Our Game

Our history, our heroes and more about our game – Netball.

History

Netball is an integral part of New Zealand’s dynamic sporting culture. Steeped in history, it was introduced to New Zealand as ‘women’s basketball’ in 1906 – a nine-a-side game played on grass, with baskets tied to posts at either end of the court.

1932

Fifteen affiliated Associations with a total of 742 teams were now established. It is decided to divide the National Tournament into two grades, with the first six affiliated associations forming the First Grade.

1935

New Zealand Basketball Referees' Association formed.

1938

The first New Zealand team is named. The team tours Australia with Margaret (Meg) Matangi named the first captain of a New Zealand Netball team.

1940

National Tournament includes a secondary schools section with 10 entries. Waitaki Girls' High School beat New Plymouth Girls' High School to win the trophy. Annual Conference and visits from Australia and England teams were cancelled due to World War II. No councils were held between 1942 and 1944

1948

New Zealand hosts the first overseas visiting team. Various New Zealand team members played against Australia with different captains taking the court in seven-a-side matches. Australia won all three Tests against New Zealand, plus nine matches played against provincial teams, and a match against a representative Maori team. However, in an unofficial nine-a-side game, a combined Ashburton-Temuka-South Canterbury side beat Australia by 29-21, Australia’s only loss during their visit.

1951

Affiliated Associations’ boundaries confirmed.

1954

A team from the minor Associations tours Fiji.

1957

First visit to New Zealand by a team from Fiji, which visits 18 Associations and plays six games at the New Zealand Tournament. Meeting held in England to discuss the establishment of an International body. From this meeting a set of Playing Rules is drawn up and all countries in attendance are asked to try them out.

1958

New Zealand Council agrees to adopt international rules & the National Tournament is played under nine-a-side rules for the last time. New Zealand is represented at the International Conference held in Ceylon to form a Federation of Basketball and Netball Associations. A Constitution is drawn up and Rules of Play are agreed. New Zealand visits Australia and plays matches under the Trial Rules. The New Zealand Badge, the highest award for refereeing is won for the first time by Miss Betty Stone, of Canterbury, and Mrs G Hall, of Wellington.