Hawkes Bay side Duavata won the 2024 Bula 7s tournament in Wellington on Saturday, defeating Wanganui Fijian 19-5.
Tongan sevens team playmaker John Ika was instrumental for the side, setting up tries and leading the charge for his Duavata team at the Jerry Collins Stadium in Porirua.
Wanganui suffered from ill-discipline during the final, playing with six men at two different instances after two of their players were flashed yellow cards.
Duavata had earlier defeated 2023 champions and tournament hosts the Wellington Flyers in the quarterfinals.
Duavata, Wanganui and other teams that played featured Fijian players who are working in New Zealand under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.
Tournament committee chairman Iliki Naikatini said the event was a success, with Samoan team Tamauli being the first regional team to pariticpate in the event.
Tamauli featured members of the Samoan national sevens team that competed at the 2023 Pacific Games in Honiara in November.
One of the players was Ravuama Seruvakula, who mesmerised the crowd with his speed and steps off the mark.
The team, which won the Plate Final against Mid-Canterbury, had former Samoan national sevens team captain Uale Mai as part of their coaching team.
"Great day for rugby today. We were entertained by 12 strong competitive teams," Naikatini said.
"The tournament final was a great showdown between Duavata Hawkes Bay Fijians beating Whanganui Fijians in the Cup finals.
"The only Samoan team in the tournament Tamauli handled Mid-Canterbury in the Plate finals while Gisborne Fijians took victory in the Bowl finals with Wairarapa Fijians as runners-up.
"We would like to thank everyone that was involved in making it happened and a special one goes out to all the teams that participated we couldn't have done it without you."
Former Fijian sevens reps Pio Tuwai and Waisiki Masirewa came with the Waikato Fijians to the event, with Tuwai getting a chance to show some of his off-loading magic in earlier games on the day.
Naikatini said they want to grow the event and invite more regional teams from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga to event.
There is also plans to make the event a selection ground for players recognised by the island unions.
"We would love to have some of the players who play at the event and eligible for selections picked up by Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and New Zealand," he added.
Fiji and New Zealand women win
Meanwhile, the Fiji men's sevens team heads to the Perth Sevens tournament this week with much needed confidence after they won the Coral Coast Sevens tournament title in Sigatoka, Fiji on Saturday.
Still chasing a win in the 2023/2024 HSBC World Rugby Sevens series, the Ben Gollings coached side, playing as Fiji Barbarians, got a big boost at the weekend, defeating local team Saunaka 22-5 in a strong final clash.
They scored three tries in the first seven minutes and won in the end, avenging their earlier pool game loss to Saunaka on Friday.
In Perth the side will meet New Zealand, Samoa and France in pool play.
That event starts this Friday.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand men's and women's sevens teams also competed at the Sigatoka event, with the women defeating the Fijian women's team in the final while the men's team lost to the Fiji Barbarians in the semi-finals.
The New Zealand women's side, playing as Matakesi, clinched the Sigatoka title with a 24-19 win over Mount Masada, the Fijiana national sevens team.
Both teams played tit-for-tat rugby on a wet ground as heavy rain made conditions tough to play, with the Kiwis outscoring the Fijians four tries to three.