Capital – Wellington
Currency – New Zealand Dollar ($/NZD)
Official & Recognised Languages – English, Māori
Population – 4.5 million
Time – GMT+12/GMT+13 (Summer)
Sport in New Zealand
The popularity of sport’s in New Zealand largely reflect the country’s British heritage, with Rugby Union, Cricket, Netball, Football, Rugby League and Basketball among the most popular.
Adventure tourism is also widely popular in the country, with commercial bungee jumping and zorbing first established in the country.
Rugby Union is absolute national sport of New Zealand, attracting the most number of spectators. The national team, known as the All Blacks, have the best winning record of any national team international rugby and have won the Rugby World Cup three times – in 1987, 2011 (when they hosted the tournament) and 2015. It is tradition for the All Blacks to perform the Māori haka at the start of matches.
Domestically the sport is also very popular. five teams compete in the southern hemisphere Super Rugby competition (Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders, Hurricanes) with the highly competitive Mitre 10 Cup played for by provincial teams.
Cricket is the national summer sport of New Zealand, with a strong interest in the sport at international level. The Black Caps are one of the Twelve countries competing in Test match cricket, with the country experiencing relative success in One Day International’s, reaching the Finals of both the 2015 and 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Domestically the game is not as well followed, with 6 provincial teams (Auckland, Canterbury, Central Districts, Northern Districts, Otago and Wellington) competing in the Plunket Shield (First-class), Ford Trophy (limited overs) and Super Smash (Tewnty20).
Netball is the most popular women’s sport in New Zealand, with the sport widely played and the national team, the Silver Ferns enjoying much attention due to their success. The team predominantly compete with Australia to be the best in the world, winning the World Championships five times (1967, 1979, 1987, 2003 and 2019) and the Commonwealth Games Gold Medal twice (2006 and 2010).
The New Zealand national team, the ‘All Whites’ have qualified for the FIFA World Cup twice, in 1982 and 2010. Football in New Zealand is semi-professional, except for the Wellington Phoenix who play in the Australian A-League.
The New Zealand Football Championship is played between 8 regional teams. Auckland City have dominated the continental OFC Champions League in recent years, earning the right to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup where they finished in third place in 2014.
Rugby League does not enjoy the popularity experienced by Rugby Union in New Zealand, despite this the national team has been relatively successful – winning the Rugby League World Cup in 2008 and reaching the Final in 2013. The domestic Rugby League competition is semi-professional, however the New Zealand Warriors compete in the Australian National Rugby League (NRL).
Basketball has become one of the most popular sports in the country, both in participation and viewing. The country has a team that competes in Australia’s NBL, the New Zealand Breakers winning the competition 4 times (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015).
New Zealand has enjoyed success on the waters, winning a number of international titles including a number of Olympic gold medals. They have won the prestigious America’s Cup three times (1995, 2000 and 2017), with Auckland hosting the competition in 2000, 2003 and will do so again in 2021.
New Zealand has hosted the Commonwealth Games on three occasions – 1950 and 1990 in Auckland, and 1974 in Christchurch.
Getting to New Zealand & Visa
The remote North and South islands that make up New Zealand are 2,000 kilometres east of Australia across Tasman Sea and 1,000 kilometres south of the Pacific islands of New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga.
There are six international Airports across New Zealand (Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Queenstown, Rotorua & Wellington), however Auckland and Christchurch are currently the only two that connect directly with countries other than Australia or Fiji. Flying from the UK will have at least one stopover, sometimes two.
Entry Requirements & Visas
Entry requirements for New Zealand vary between countries, with over countries having a visa-waiver agreement. Further information is available on the New Zealand Immigration website here.
Citizens of UK do not require a visa and can stay in New Zealand as a visitor for up to 6 months. Further information is available on the UK government website here.
Getting around New Zealand
New Zealand has an extensive travel network that makes the country easy to navigate and explore.
Air – Most of New Zealand’s major towns have an airport, allowing quick inter-city and inter-island travel if your short on time.
Bus – Bus travel across New Zealand is a relatively easy and efficient, albeit time consuming method of seeing the country. The most extensive and reliable company is InterCity, which has buses running across both the North and South Island.
Car Hire – Hiring a car is a relatively inexpensive way of travelling across New Zealand, meaning you can dictate your own itinerary and pace. There are many companies offering car hire and can be found across most major towns, with one-way hire often available.
Ferry – Flying is quicker but catching the ferry across the Cook Strait between the North and South island is cheaper and much more scenic. There are two companies offering this service between Wellington and Picton, both costing approximately the same – the Interislander Ferry or the Bluebridge Ferry.
Train – There are three inter-region scenic journeys across New Zealand – the Northern Explorer between Auckland and Wellington, the Coastal Pacific between Christchurch and Picton and the TranzAlpine between Christchurch and Greymouth.
City Guides for New Zealand
Click on the below for a guide to some of New Zealand’s major cities and most popular stops for Sports Tourist’s: