Ultimate continues to grow

School Sport New Zealand recently released the results of the 2018 Census and it makes exciting reading for the sport of Ultimate. The 48% growth in New Zealand students playing ultimate since 2014 makes Ultimate one of the fastest growing sports at secondary school level (6th in fact behind Korfball, Weightlifting, Petanque, Futsal and Mountain Biking).

In total, 1265 students took part in competitive Ultimate for their school last year – the geographic spread is illustrated in the table below. There are strong local competitions in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Christchurch and many schools travel to compete at the two major regional events – the South Island Secondary School Ultimate Championships and the New Zealand Secondary School Ultimate Championships.

Ultimate is a fantastic sport for young people to get involved in, with it’s non-contact but fast-moving style and it’s focus on fair play and communication (there are no referees in Ultimate – players make their own calls on the field).

There is also a strong pathway with keen players able to progress from their local leagues to the NZ Youth Ultimate Championships which, along with the regional school events, is a key selection event for the National Training Squad – leading to the New Zealand Junior Ultimate teams that compete at the World Junior Ultimate Championships every two years (NZ finished 5th (boys) and 8th (girls) at the 2018 event.

Region Girls Boys Total
Auckland 117 215 332
Bay of Plenty 12 33 45
Canterbury 112 177 289
Gisborne 15 14 29
Otago 7 4 11
Southland 30 31 61
Taranaki 64 92 156
Tasman 8 8 16
Waikato 39 101 140
Wellington 55 131 186

– Article courtesy of School Sport NZ