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Office of Sport


Various versions of hockey type games were played in many areas of the Torres Strait and Papua and New Guinea. A hockey game called kokan was played in Mabuiag. The kokan (ball) was between 6 and 8 centimetres in diameter. The game was played on a long stretch of the sandy beach. The kokan was struck with a rough bat or club, baiwain or dabi, which was usually cut from a piece of bamboo, between 60 and 85 centimetres in length, on which a grip was cut. On Mabuiag Island the game was played by both genders.


Two teams of 4 or 5 players

Playing area •

 A tennis court or similar sized area


  • Each player has a hockey stick (for the baiwain or dabi)
  • Use a softball sized perforated ball or a tennis ball as the kokan
  • Markers or goal 60 centimetres high and 1 metre wide
  • A goal area 5 metres wide and 2.5 metres out in front of the goal is marked (or a 3–4 metre semicircle) • Goals may be placed against the walls/fences at the end of the court
  • There is no goalkeeper and no players are allowed in the goal area

Game play and basic rules

The game starts with a player hitting the kokan from the centre of the playing area to another player. Either side of the baiwain/dabi stick may be used to hit the ball.

The main method of play is to hit/drive the kokan; no dribbling is allowed. To reduce the risk of the kokan being dangerously lifted into the air two ‘touches’ of the kokan will be allowed for a player — one contact to control or stop it and one to hit it. More skilled players and/or older players may use one touch in general play but can use two touches to shoot for goal - the player must be over halfway to shoot.

Players must have two hands on the stick at all times. No body contact or intentionally hitting a player’s stick is allowed — all forms of contact are to be avoided. A player is not allowed to use their body to stop the ball but unintentional contact/rebounds off the legs are allowed except where it greatly advantages the player or team in possession (the penalty is a free hit to the other team).

If the ball goes out, the other team hit the ball back in to play.

The ball must not go above knee height and the head of the stick must not be lifted above waist height. Push passes combined with running into space are encouraged as the main ways of moving the ball around.

Players attempt to hit the kokan to players in their team and keep it away from players in the other team.

For infringements or the ball out of play a free hit is awarded to the other team. Defenders are to be at least 3 metres away (body and sticks). No free throw can be taken any closer than 3 metres from the goal. Intentional contact or entry into the goal area is a penalty goal.

The kokan must not be handled or touched in any way other than by the baiwain/dabi. Play for 10–15 minutes. Score 1 point for each goal. Comment This game has been modified to provide for a competitive game that retains some of the features of the original game. The game outlined also contains features from a game of hockey played in Western Australia called meetcha booma.


  • Players are expected to play the game with some consideration for other players
  • No swings of the stick above waist height are allowed, and the ball cannot be hit above the knees


  • Keep away. One point is scored by a team when a set number of passes are made between players (such as 10) of the same team without being intercepted by players of the other team.
  • Play two-on-two ‘one-touch’ game using push passes in a small area.
  • Two teams of three (or four) players. Use a tennis court, a large soft inflated ball the size of a volleyball, and Kanga cricket bats. Players attempt to hit the ball into a goal 3 metres wide. The first team to reach 10 points and hold a 2-point lead is the winner. Players are only allowed to hit the baiwain/dabi once before it is played by another player.  
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