NZ History

New Zealand Lacrosse (‘NZL’)

This is the governing body for all Lacrosse in New Zealand.

In 2020, the NZL constitution was established and accepted by both the Men’s and Women’s associations to merge together to form the new governing body of New Zealand Lacrosse (NZL). The NZL board was then formed in 2021.

History of Lacrosse in New Zealand

Over a decade ago, a few English and American ex-pats found each other through searching links in New Zealand to their favourite sport. Their reluctance to give up their extra appendages (their lacrosse sticks) instigated the passion to start and grow the sport in New Zealand.

In 2000, a men’s senior league was started in Auckland, and a year later, the New Zealand Women’s Lacrosse Association (NZWLA) was formed and a women’s league was established.

The efforts of the original founders resulted in tremendous growth in schools, clubs and national representative teams. Over the last decade, lacrosse has been integrated into many schools’ athletic curriculum, with over 20 schools and 500 players participating in the Auckland Secondary Schools League. We also estimate at least 900 school children across New Zealand are learning and playing the sport, or its modified version, ‘Modcrosse,’ at youth level each year.

National leagues are constantly growing with associations in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and Canterbury. Club teams from each region compete in the official National Tournament held annually in January.

Just five years after its inception, the New Zealand Women’s Lacrosse Association sent the first Women’s National Team to the IFWLA World Cup in 2005 – the ultimate competition in the women’s lacrosse world. In 2002, the New Zealand Men’s Lacrosse Association sent its first men’s team to the ILF World Cup. Further, the BLAX’s growth is fostered by the Under-19 National Squad, who competed for the first time in 2007 at the Junior World Championships and the Development Squad. The men’s Under-19 team has sent teams to Melbourne for the Australian Under 17 tournament.

But the history of lacrosse in New Zealand goes back very far into the late nineteenth century. As early as 1885, teams were actively competing all over the country. However, the arrival of World War I and the dominance of rugby as New Zealand’s most popular contact sport took over and we have few, if any, records of the game in the mid-twentieth century.

See below for some interesting links:

Newspaper Articles:
(Credit: National Library of New Zealand)
Lacrosse in Auckland, 1885
Lacrosse in Invercargill, 1885
Lacrosse Auckland vs. Wellington, 1907

Wellington Lacrosse Team, 1885 (Credit: Alexander Turnball Library, Wellington)
First Auckland Lacrosse Team, 1900 (Credit: National Library of New Zealand)
Shamrock Lacrosse Team, Auckland, 1904 (Credit: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19040929-16-2)