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Sports in New Zealand

Sports in New Zealand

There is nothing that galvanizes the nation, or makes us more proud, than a New Zealand competitor or team beating those from the rest of the world.

New Zealand performed well in the 2016 Summer Olympics with the third highest medals per capita.

  • New Zealand is Nr. 19 in the traditional Medal Table
  • New Zealand is Nr. 3 in the population-based table (shows how many medals countries are winning relative to their population)
  • New Zealand won 18 medals including 4 gold medals
  • Gold Medals:
  • Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, Rowing
  • Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, Sailing
  • Mahé Drysdale, rowing, men's single sculls
  • Lisa Carrington, canoeing, women's K1 200 m flatwater

Sports grounds can be found all over the country and half of the population will be active during the weekend. New Zealanders will also try any sport, often regardless of barriers in their way.

Rugby -  is the national sport and holds a special place in New Zealanders lives. New Zealand won the first ever Rugby World Cup in 1987. They were also the first NZ team to wear black uniforms and the silver fern emblem. 

Netball - is the female answer to rugby, and is the second most popular sport in New Zealand.  Netball is a fast-paced court sport and New Zealand’s national team, the Silver Ferns, is often ranked first in the world.

Sailing - Team New Zealand has become a household name in their home country following their consecutive wins in the America's Cup in 1995 and 2000. They were the first team from a country outside of the United States to successfully win and then defend the America's Cup title.

Since Kupe, the first explorer to reach New Zealand, made landfall in Kaiti off Gisborne over 1000 years ago, New Zealanders have a passion for ocean-going craft. New Zealanders were at the forefront of yacht design and racing during much of the 20th century and continued their dominance into this century. New Zealand is the only country outside of the US to win and retain the prestigious America’s Cup in 125 years of racing! Even though they lost the cup the third time around, it took the wily Swiss to understand that the only way to beat the Kiwis was to hire one to skipper their yacht. 

Auckland, the 'City of Sails', has the largest number of boats per capita than any other city in the world.

  • There are more golf courses in the country per capita than anywhere else in the world
  • Sir Edmund Hillary, a Kiwi, was the first person to climb Mount Everest
  • New Zealand has won at least one gold medal at every Olympics since 1952
  • Horse racing is another popular pastime and the New Zealand thoroughbred breeding industry is world famous
  • New Zealand had the first commercial bungy jump (AJ Hackett) and jet boating facilities.
  • The Coast-to-Coast one-day race (running, canoeing, cycling), one of the hardest outdoor cross-country team races in the world, is held in New Zealand every year
  • Another fantastic sporting event that is very popular in New Zealand is the Iron Man Triathlon