While activity in the various affiliates clearly began at different times, it was the formation of WAVA (WMA from 2001) which became the catalyst for organised competition and the growth of Masters Athletics in the region.
The 4th World Masters Track & Field Championships were held at Christchurch, New Zealand in 1981, and were preceded by the IGAL World Road Race Championships in Palmerston North, New Zealand in 1980. The 7th World Track & Field Championships were held in Melbourne, Australia in 1987.
The 14th WAVA Track & Field Championships were held in Brisbane, Australia in July, 2001, and the WAVA Distance Championships in Auckland, New Zealand in 2004.
These events in our region provided many Oceania Masters with their only chance to compete in WAVA Championships and experience the camaraderie of these events, because of the travel costs involved when the events are held in the northern hemisphere. For many, the Oceania Regional Championships are the only practical opportunity they have to participate in and enjoy international competition.
The original Oceania region representative at WAVA, New Zealand’s Clem Green, developed contacts in many Oceania countries and travelled extensively through the region. It was largely through his efforts that the Oceania Championships finally became a fact of life in 1984. Clem’s efforts were recognised by the awarding of Life Membership of OAVA in 1990.
In 2011 OAMA began trading as Oceania Masters Athletics (OMA) and at the 2012 AGM the name was formally changed to Oceania Masters Athletics Inc.
Some of the details of past Oceania Regional Championships are recorded separately on this site. Summaries of the development of Masters Athletics in Australia, New Zealand, la Nouvelle Caledonie (New Caledonia), Cook Islands, Norfolk Island can be accessed by clicking on the country.
History of the Oceania Masters Athletics Championships
The development of the concept of Oceania Regional Championships owes much to the efforts and enthusiasm of OMA and NZMA Life Member, Clem Green as detailed above.
These efforts were rewarded when Fiji undertook the major task of staging the first Oceania Championships held in 1982 in Suva.
The following brief comments have been obtained from various sources. Although limited, it is hoped they will provide an outline of the history of these important and friendly events.
A record of past Oceania Regional Championships would be incomplete without reference to the assistance given over the years by the dedicated band of officials from New Zealand and Australia who have made the various Championships successful by their considerable efforts and their eager participation. They have become as much part of the Championships as the athletes; their friendliness and assistance is appreciated by athletes, organising committees and OMA.
Two special Trophies are awarded at each Championships. The Clem Green trophy is awarded for the highest age-graded performance in the 1500 metres.
The Inter-Island Challenge Shield Shield is awarded to the best island Affiliate or Associate (excluding New Zealand and Australia), based overall placings in all events.
Details about these trophies/events can be found OMA-Special-Events.