The very first Masters Games event was the 1985 World Masters Games in Canada, which attracted 8,305 competitors from 61 countries. With a rise in popularity of masters sport, national events began to surface in Australia and New Zealand. The first Australian Masters Games were held in Tasmania in 1987 and New Zealand Masters Games in Wanganui in 1989. Brisbane hosted the 1994 World Masters Games which attracted 24,000 competitors from 71 countries.
Following the success of the World Masters Games in Brisbane, the inaugural Queensland Masters Games were held in 1995 in Townsville, before moving to the Gold Coast the following year. These Games evolved into the Asia Pacific Masters Games and then the Pan Pacific Masters Games from 2002, with increased interest from Asia, Japan, America, Oceania and New Zealand. The World Masters Games returned to Australia in 2009 with Sydney hosting over 27,000 competitors from 106 countries.
The Pan Pacific Masters Games is the world’s biggest and best biennial masters games and continues to be held biennially in early November on the Gold Coast. In the previous edition in 2016, there were more than 13,000 participants from over 30 countries and every Australian state and territory. It has cemented its position as Australia’s premier multi-sport event and is currently on par in terms of participation levels with some of the biggest sporting occasions in the world such as the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games.