The idea of holding the South Pacific Games originated with Dr A.H. Sahu Khan who was one of Fiji's representatives at a meeting of the South Pacific Commission held at Rabaul during 1959. The idea was adopted and led to a meeting in Nouméa, New Caledonia, in 1961, which awarded Fiji the honour of hosting the very first Games, in Suva, in 1963. During 1962, they founded the South Pacific Games Council (now the Pacific Community), the games governing body. Initially the Games were held at three-year intervals although this was subsequently expanded to four following the Games in 1975. 9 different cities in 6 countries and territories have hosted the Pacific Games.
Membership of the Council includes internationally recognised National Multisport Organisations within countries and territories who are members of the Pacific Community, and there are currently 22 members. The Pacific Games Council approved 37 sports, 16 core sports and 21 sports optional for inclusion at a games, as selected by the host nation's organising committee. Since the 2015 games Australia and New Zealand have participated in the Pacific Games. The risk of seeing the two wealthy, developed nations dominate the competition had previously prevented their inclusion. They would be allowed to send participants only in sports where other Pacific countries had proved sufficiently competitive against them in the past.