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Introduction

An orthographic projection of geopolitical Oceania

Oceania (UK: /ˌsiˈɑːniə, ˌʃi-, -ˈn-/, US: /ˌʃiˈæniə/ (About this soundlisten), /-ˈɑːn-/) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the eastern and western hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of 8,525,989 square kilometres (3,291,903 sq mi) and a population of 40 million. Situated in the southeast of the Asia-Pacific region, Oceania, when compared to continental regions, is the smallest in land area and the second smallest in population after Antarctica.

Definitions of Oceania vary; however, the islands at the geographic extremes of Oceania are generally considered to be the Bonin Islands, a politically integral part of Japan; Hawaii, a state of the United States; Clipperton Island, a possession of France; the Juan Fernández Islands, belonging to Chile; and Macquarie Island, belonging to Australia. (The United Nations has its own geopolitical definition of Oceania, but this consists of discrete political entities, and so excludes the Bonin Islands, Hawaii, Clipperton Island, and the Juan Fernández Islands, along with Easter Island.) Oceania has a diverse mix of economies from the highly developed and globally competitive financial markets of Australia and New Zealand, which rank high in quality of life and human development index, to the much less developed economies that belong to countries such as Kiribati and Tuvalu, while also including medium-sized economies of Pacific islands such as Palau, Fiji and Tonga. The largest and most populous country in Oceania is Australia, with Sydney being the largest city of both Oceania and Australia. In the 1950s Indonesia and Philippines were removed from Oceania and added to Asia; this resulted in Oceania as a "great division" of the world being replaced by the concept of the continent of Australia. In some countries (such as Brazil) however, Oceania is still regarded as a continent (Portuguese: continente) in the sense of "one of the parts of the world", and the concept of Australia as a continent does not exist.

Daily article

Apia harbour at dawn during independence celebrations 2003.

The Independent State of Samoa is a country comprising a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. The entire group were known as the Navigators Islands, before the 20th century, due to the Samoans' excellent seafaring skills.

The Samoas are of volcanic origin and the total land area is 2934 km², consisting of the two large islands of Upolu and Savai'i which account for 96% of the total land area, and eight small islets. The main island of Upolu is home to nearly three-quarters of Samoa's population of 177,714 (Jul 2004 est) and its capital city is Apia.

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The 2007 Pacific Games were held in Apia, Samoa, from 25 August to 8 September, 2007. The Games were also known as the XIII South Pacific Games. The Games were the thirteenth Pacific Games to be held since the event's inception in 1963 and included traditional multi-sport event disciplines, such as athletics and swimming, alongside region-specific and smaller events such as outrigger canoeing, surfing and lawn bowls. The principal venue for the Games was Apia Park, with other events taking place at the Faleata Sporting Complex and at other locations around Samoa.

The opening ceremony took place on 25 August 2007 at Apia Park Stadium and was performed in a traditional Samoan and Pacific style, welcoming some 5,000 athletes from 22 nations and territories to Samoa.

The ceremony was attended by Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa (who also competed in the Games), and Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Head of State. Choreographed by Samoan contemporary dancer Alan Aiolupotea the ceremony featured dancing portraying the "mystical legends" from Samoa's island heritage (such as the stories of Sina and her Eel and Nafanua) with a five-year old female fire dancer from Siumu Village performing a siva afi (or fire stick dance) accompanied by a Samoan song depicting the flow of lava following the 1905 eruptions near Savai'i being one of the showcase displays.

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