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Sport regions (New Zealand)

Last modified: 2013-11-11 by ian macdonald
Keywords: new zealand | province | sport | rugby | cricket |
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Traditional provinces vs. sport regions

Old provinces (11) Current sport divisions and their colours
N.P.C. “provinces” (27) Super14 sides (5)
(North Island)
Northland [sky blue][white] Northland [navy blue][sky blue]The Blues
Auckland [white][maroon][black] North Harbour
[white][navy blue] Auckland [Central]
[white][black][red] Counties-Manukau [black][white][yellow]The Chiefs
[red][yellow] Thames Valley
[royal blue][yellow] Bay of Plenty
[red][yellow][black] Waikato
[maroon][yellow] King Country
Gisborne Province [sky blue] East Coast
[red] Poverty Bay
Taranaki [gold][black] Taranaki [yellow][royal blue] The Hurricanes
Hawkes Bay [black][white] Hawkes Bay [green][orange] Central Vikings
Wellington Province [green][white] Manawatu
[white][royal blue][black] Wanganui
[red][white] Horowhenua-Kapiti
[green][red] Wairarapa-Bush
[black][yellow] Wellington
(South Island)
Nelson Province [navy blue][white] Nelson Bays Nelson [red][black][white] The Crusaders
Golden Bay
Westland [red][royal blue] Buller
[red][white] West Coast
Marlborough [red][white] Marlborough
Canterbury [red][black] Canterbury
[green][yellow] Mid Canterbury
[green][black] South Canterbury
Otago [gold] North Otago [royal blue][gold][maroon] The Highlanders
[royal blue][gold] Otago
Southland [maroon][royal blue] Southland

N.P.C. “provinces” (27)

Today, the names (and the title "Province") have no political significance, although many government departments and quangos keep the names of the provinces and keep roughly to the boundaries of the old provinces. However, the term "province" has taken on a much more loose meaning these days for any area which has a distinct cultural / historic identity. The place where they are most evident as being separate areas is in sports contests, notably the national rugby union competition (The National Provincial Championship). Banners are, of course, waved by fans at the grounds, and some designs seem to be particularly common for the different provinces. There are, however, no standardised designs for provincial flags.
James Dignan, 12 September 1996

As far as I've seen so far, Northland and Otago may be the only two provinces with a standardised flag used at sporting occasions, rather than any odd combination of the provincial colours. However, it seems as though many provinces are slowly standardising the sports flags seen.
James Dignan, 26 August 1997

Each province likely to have the same colours for most of its sports teams. So Otago's main soccer team, for example, wears a gold shirt with blue shorts, and Wellington's hockey team wears black and gold. Although the flags you see at sports grounds are unofficial sports flags, the colours are instantly recognisable around the country. Someone waving black and red will instantly be seen as a Cantabrian no matter what sport is being played.
James Dignan, 11 May 1999

Part of the community association with the old provincial areas and names is very evident in sport and in particular with rugby union football which is the major and best organised NZ sport. Not only does it use the name association but the term "provinces" is widely used to describe the individual unions which comprise the national body of the NZ Rugby Union. The clickable map of Sporting Regions is applicable only to rugby union i.e. it details the areas comprising the individual unions. The areas, names and colours of these unions apply only to rugby union and need not apply to other sports although most do use them as a basis to a greater or lesser extent including their national bodies who tend to use the NZ rugby colours of black with a silver fern as a basis for their colours.

The colours which are displayed are thus a symbol of support for the team and are used by individuals hence the designs are at individual whim and the use not wide spread. The use of banners of the colours thus has no basis of formal format which means any adoption by usage is likely to take a long time. The association of these colours with an area for reasons other than sport is limited. Apart from the red and black of Canterbury which is always synonomous, other major areas tended to use mascots, though it seems that Otago is making moves in the banner area.
Neale Rosanoski, 3 October 1999

Other sports do divide them up in similar ways and with similar colours, however. Cricket, for instance has six regions in New Zealand — Otago, Canterbury, Wellington, Auckland, Central Districts, and Northern Districts. ND includes all of the area as far south as King Country, except for Auckland and North Harbour (which form Auckland); CD is the southern North Island plus Nelson and Marlborough, but excluding Wellington and the Wairararapa (which form Wellington); Canterbury is the rest of the South Island north of the Waitaki (the river separating North Otago and South Canterbury); Otago is everywhere south of this. The colours of these teams are also similar to the rugby teams: blue and gold for Otago, red and black for Canterbury, black and yellow for Wellington, blue & white for Auckland; maroon and yellow for ND... I can't remember offhand what colours CD cricket uses, but you get the idea - sports teams from one region will all tend to share the traditional "provincial colours".
James Dignan, 4 October 1999

Super14 sides (5)

It might also be worth noting that the Super-12 Rugby competition combines the provinces into five regional sides (which compete with four South African and three Australian teams). Each of these sides has an official flag which is a fairly horrible pattern formed from the team colours with the team's logo superimposed on it.
James Dignan, 5 April 1999

The Super-12 competition is now the Super14 competition [with the addition of one more team from both South Africa and Australia]
James Dignan, 9 January 2006

The five NZ super12 sides are:

I’m not 100% certain of some of the affiliations (King Country, for instance, may be part of the Wellington super 12 franchise, rather than Waikato's). The original names included the region name (given in brackets), but these have slowly been dropped in the last few seasons — The Highlanders are still known as the Otago Highlanders, for instance, but the Chiefs are simply the Chiefs. These teams featured in a series of stamps put out by NZ Post earlier this year (10 stamps, each at 40c, two for each super 12 team).
James Dignan, 17 Aug 1999