Feature Destination: Auckland – the sports Kiwis love

Our feature destination this month is Auckland and we thought we would take the opportunity to introduce you to some of the popular sports that New Zealanders love to participate in, so you have some background knowledge before heading to LSI Auckland! Kiwis, as New Zealanders are affectionately known as, are keen sports people, and love to observe as well as participate in a range of sports. Here is a collection of favourites – some you may know well, and others may be quite foreign!

Summer Sports:

A cricket game in action
Cricket – A traditionally British game, cricket is a popular summer game in New Zealand. It’s a great non-contact sport for children to participate in. There are two teams, with one team batting, whilst the other fields – they then swap once their number of overs is up! The National team is called the Black Caps, and they play in NZ during the summer, and tour during the winter to such countries as India, the West Indies, Australia, South Africa and England. Games last for a day, through to 5 days! Some may find this a little hard, as the games are long, but it is really entertaining to attend a One Day Test, or a Twenty 20 game – give it a go while you’re in Auckland!

Yachts on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour
Sailing – Auckland is also known as the City of Sails, as there are more yachts per capita in Auckland than in any other city in the world. Aucklanders love to sail – the city is positioned on two harbours – and it’s a great place to learn to sail, if that’s something you’re interested in. New Zealand is a keen participant in the America’s Cup sailing competition, and although we were unable to win the cup back in the competition in 2013, Team New Zealand is hoping to bring the cup back to NZ in the future.

LSI Auckland students during their surf lesson
Surfing – As an island nation, there is no shortage of beautiful beaches in New Zealand, and a lot of surf! Surfing is a favourite pastime of Kiwis, and is a year round sport (as long as you have a wetsuit for winter J). The surf is definitely better on the West Coast of New Zealand, with our wild black sand beaches – the tides can be strong though, so always go surfing with a buddy, and make sure there are other people around so you can signal for help if you need it. At LSI Auckland, we arrange surfing lessons out at Muriwai Beach – so if you are interested in learning, it’s a perfect opportunity to do so, by combining your English Lessons during the week with Surf lessons on the weekend.

Windsurfing in Auckland
Wind surfing – As Auckland is surrounded by water and beaches, it’s a perfect place for water sports such as wind surfing. There’s never any problem with a bit of wind to get out on your board, and there is a range of options for learning and practising wind surfing. New Zealanders have traditionally done very well in the wind surfing at the Olympics. Why not give it a go when you travel to Auckland?


Winter Sports:

The World Champion All Blacks
Rugby Union – Arguably our most popular sport, Rugby is like a religion in NZ. The World Famous All Blacks are the national team, and current World Cup holders, and the team members are like national heroes. Children start playing rugby as young as 5 (a less physical version of the game) and it is played right through schools, universities, and on a national club level. Rugby is an 80 minute game, with 2 40 minute halves – each team has 15 members on the field, in a range of positions – and the aim is to score tries! You score a try by placing the ball down in the goal area – you also score points by kicking the ball between the goal posts (the very tall white posts at each end of the field). Although there is a whole host of rules, the big rule is that you cannot pass the ball forward – you must pass it to a player behind you. If you are fortunate enough to attend an All Blacks game, you’ll also get to see them performing the famous haka “Ka Mate”. We highly recommend you take the opportunity to attend a rugby game in NZ – it’s very exciting to watch!

Rugby league players in action
Rugby League – Although they may look like quite similar games, there actually is a big difference between Rugby Union and Rugby League. In rugby league, there are only 13 players on the field per team. You still have to pass the ball backwards only (although you can kick it forwards), and there are still tackles, but in league, you are allowed 6 forward movements before you have to hand over the ball to the other side – each movement ends when you are tackled. Auckland is the home of the national team which competes in the Australian competition (the NRL) – the Vodafone Warriors. They are yet to win the competition, but they have come close a few times now! League is a popular sport amongst youth as well, and you’ll often see games being played on sports fields around the country on Saturday mornings.

Our students playing Wednesday football
Football – Although it is not as popular as rugby, football has grown in popularity, ever since NZ’s participation in the last World Cup – NZ was the only team to not be beaten at the World Cup in 2010! (we drew or won each game we played). It is particularly popular in schools, as it is seen as less dangerous than rugby, and therefore more attractive for parents! At LSI Auckland, our DOS Grant is a keen football player, and takes the students each Wednesday afternoon for a game in the Auckland Domain. Our students are all keenly following the Football World Cup at the moment, and Grant has set up one of our classrooms as football central!

We look forward to welcoming you to LSI Auckland, and introducing you to our sporting culture!