Lesser Known, but Equally Entertaining Sports in New Zealand

Some sports in New Zealand are less talked about in the headlines, but are still definitely enjoyable; some may even call them obscure. These sports are certainly exciting, and some are also on the rise, regarding popularity and participation.


If you don’t live in New Zealand, you probably have not heard of netball. It is, however, the most popular women’s sport in the entire country, both in participation and public interest. It is primarily intended for and aimed at, women. The country has a national team which is called the Silver Ferns. This team is actually one of the top two netball teams in the world. 2008 was a big year for netball, as it became a semi-professional sport, and at the time, had over 125500 registered players.


Maybe you have enjoyed canoeing as a pastime on your weekend, or free time, but not everyone is familiar with canoeing as a sport. It is, however, an Olympic sport, and one that New Zealand excels at, for that matter.


Gliding is a sport that makes sense in New Zealand, as it has all of the favourable conditions including waves, wind and sun. New Zealand hosted the World Gliding Championships (yes, that is a real thing) in 1995.

Indoor Bowls

This obscure sport dates back to 1908, and now has 767 clubs all over the country. The sport peaked around 1963, with over 73000 registered players; numbers have since dwindled to about 20000 today. The sport is interprovincial and highly competitive.


The name alone is a mouthful! This sport has a small following, relative to other sports, but loyal nonetheless. The national men’s team won the World Cup in 2012, and the women triumphed in 2013 and 2014. It is a regulated sport, and popular in New Zealand.