When you overhear the word ‘rugby’ in New Zealand, and let’s face it, that’ll only be a matter of time, you should know that the speaker is referring to our national sport, rugby union (rather than rugby league). In the same sentence you may also hear ‘All Blacks’, an affectionate name for New Zealand’s rugby team. The All Blacks have represented us magnificently on the world stage for decades and are the reigning world champions, after taking out the Rugby World Cup final against Australia in 2015 – a victory feted by the entire country.
But, the All Blacks are not the only successful New Zealand team of athletes to achieve global greatness. Given the size of the country, (current pop., 4.6 million) we have a reputation for punching above our weight across several sports and disciplines. So even though the All Blacks are always worth celebrating, let’s shine a light on some of our other sporting stars.
Joining the All Blacks as world champions, last year the Black Ferns, our NZ women’s rugby team, won the Women’s Rugby World Cup. The New Zealand men’s team were the 2017 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series winners; our women’s team won the title in 2016.
Moving away from rugby entirely, last July the Black Sox won their seventh world title at the Softball World Championships in Canada. Our national netball team, the Silver Ferns, have been world cup champions four times. Perhaps you’ve noted by now - we absolutely do love a team nickname!
There are many sporting names that you will hear Kiwis speak of with pride, but a few current stars include:
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke: world-class yachtsmen and four-time world champions in the 49er class, this unbeatable pair won gold in that class at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The following year they were part of the successful Team New Zealand claiming perhaps the biggest prize in sailing, the America’s Cup, and returning it home to New Zealand. Currently aboard two different race boats, these incredible sailors are battling each other and unimaginable seas as they compete in the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race.
Valerie Adams: or more precisely Dame Valerie Adams (formerly Villi), is one of our most successful field athletes and by far, New Zealand’s very best shot-putter ever. Still competing at the highest level, she has a cabinet full of trophies and medals that include four World Championship titles and three World Indoor titles. Adams has also has won gold at the Commonwealth Games three times and is a two-time Olympic gold medallist. Valerie won NZ’s Sportswoman of the Year award in seven consecutive years from 2006 -2012.
Steven Adams: is Valerie’s younger brother and a professional basketball player. In 2013, Steven was the first Kiwi to ever be selected in the first round of an NBA draft (12th pick). He currently plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder and is arguably New Zealand’s highest paid athlete.
Lydia Ko: another big money earner is our sensational sportswoman Lydia Ko, who was the youngest professional golf player ever to reach the world #1 ranking, which she did at just seventeen years old in 2015. Ko, who was born in South Korea, is the nation’s darling, named Young New Zealander of the Year (2016) and in Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people (2014).
Joseph Parker: is the current World Boxing Organisation’s Heavyweight Champion, gaining the title after defeating Andy Ruiz in 2016. As an amateur boxer he represented New Zealand in the super -heavyweight division at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and narrowly missed qualification for the 2012 Olympics before turning professional later that year.
Lisa Carrington: 2016’s NZ Sportswoman of the Year as well as winning the Supreme Award that year, flat water kayaker Lisa won Olympic gold medals at London in 2012 and Rio in 2016 (K-1 200 metre distance). She was appointed to a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to kayaking in 2013.
Brendon Hartley: professional racing driver Brendon currently drives for Porsche in the FIA World Endurance Championship and in Formula One for Scuderia Toro Rosso. From a motorsport family he has seen early career success, winning the FIA World Endurance Championship with his team in 2015 and 2017.
Mahe Drysdale: is a legendary name in rowing (along with Hamish Bond and Eric Murray) and has a clutch of medals to go along with it. Drysdale won the Olympic gold medal in the men’s single sculls in London and successfully defended his title in Rio in 2016. Dominating single sculls events since the early 2000’s, he has won gold in the NZ National Championships six times and is five-time World Champion. Drysdale has won NZ Sportsman of the Year four times, the only person to win it more than three times.
New Zealand adores sporting success, and the spirit of competition and sportsmanship is something we value. If you’re working medical jobs in New Zealand, you’ll find that one of the easiest ways to connect with Kiwis is to mention a recent sporting victory, even in the unlikeliest of social circles. For more insight on what it’s like to live and work locum medical jobs in New Zealand or for details on permanent medical jobs in New Zealand, please contact one of Ochre Recruitment’s consultants today – we’d love to chat with you!