Classroom ideas - New Zealand cricket

This page outlines how the feature New Zealand cricket could be used by teachers in social studies and history.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Cricket in New Zealand

Cricket is New Zealand's major organised summer sport and enjoys the fourth-highest playing numbers. Games like cricket and rugby are the games of the old British Empire and strongly reflect our colonial past. Sport has shaped our sense of cultural well-being. As a small nation we have often seen defeating larger nations in sport as being a measure of our progress or status as a nation. Victories over countries like England and Australia in particular have been important measurements of national self-worth.

This feature is of great value to teachers and students working at various levels.

Social studies

Using the 2007 World Cup of cricket in the West Indies as a backdrop, schools could explore 'Time, continuity and change' or 'Culture and heritage' by looking at the origins of the game in New Zealand and considering why only some countries in the world are deeply involved in cricket (a similar approach could be taken when considering the Rugby World Cup later in 2007). As a current event there is ample opportunity to explore 'Place and environment' by studying the participating nations or focusing on the host nations that make up the West Indies. This feature could be used to explore why sport, and success in it, is so important to many New Zealanders.

For more detail of specific activities relating to this topic go to New Zealand cricket activities – social studies Levels 4 and 5.


Sport has played an important role as an expression of national identity and has been one way in which New Zealand has been able to compare itself with other nations. The types of sport we play and who we compete against reflect our colonial past. As a small nation we have often presented ourselves as the underdog taking on the might of the world. Any success is therefore greeted as a significant achievement. The mood of the nation is often influenced by sporting success. A successful All Black season can contribute to a general sense of well-being as a nation; a poor one can have the opposite effect. The euphoria that greeted those who won the America's Cup in 1995 highlighted the value that many New Zealanders place on sporting achievement.

Sport has contributed to the formation of a distinctive sense of identity by particular individuals or groups. The shared experiences of New Zealanders through sport have contributed to the development of a sense of what it is to be a New Zealander.

The NCEA Level 2 topic The growth of New Zealand identity 1890–1980 provides an ideal opportunity to incorporate this feature into a history programme by looking at the wider role of sport in defining and expressing a sense of national identity. As such, it could be used as a context for achievement objective 2.6: examine individual or group identity in a historical setting, in an essay.