Australian rules football in New Zealand
|Australian rules football in New Zealand|
New Zealand captain Andrew Congalton takes a strong mark in front of an Indian opponent at the 2008 International Cup
|Governing body||New Zealand AFL|
|National team||New Zealand|
|First played||1871, Wellington|
|Registered players||600 (adult)|
|Single match||11,666 - 2000 Western Bulldogs vs Hawthorn Football Club. Westpac Stadium, Wellington|
Australian rules football in New Zealand is a rapidly growing sport in a nation where rugby union is the more popular football code. Australian rules has a history in New Zealand dating back to the late 1860s, but modern competition re-commenced in 1974 and is played during the summer after the rugby season.
The game is primarily organised in five provinces - Auckland (Auckland Australian Football League), Canterbury (Canterbury Australian Football League), Wellington (Wellington AFL) , Waikato (Waikato AFL) and Otago .
A number of New Zealanders have played the game at the highest level, the fully professional Australian Football League and other players developed in New Zealand have played professionally in Australian state leagues. Wellington will host the first AFL game outside of Australia in 2013 in a general push to establish an AFL side in New Zealand.
New Zealand's national senior team were international champions in 2005, however still behind Australia having never beaten an Australian club at senior level.
History of Australian rules football in New Zealand
The Christchurch Football club, founded in 1863 played football according to its own rules, one of which was to bounce the ball every 4 yards, very much similar to the modern game of Australian Football. The club adopted rugby rules in 1876.
Australian Football was introduced to New Zealand around 1868. The Nelson Football Club was formed this year and played a hybrid version of Victorian and Association (soccer) rules in its first two seasons. By the 1860s there was regular trade between New Zealand ports and Melbourne, and the Victorian (or Melbourne) rules would have been known by some of the immigrants. The Nelson Club were the first club in New Zealand to adopt Rugby rules in 1870.
The Wellington Football Club was formed on 12 May 1871. The club initially adopted Melbourne rules, but soon switched to Rugby rules "principally for the reason that the clubs in adjoining provinces play under those rules, and as the club contemplate playing a match with the Nelson club before long the necessity of such a course is apparent." The last match played under Melbourne rules was on 24 June 1871. This was not the end of the matter, however, with the club for a short period in 1875 adding the Melbourne rule of bouncing the ball. The club soon after reverted to full Rugby rules.
The Dunedin Football Club, formed in 1872, initially played under its own rules. Shortly thereafter a second club in Dunedin, the Union Club, was formed and is thought to have adopted Victorian rules. Poor weather meant that few games were played in both the 1873 and 1874 seasons. The Dunedin Club adopted Association (soccer) rules in 1875, while the Union club retained Victorian rules. The clubs were able to compromise, and the first match between the clubs that year was played under Victorian rules on 19 June 1875. The return match was played under Association rules a few weeks later. In 1876 a hybrid match was played between the two clubs. The first half was played according to rugby rules, and the second half according to Victorian Rules. By 1877 both clubs had adopted Rugby rules.
"At the annual meeting of the Union Club in 1877 it was decided by 17 votes to five to adopt the Rugby Union Laws, the club in all its matches with the D.F.C. previous to that date having stipulated for one spell of every game being under Victorian rules."
The first games of football in Auckland were played in 1870 with the rules being a mix of Victorian and Association. In 1873 the Auckland Football Club adopted Rugby rules following a visit by two members of the Wellington Club. At the 1874 AGM of the Auckland Football Club discussion continued around rules, with motions put to either adopt the Victorian Rules of 1866, or form a committee to consider other rules. These motions were defeated in favour of continuing with Rugby rules.
An Auckland team undertook the first inter-provincial Rugby tour in late 1875. This sparked additional interest in Rugby in regions such as Canterbury and Dunedin where several codes were being played. Ultimately the success of this led to further representative tours, and proved to be a catalyst for Rugby to become the dominant code in the main regions.
The Reform Football Club was formed in Wellington in 1879 to "play under the Victorian rules". In the same article several clubs are also reported to have been formed in Dunedin and one in Nelson. The Reform club's first practice match was held in the Hon. J. Sheehan's paddock, Hobson St, on 5 April 1879 in front of a "considerable number of spectators". The Reform club enjoyed a reasonable amount of press coverage throughout 1879. From 1880 there is very little mention of the club, and how long it was in existence is unknown.
The 1888-1889 New Zealand Native football team matches saw a Māori team visit Victoria, as part of a year long tour of the UK and Australia, to play a program of Victorian Rules games. The team plays 8 games, winning three and losing five. It defeated South Melbourne Football Club, which at that stage was Victoria’s premier club.
After being virtually non existent since the 1880s, interest in Australian football was rekindled on the back of a wave of immigration from Australia in the first decade of the 20th century. In 1903 the ‘New Zealand Association of Australian Football’ was formed in Christchurch by a committee of expat Victorians. The league had 4 clubs (City Wanderers, Sydenham, Woolston, and Imperial with a fifth, Carlton, formed a year later). By 1904 a number of leagues were being established throughout the country. In Wellington a league of five clubs was formed (City, Newtown, Petone, Wanderers and Federal), and Auckland had three clubs in the new league (Auckland Imperial, Victoria, and Austral football clubs). Other centres also had clubs form in 1904 including Dunedin (Australian Pioneer Football Club), Kaitangata (Wanderers), Waihi and Waikino.
Additional clubs were to join the Auckland league in the following years, including the Eden Football Club, who won back-to-back Auckland Australian Football League premierships in 1907 & 1908.
In 1908, New Zealand defeated both New South Wales and Queensland at the Jubilee Australasian Football Carnival an event held in Melbourne, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, to celebrate 50 years of Australian Football.
New Zealand was no longer represented and without any overseas delegates, the council reverted to the Australian Football Council.
Nevertheless, some efforts were made to rekindle interest in the code during these years.
In 1995, the competition had grown sufficiently strong to field a national team, the Falcons.
The Arafura Games gave the side the first opportunity to compete at an international level. In 1995, 1997 and 1999, New Zealand took the silver medal in Australian Football at the event in Darwin, Northern Territory, running second to Papua New Guinea.
In 1997, the New Zealand Australian Football Development Foundation (NZAFDF) was formed.
In 1999, NZAFDF incorporated as governing body and was renamed New Zealand AFL.
In the inaugural Australian Football International Cup in 2002, New Zealand finished 3rd.
2005 was a huge year for Australian Football in New Zealand. The national team, the Falcons defeated Papua New Guinea to win the International Cup and were later invited to send a team to the Australian Country Championships.
Since 2004, there were talks of a New Zealand Australian Football League franchise or club relocation as a possible expansion plan for the league. New Zealand fields teams in several Australian competitions in other football codes including the National Rugby League and A-League.
The country became considered as a 7th Australian state by the Australian Football League's international development department.
In November 2008, 17 year old Liam Ackland was invited to the AIS/AFL academy.
The Hawthorn Football Club, which had been involved in New Zealand since about 2004 and at one in 2009 had 3 players from New Zealand on its senior list, stepped up its involvement in 2009 with development funding to set up a school competition, the "Hawks Cup", for recruiting and talent identification. The sport boomed at junior levels after approved by the New Zealand Secondary Sports Council. Kurt Heatherley of Tauranga accepted an AFL scholarship in 2010.
The New Zealand AFL currently has around 600 senior players. In 2010, the AFL hoped to increase registered secondary school participants with the introduction of in-school programs.. This introduction was highly successful and at the end end of 2012, 25,000 Kiwikick participants had been recorded.
Leagues & Competitions
Governing Body↑Jump back a section
The national team is the Falcons. The Falcons were Silver medallists in the Arafura Games in 1995 and 1997, runners up in the Australian Football International Cup in 2002, then became International Cup champions in 2005.
AFL Exhibition Matches
|5/10/1991||Auckland||Geelong v. St Kilda||8,500|
|1/03/1998||Wellington||Basin Reserve||Melbourne v. Sydney||7,820|
|29/01/2000||Wellington||Westpac Stadium||Western Bulldogs v. Hawthorn||11,666|
|2001||Wellington||Westpac Stadium||Brisbane Lions v. Adelaide||7,500|
- SKY Network Television (live AFL matches)
Australian rules receives regular coverage in The New Zealand Herald.
Notable NZ Players
NZ Players in the VFL/AFL
Some New Zealanders have found their way into the professional Australian Football League competition.
|Currently on an AFL senior list|
|Player||VFL/AFL Years*||VFL/AFL Matches*||Connections to New Zealand, References|
|Kurt Heatherley||-||0||Born Tauranga (international rookie)|
|Karmichael Hunt||2011-||16||Born Auckland, father from Cook Islands, mother from Samoa|
|Cheyne Hutchinson||-||0||Born Hamilton, Parents, Part Maori|
|Shane Savage||2009-||20||Born, Parents|
|Khan Haretuku||2007 AFL Draft||0||Parents, Part Maori|
|Brent Renouf||2008-||58||Born, Parents|
|Heath Grundy||2006-||112||Mother from New Zealand|
|Adam Campbell||2006–2009||13||Born Christchurch, Parents|
|Trent Croad||1998–2009||222||Born, Parents|
|Daniel McAlister||1997–2002||6||Born, part Maori|
|Danny Dickfos||1996–1999||65||Part Maori|
|Donald Dickie||1996–2000||55||Born, part Maori|
|Wayne Schwass||1988–2002||282||Born, part Maori|
- stats up to June 2009
- Christchurch Football Club - Club History
- RUGBY UNION FOOTBALL - HISTORY - 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
- Mosley, M. (1885), Illustrated Guide to Christchurch and Neighbourhood, J. T. Smith & Co., p. 120
- Swan, Arthur C. (1948). History of New Zealand Rugby Football, Vol. 1, 1870-1945.
- "Early Rugby in the Manawatu - Talk" Clive Akers, 10 April 2008
- Camilla Obel, “Unions, Leagues and Franchises: The Social Organisation of Rugby Union in New Zealand”, University of Canterbury thesis, 2001
- Blainey, Geoffrey (2003), A game of our own: the origins of Australian football, Black Inc, p. 142
- Turley, A. (2009). Rugby-The Pioneer Years, How Rugby Captured the Heart of a Nation, Auckland, N.Z.: Harper Collins.
- Wellington Independent, 12 May 1871
- Wellington Independent, 24 June 1871
- Evening Post 3 May 1875 & 12 May 1875
- Rex W. Thomson, "Provincial Rugby in New Zealand: Otago's Academic Pioneers", Fall 1996
- Otago Witness, 26 June 1875
- "When 'Rules' ruled Sydney". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 19 March 2008.
- Otago Witness, 6 June 1889, Page 26
- Daily Southern Cross, 2 May 1874.
- Evening Post, 7 April 1879
- Papers Past
- Ryan, Greg (1993). Forerunners of the All Blacks. Christchurch, New Zealand: Canterbury University Press. p. 144. ISBN 0-908812-30-2.
- Otago Witness, 1 April 1903, Page 50
- Evening Post, 3 June 1904 and 22 June 1904
- New Zealand Herald, 14 May 1904
- Otago Witness, 11 May 1904, page 53
- Bruce Herald, 7 June 1904, Page 5
- Auckland Australian Football League
- A False Dawn
- Melbourne in AFL first
- All Black almost a Swan fromm news.com.au
- World Footy News - Live footy telecasts for New Zealand
- International juniors head for AIS and Junior Oceania Cup
- HANZ-UP! AFL Program hawthornfc.com.au
- Hawks cast recruiting net across Tasman from the Herald Sun
- Rushworth, Anna (29 November 2009). "Aussies luring Kiwi kids into kicking and jumping game". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
- AFL International Census 2007
- Masters, Roy (1 August 2009). "Hunt and the hunted: AFL targets NRL’s monopoly on islanders".
- McClure, Geoff (2 July 2008). "Kiwi Brent joins select club". The Age (Melbourne).
- Bidwell, Hamish (23 April 2013). "Swans hope to win over a few Kiwis".
- All Blacks tackle Waverley Park
- Losing Hayne would be disaster DANIEL LANE for the Sydney Morning Herald 6 June, 2010M
- Māori overseas - Retaining Māori culture in Australia - Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
- Google Video of Falcons performing the 'Haka' at the 2005 International Cup
- AFL looks to NZ for expansion
- NZ Herald Australian Rules News Section
- Video of Aussie Rules from YouTube