New Zealand Sports
New Zealanders are love their sport and due to their colonial heritage share the passion for many of the sports played in Britain and the rest of the commonwealth. Here’s a brief look at some of the most popular sports in New Zealand.
Cricket is the national summer sport of New Zealand and is one of the most popular sports played in the country. New Zealand is one of the ten nations that participate in Test match cricket with the national team having a large fan base. Despite winning the ICC champions trophy in 2000 and fielding one of the strongest cricketing sides the national team has never progressed further than the semi-final in the Cricket World cup. The woman’s team nicknamed the White Ferns have reached the world cup final four times winning the tournament in 2000.
Like in Australia Rugby League tends to be the more popular discipline in New Zealand. The domestic league is semi-professional and doesn’t enjoy much of a high profile but the team of the New Zealand warriors play in the Australian national rugby league and has raised the popularity of the game. The New Zealand national side are currently the world champions having won the tournament three times.
New Zealand is the breeding ground for many champion horses and New Zealand’s many cup days draw huge crowds of spectators. Thoroughbred racing is the most prevalent type of horse racing in the country and has seen many Equestrian sportsmen and women make a big impact on the world stage, with celebrated rider Mark Todd winning the accolade of being chosen as the international horseman of the century. New Zealand’s horse riders have won Gold medals at the Olympics several times.
Netball is by far the most popular sport for women in New Zealand both in terms of participation and public interest. The sport maintains a high profile in New Zealand thanks to the success of the national team, and has maintained its dominance of the sport for several decades alongside the Australian side. In 2008 the sport became semi-professional with the creation of the ANZ Championship which has over 125,500 registered players.