Performers from all six of the country’s provinces took to the stage, with water drummers from the Leweton Cultural Group proving a particular hit with the crowd.
2013 Mini Games host Wallis and Futuna kicked off the athletes parade but predictably it was host Vanuatu’s 300 plus delegation, led by flag-bearer and beach-volleyball star Linline Matauatu, that received the biggest cheers.
Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai urged athletes to respect their opponents and inspire the next generation, before doing the official honours.
“I now have the honour to declare the Jeux de Pacifique number 10 Pacific Mini Games officially open,” he declared.
The ceremony concluded with a nine minute fireworks display, staying true to the Games motto: “Ignite the Spirit Within”.
Tahitian athletes a no-show at opening
Tahitian athletes were a no-show at last night’s opening ceremony in Port Vila.
Last week it was announced the territory’s athletes would compete under a neutral banner, following the French Polynesia’s government’s decision to boycott the event.
The Tahitian athletes were expected to participate in the athlete’s parade and to enter under the flag of the Pacific Games Council.
But Van2017 CEO Clint Flood said they didn’t turn up.
“For our surprise as well they didn’t come out today. I’m not quite sure (why), we will find out tomorrow,” Flood said.
“I don’t think it was a political thing at all, I think perhaps they just didn’t feel represented but they’re certainly here, they’ll compete in both rugby and in boxing.”
The rugby sevens competition kicks off on Friday while boxing gets underway next week.