Underwater Hockey in New Zealand

This article is extracted from the South African Underwater Hockey Manual, first edition, 1993.

The first mention of Underwater Hockey in NZ dates to 1963, when some divers in Nelson tried it out. However, it did not become an established sport in New Zealand until the mid-1970s.

Underwater Hockey was introduced into NZ from South Africa. It was established in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington. The game followed the South African rules, and was played with the long stick. In 1980 New Zealand followed the rest of the world, and changed to short sticks, and adopted the international rules.

National Tournaments

Interprovincials (Regionals)

At first the Interprovincials were held at the same time as Club Nationals (the day after). There was time for only a round robin between three regions. The regions then were Northern (the north half of the North Island), Central (the rest of the North Island and the northern part of the South Island) and Southern (the rest of the South Island).

In 1984 the competition was moved to its own time and its own venue, at the other end of the year from Club Nationals.

In 1991 more regions were added, to reflect the growth of the sport in other geographic areas. Each island was now split into three regions, making six in total. The regions are:

  • Northern (basically Auckland)
  • Mid-North (basically Hamilton, Rotorua, Tauranga, Whakatane)
  • Central (basically Wellington)
  • Top-South (basically Nelson, Motueka, Blenheim)
  • Mid-South (basically Christchurch)
  • Southern (basically Dunedin and Invercargill)

Year

Venue

Men's Results

Women's Results

Masters' Results

1979

 

Central

Not held

 

1980

 

Northern

Northern

 

1981

 

Northern

Central

 

1982

Christchurch

 

 

 

1983

 

Central

Central

 

1984

Christchurch

Central

Southern

 

1985

Lower Hutt

Central

Central

Central

1986

Christchurch

Central

Southern

 

1987

Lower Hutt

Central

Central

Northern

1988

Lower Hutt

Northern

Central

Central

1989

Kilbirnie

Northern

Central

 

1990

Kilbirnie

 

 

 

1991

Kilbirnie

Central

 

 

1992

Kilbirnie

Central

 

 

1993

Kilbirnie

Central

 

 

1994

Kilbirnie

Northern

 

Central

1996

Kilbirnie

Central

Central

Central

Club Nationals

The first club Nationals were held in November 1979 at the Lido pool in Palmerston North. It was attended by 18 teams. Auckland teams dominated, and the national title was won by Blue Fins.

In the early years there were A, B and C grades. In 1986? The Premier grade was added, to cater for elite teams that were obviously better than the A grade teams.

A Mixed grade has been offered from 1986, with the rule that at any time there can be only three male players in the water. Each year since 1986 a Women's grade has also been offered, but there have never been enough teams to make it up. Teams entering the Women's grade have been placed in the Mixed grade.

Year

Venue

Premier

A

B

C

Mixed

Women

1978

Lido, Palmerston North

 

Blue Fins

 

 

 

 

1979

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1980

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1981

Huia, BGI, Wellington

 

 

 

 

 

 

1982

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1983

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1984

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1985

 

Taita

 

 

 

 

 

1986

Huia, Wellington

Taita

Island Bay

Portside B

Hoof Harted

Upper Hutt

 

1987

QEII, Chch

Taita

 

 

 

 

 

1988

Huia, Wellington

Portside

 

 

 

 

 

1989

QEII, Chch

Pakuranga

 

 

 

 

Portside

1990

Henderson, Auckland

Pakuranga

 

 

 

 

 

1991

Kilbirnie, Wellington

Pakuranga

 

 

 

 

 

1992

QEII, Chch

Pakuranga

Chch  A

Chch Varsity

Nelson U/W Club

Portside White

 

1993

Rotorua

 

 

 

 

 

 

1994

Kilbirnie, Wellington

 

Portside

 

 

 

 

1995

QEII, Chch

 

 

 

 

 

 

1995

Henderson, Auckland

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Events

North Island Championships have been run in Rotorua since 1989?. South Island Championships have been run in Dunedin and Christchurch since 1986?

Underwater Hockey has been incorporated into the University Winter Tournament since 1986

A separate Women's tournament has been held since 1992.

A Master's tournament has been run irregularly since 1993?

International Profile

New Zealand teams have been of world class for the past decade. Our highest achievements to date have been World Champions (NZ Women, 1988), and Silver Medalists (NZ Men, 1992). In addition, the NZ Junior teams have been unbeaten in competitions with South Africa and Australia for the last two years. New Zealand figures as one of the top three countries in each age group and sex, with the other two being Australia and South Africa.

World Championships

Year

Venue

Men's Winner

NZ Men

Women's Winner

NZ Women

1980

Vancouver, Canada

 

 

Not held

 

1982

Brisbane, Australia

Australia (TT only)

2nd

Australia

2nd

1984

Chicago, USA

Australia

5th

Australia

2nd

1986

Adelaide, Australia

Canada

3rd

Australia

2nd

1988

Amersfoort, Holland

Australia

4th

New Zealand

1st

1990

Montreal, Canada

Australia

4th

Australia

2nd

1992

Wellington, NZ

Australia

2nd

South Africa

3rd

1994

Rouen, France

Australia

6th

Australia

-

1996

Durban, South Africa

 

 

 

 

 

Trans-Tasman & Southern Hemisphere Championships

Year

Venue

Men's Results

Women's Results

1981

Brisbane, Australia

Australia, New Zealand

Not held

1983

Lower Hutt, NZ

Australia, New Zealand

New Zealand, Australia

1985

Canberra, Australia

New Zealand, Australia

Australia, New Zealand

1987

Lower Hutt, NZ

New Zealand, Australia

New Zealand, Australia

1989

Perth, Australia

Australia, New Zealand

Australia, New Zealand

1991

Wellington, NZ

New Zealand, Australia

New Zealand, Australia

1993

Brisbane, Australia

Australia, South Africa, NZ

Australia, South Africa, NZ

1995

Wellington, NZ

South Africa, NZ, Australia

Australia, South Africa, NZ

1997

Perth, Australia

 

 

Junior Underwater Hockey

Year

Venue

Boys' Results

Girls' Results

1991

Wellington, NZ

(Australia Mixed, NZ Mixed)

 

1993

Brisbane, Australia

NZ, South Africa, Australia

 

1993

Hobart, Australia

 

Australia, New Zealand

1994

Wellington, NZ

New Zealand, Australia

New Zealand, Australia

1994

South Africa

New Zealand, South Africa

New Zealand, South Africa

1995

Wellington, NZ

New Zealand,

NZ, Australia, South Africa

 

National Profile

There are currently about 750 registered players in New Zealand, with a similar number of unregistered players. Approximately 25% of players are of school age. The younger players are evenly split by sex, but the older players have a higher proportion of males. The sport is a self-managing branch of the New Zealand Underwater Association (NZU). Through NZU it has ties to mini-dippers (a kiwisport) for young players, and to approximately 20000 adult divers.