New Zealand as a nation has a very proud sporting history, particularly in rugby union and league. Most people from New Zealand can recount to you some of the greatest sporting achievements and that is a testament to how much of a part sport plays in the culture of the country. Here are some of those great achievements if you’re thinking of visiting the country in 2014!
Nicknamed the All Blacks due to their kit being completely black (save for a few white areas), the All Blacks have dominated rugby for more than 100 years. As the national sport, the support for their national team can reach fever pitch even for the smallest of games, and its very rare you’ll find a sporting nation who doesn’t appreciate the immense skill this team of warriors have.
However, New Zealand have only ever transferred their dominance in the sport to World Cup success twice in their history, once in 1987 when the team beat France in the final at Eden Park in Auckland and again in 2011 against the same team in the same arena.
To highlight the dominance that New Zealand have in the international rugby scene, they have won 390 of their 512 test matches, a percentage of 76.17% and have only lost 37 times at home in their history. The All Blacks also play in an annual tournament called the Tri Nations, in which the best teams of the southern hemisphere play against each other. They are also the current record holders of 11 tournaments victories in its 15 year history!
While New Zealand is not a major footballing nation, they have had some notable success for such a small team. The nickname given to the national team is the All Whites and their qualification for the 1982 World Cup in Spain is one of the most memorable sporting moments in the country, even though they were out-played during the actual tournament itself.
New Zealand are not really a major sporting force in the world of Olympics, but they have had some brilliant achievements in their history. During the 1996 Olympics hosted in Atlanta, Danyon Loader won two gold medals in the 200 metre and 400 metres freestyle swimming events. Loader made history by the fact that he was the first person from New Zealand to win a swimming gold medal since Malcolm Champion, who swam in a combined Australian and New Zealand team in 1912 Olympics.
In the athletics side of the Olympics, Peter Snell won a double gold medal in the 800 metres and 1,500 metres when Tokyo hosted the 1964 Olympics. He had previously won the gold medal in the 800 metres during the 1960 Rome Olympics but his achievements in Tokyo made him an extremely popular figure in the country.