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        New Zealand        

This page is a quick snapshot of the status of Australian Football in New Zealand. For further information, browse our news items or use the search facility. If you wish to contact football officials from the country, please search our site for links to their leagues or clubs, including in our Atlas. If unsuccessful, we can normally assist with putting people in touch.

Approx population (2009):   4.3 million

National side:   Hawks (formerly Falcons)

Governing body:   AFL New Zealand (formerly New Zealand AFL)

Primary contact / link:   AFL New Zealand

WFN Census (2004):   22 senior clubs, 536 senior players and 10,690 juniors (very dependent on exact definition, AFL definition at the time gave 1000)

WFN World Ranking (2008):   3rd

History:   The British colonies consisting of New Zealand and what are now the states of Australia were sufficiently close that when Australia federated as an independent country in 1901, New Zealand was a prospective member state but declined. Their involvement in Australian football was quite strong from those times, and at one stage the governing body was even called the Australasian Football Council. Somewhere between World Wars and the Great Depression the game fizzled out, before a concerted effort to rekindle the sport in the 1970s, which steadily lead to the emergence of the New Zealand AFL, now AFL New Zealand. One of the strongest countries in Aussie Rules and one of the best funded by the AFL, the Kiwis won the second International Cup (2005) and the Auckland AFL is surely one of the best outside of Australia. However with great achievements come great expectations, and there was a sense of stagnation, with footy struggling to push good junior exposure and solid senior leagues to the next level of AFL draftees or ongoing junior leagues rather occasional exposure. This may now come with a significant investment from the Hawthorn Football Club through the HANZ UP program.

Outlook (2009):   A positive outlook has now been further enhanced by the new relationship between AFL NZ and the Hawthorn Football Club.

Other points of interest:   Perhaps the most famous AFL footballer of recent New Zealand descent is Hawthorn's Trend Croad, grandson of an All-Black (NZ Rugby Union).

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 23 2010 @ 06:11 pm ACDT|Hits: 4,836 View Printable Version