The Evolution Of Baseball in New Zealand

The game of baseball was invented in 1839 and quickly became popular not only in its hometown country, the US but also beyond. Since then, millions of players have enjoyed baseball both live and on TV. However, in New Zealand, it is still considered a minority sport and rather undeservedly, by the way. We decided to fix this and tell you more about the evolution of baseball in NZ.

General overview

The first mention of a baseball game in New Zealand refers to 1888 when All-Stars played against Chicago Club. During the tour, New Zealand cricket players held brief matches and there were even small local competitions from time to time. Everything became official in 1989, when the New Zealand Baseball Association was founded. It consisted of baseball teams in the area and quickly became the leading authority.

14 years later, in 2003, the Canterbury Baseball Club was created and gave way to the formation of the Manawatu and the Northland Baseball Clubs. New Zealand’s Little League teams regularly participate in the Asia Pacific Championships and the Australian Provincial Championship.

Nowadays, this sport is enjoyed not only in the field but also virtually, as more and more Kiwis choose online gaming. For example, at you can play baseball-themed slots or find a reliable new gambling site.

Baseball New Zealand

Baseball New Zealand, also known as the NZ Baseball Federation, is a regulatory body which governs everything related to baseball in the country. It consists of local clubs and regional associations. Four of the nine members are independent and are appointed by the Board. The CEO of the organization is Ryan Flynn. The annual general meeting takes place every year and the date is fixed (at least 15 months after the previous meeting).

Famous Players

The record of professional NZ baseball players isn’t broad. Scott Campbell played for the Las Vegas 51s and Toronto Blue Jays. Travis Wilson played for Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves for eight years, and Daniel Lamb-Hunt joined him at Atlanta Braves in 2005.

Scott Richmond from the Toronto Blue Jays is the first New Zealander to play in the Major League. Even though he was born in Canada, his father was from NZ. Other professional players include:

  • Moko and Boss Moanaroa, brothers (Boston Red Sox, signed in 2008)

  • Beau Te Wera Bishop (Boston Red Sox, signed in 2011)

  • Pita Rona (Baltimore Orioles, signed in 2012)

  • Daniel Devonshire (Toronto Blue Jays, signed in 2012)


Even though baseball is not so popular in the country, Kiwi players and their fans have access to a big number of competitions. For example:

  • The Auckland Baseball Association junior competition. This domestic event takes place every summer with the Little League and the 18U, 16U, 14U, and 12U leagues.

  • Internal Canterbury and Northland cups for different age groups.

  • National Club Championship which was first held in January 2006 with four age levels (Under 13, Under 15, Under 19, and Senior).

New Zealand teams also participate in different international competitions. For example, they have played in 1996 and 2008 Olympic qualifying tournaments and Australian Provincial Championships. Their Under 15 team has also played against Australia and New Caledonia to be able to represent Oceania in the 2007 IBAF AA World Championship. While it has won all the games against New Caledonia, they were defeated by Australians.

In 2011, NZ hosted the IBAF Oceania Qualifiers. The same year, New Zealand was invited to the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Ryan Flynn, the Baseball New Zealand Chief Executive, said that this invitation was ‘the best thing that happened in the history of NZ baseball.’

A game worth your attention

Baseball might not be the most popular game among Kiwis but it is definitely fun, dynamic, and engages millions of fans of all ages. Local teams have already proved to be skilled, devoted, and enthusiastic to compete and win not only against Australia but also other countries worldwide.

Fortunately, you don’t need to drive to a stadium to watch a game and even don’t have to be a professional athlete to play baseball. Enjoy virtual games and, who knows, maybe you will also enter the New Zealand baseball history.