc.

QLD Maori:

QLD Maori is one of the larger clubs in the league. Each year teams from each rohe (Norths, Easts, Souths and Wests) compete in our tournament, Nga Hau e Wha Rugby League tournament, from which the teams are selected to represent Queensland Maori in QPICC.

“We are quite lucky as we have a large population here in South East Queensland. We look to cater and use Rugby League as a vehicle to help instil and teach the knowledge of our culture, first and foremost.”

For more information, visit their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/QLD-Nga-Hau-e-Wha-Maori-Rugby-League-862164823831809/.

(L-R) Togia ‘Tim’ Puhotau and Nanuele ‘Kuki’ Fereti.

Niue:

Niue is a small nation, with only 1,500 people on the islands at the moment. Sport is a very important part of the Niue culture because it gets everyone together – young and old.

“Our behaviour is unique in that we usually like to keep to ourselves, especially the older generation. We don’t do many things together, but with sports, it seems like the whole island turns up to support the colours you represent. That is why it is important to get into these competitions – it’s all about competing and coming together as a community to represent our culture with pride.”

For more information, visit NACQ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Niue-Advisory-Council-of-Queensland-Inc-268587130202608/

Tom Adamson, President

QLD PNG Rugby League:

QLD Papua New Guinea is one of the founding nations in QPICC. Starting in 2009, as a social game, they have since grown and developed as a club. As a national sport, Rugby League unites everybody and brings all cultures from PNG’s 20 provinces together.

“A lot of the mixed-raced PNG’s who didn’t have an identity with the league, but now since QPICC has started it has given them a culture and an identity. The main thing is creating the pathways for PNG kids based in Queensland.”

For more information, visit the QLD PNG website, https://www.qldpngrugbyleague.com/.

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Emily Stack
Emily Stack
Editorial Team
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