Top Sports Activities in New Zealand
New Zealanders love their sporting activities, so make sure to get a taste of sports culture on your next visit.
In a recent survey of New Zealander sports interests, a lot of interesting facts were discovered. Soccer came out as the top sport played by young boys aged 5 – 17 years old while girls of the same age consider swimming their favorite sport. It was also found out that more adult men prefer golf while netball occupied the top spot for adult women. In terms of cultural groups, Maori opted for touch football while European New Zealanders preferred golf. Other sports activities that made it to the list include rugby union, cricket, hockey, tennis, horse riding, cycling, walking, running/jogging, motor sports, squash, basketball, bowling, badminton, softball, volleyball, yachting or shilling, skiing and surfing. The long list definitely shows that sports, whether as a competitive or leisure activity occupies a big part of a New Zealander’s life.
The range of sports played in New Zealand betrays the extent of British Colonial heritage to its inhabitants. The national sport is rugby union. Rugby union together with cricket and netball are all primarily played in British Commonwealth countries.
Rugby union is associated by many New Zealanders with their national identity. It is quite popular across all sections of the country’s society and has the largest spectator following New Zealand’s national rugby team. It also has the best winning record of any national team in the world.
Cricket is the highest profile summer sports in New Zealand. Although the national competition does not have a wide following as rugby, international matches hold the interest of the large proportion of the population. The same situation has been observed in all major cricketing countries.
Netball which is a sport similar to basketball is primarily played by women. It has high levels of participation and is widely popular as a spectator sport. Soccer, also known as football in other countries enjoys a considerable level of participation, but not as high compared to rugby.
Competitive motor sports
Competitive motor sports in New Zealand are quite alive and active. There are various levels in this series including water sports, automobile racing, and motorcycle racing. New Zealand has produced one Formula One world champion and several others that have made it to the Grand Prix Level.
Yachting is also another sport that has given positive results, competition wise. The same goes with horse riding, kayaking and gliding. Orienteering is a popular sport among the youth that has many variations including bicycle, ski and rogaines. It combines cross-country running with land navigation skills in the woods.
Lacrosse is also gaining current in this country. Though it is still in its development stage, experts believe that once this covid crisis is cover, lacrosse may emerge as one of the most popular sports in New Zealand.
Physical activities that may not necessarily be considered as sports activities but have otherwise successfully caught the attention of many tourists and locals alike includes bungee jumping, canyon swinging, climbing, abseiling, kart racing, rafting and zorbing. New Zealanders love the great outdoors largely due to the big amount of space that can be freely dedicated to the pursuit of any activity. Visiting New Zealand is a chance to revel in the wonder of the outdoors, something which may no longer be available to highly developed but congested countries.