The National Sport of Norfolk Island

August 25, 2023


Norfolk Island, a small and picturesque island located in the South Pacific Ocean, is renowned for its unique culture and heritage. Among the many fascinating aspects of this island, one particular attribute stands out - its national sport. In this article, we will explore the national sport of Norfolk Island, its history, rules, and its significance to the island's identity.

The Origins

The national sport of Norfolk Island is called "Three Hand Basketball," a game that has roots deeply entrenched in the island's history. It is believed to have been introduced by the early settlers, who sought to combine elements from traditional sports played in England, Polynesia, and Australia.

Gameplay and Rules

Three Hand Basketball is a unique amalgamation of basketball, soccer, and rugby. Played on a rectangular field, the game predominantly involves using hands and strategic footwork. The objective is to score goals by throwing the ball into the opposing team's net. Each team consists of three players, and the match lasts for two halves, with a break in between.

The rules of the game are as follows:

  • The ball must be passed, dribbled, or kicked but not carried for more than three steps before passing it to another player.
  • No player can hold the ball for more than five seconds.
  • Fouls and physical contact are strictly prohibited.
  • The team with the most goals at the end of the match is declared the winner.

Significance to the Island

Three Hand Basketball is not only a national sport but also a symbol of unity and identity for the people of Norfolk Island. It fosters a strong sense of community and provides an avenue for friendly competition and recreation.

The game is played regularly by locals and even attracts tourists who are eager to experience the unique sport firsthand. It serves as a cultural representation and a platform for showcasing Norfolk Island's rich heritage to the world.

The National Tournament

Every year, Norfolk Island holds a prestigious Three Hand Basketball tournament, which brings together teams from various communities across the island. The tournament is a major highlight on the island's sporting calendar and draws significant interest from both locals and visitors alike.

During the tournament, the island comes alive with excitement and camaraderie as teams compete fiercely for the championship title. The event not only celebrates the sport but also serves as a vibrant showcase of Norfolk Island's hospitality and sense of community.


The national sport of Norfolk Island, Three Hand Basketball, is deeply rooted in tradition and plays a significant role in the island's cultural fabric. Providing both recreational enjoyment and a sense of identity, this unique game stands as a symbol of unity and community spirit. So, if you ever find yourself on Norfolk Island, make sure to witness a Three Hand Basketball match and experience the island's sporting heritage firsthand.

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