The leaders of the Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, Tonga and Samoa together with Australia and New Zealand met in Wellington from 5th-7th August 1971. This was the first South Pacific Forum meeting.
At the time, the only regional organisation established was the South Pacific Commission which was created in 1947.
The leaders of the newly independent island nations understood the external influences that existed in that regional body, which included colonial powers. It was clear another forum was needed.