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New Zealand - Sport and Fitness

The national sport in New Zealand is rugby union. This may surprise some people but many of the popular sports in New Zealand date back to their colonial heritage. Cricket for example has a very large following in the country and is well known for being the national sport of the summer months. Sports are a major pastime in New Zealand with there being both men’s and women’s national teams in many sporting events. Netball is the largest competitive sport that only has a female team.

New Zealand is also a popular place for those who enjoy water based sporting events such as yachting and surfing. Due to the mountainous areas of the country it is also a popular venue for people who enjoying skiing holidays and other winter sports. Snowboarding is a very fashionable hobby for the younger generation. Sports are highly encouraged amongst youngsters with boys aged between 5 and17 preferring soccer closely followed by rugby over any other sport. Girls of the same age range prefer swimming and netball. Horse riding is also a popular sport for girls of the same age bracket. Adult men on the other hand prefer the more sedate sports of golf and cricket, while adult women still have a strong preference for netball but also a large number of them enjoy tennis.

The rugby union national team is known as The All Blacks. They are perhaps most famous for winning the first ever rugby world cup, and the Maori challenge known as a Haka that they perform at the beginning of each international match. This performance has been taken up by other national sporting teams and is now performed prior to both basketball and rugby league games.

The rugby league clubs are semi-professional and do not enjoy as a high a profile as the rugby union matches. However, it is becoming more popular and the national rugby league team have won world cup tournaments in which they have been competing since 1954.

Cricket in New Zealand is more popular on an international level than on a domestic level, and the New Zealand national team is one of the ten that take part in Test Matches. The national cricket team has not had as much success as the rugby union team although there is a massive following as it is thought of as the national summer sport in the country. The New Zealand National Women’s team (known as The White Ferns) are starting to make their presence known in the sporting world and have featured in the final of their world cup tournament four times, winning once.

Sailing and other water based activities are extremely popular in New Zealand. Auckland has played host to the Americas Cup on several occasions, and has won the trophy several times. New Zealand sailors have also represented the country in the Olympic Games bringing home gold medals on a regular basis.

If you enjoy sports and are planning to make the move to New Zealand then you will not be spoilt for options. New Zealand has some world class golf courses and there are golfing holidays you can take around the country that include play at some of the biggest courses in New Zealand.

If you want to take part in some fishing while in New Zealand then you are likely to need a licence. Salmon, trout and coarse fishing all require licenses; otherwise heavy fines could be enforced. A licence is required for fishing on rivers and lakes also. If this is a pastime you enjoy and are looking to take part on a regular basis, then contact the department of conservation to check if a licence is needed in your area. It costs around NZ$120 for a year fishing licence for adults (18+) while there are concessions for children (ages 12-17 and under 12s) and family discounts too. You can purchase a half year licence and a day permit if you require. Day permits are perfect for those who perhaps have never fished before and who wants to try their hand, or for those with very limited spare time. You can buy your fishing licences or renew a current licence online or at one of the local fish and game offices.

New Zealand cities and towns do have gyms and gym membership is popular among young professionals, although it is still not as popular as outdoor sports. Membership can cost between $30 and $120 per month, depending upon the type of gym.

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