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Leroy Sisnett
AUCKLAND, New Zealand

Kia Ora, Haere mai


To the NEW ZEALAND AMERICAN FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION 'NZAFA', the founding home of American Football in New Zealand originally recognized as the National Sporting Organization by Sport and Recreation NZ 'SPARC' (formerly the Hillary Commission) from 1998 to 2004.  The NZAFA is a foundation member of the Oceania Federation of American Football 'OFAF' formed in 1999 in partnership with Gridiron AustraliaThe NZAFA is a founding member of American Football New Zealand in partnership with Gridiron NZ formed in 2004 and recognized by SPARC from 2004 to 2008.  The NZAFA has been a member of the International Federation of American Football 'IFAF' and also through our role within American Football NZ.

The website will provide you with a snapshot of our sport American Football in NZ and how, since its formation 28 years ago, the NZAFA has sustained it's identity to serve the best interests of the sport and the future.

The origins of the NZAFA are found as a club competition based in Auckland in 1980 formed by a group of passionate fans of the game who realized that their game could be played in New Zealand.  Two of the foundation clubs still competing in the Auckland competition today and have at different times in the past 28 years dominated as powerhouses of the sport are the Metro Lions and the South Auckland Raiders American Football club's.

The history of the NZAFA in Auckland is littered with eras of club domination eminently displayed on the original Kiwibowl trophy.  Teams, Clubs, Players synonymous with our game and the sport heralded from the dynastic realms of: the Saints - 2 years, Henderson Rangers - 4 years, Mustangs - 7 years, South Auckland Raiders - 3 years, Waikato Spears - 3 years, Metro Lions - 2 years and the Papatoetoe Wildcats - 2 years.

In 1991 the NZAFA extended its competition with the formation of the American Football Southern Conference 'AFSC' whose foundation clubs continue the tradition and have sustained the local competition for the past 17 years.   The stalwart club the Porirua Giants have had a few name changes in this time but have perservered to remain as a driving force in the Wellington competition.

In most recent years the local competitions in Auckland and Wellington have under gone subtle changes so that the sport of American Football remains a viable choice for potential players and members.  During Anzac weekend in April 2008 the first ever national forum was facilitated by the NZ American Football Association in Auckland.  Stakeholders from every club and the one regional body attended the forum to address the history and plan for the future of American Football in NZ.

NZAFA President Leroy Sisnett had the unenviable role as forum facilitator as well as being the sole remaining foundation board member of American Football NZ who provided the stakeholders an honest review of AFNZ, the current state of the sport in NZ and looking towards the future.  Discussions, opinions, perspectives, histories and decisions were formulated, discarded, reviewed, pondered and adopted.  The forum attendees, also included former foundation AFNZ Board members, collectively surmised and agreed that the future for our sport was the collective responsibility of the many and not of the few.  A history lesson that the stakeholders, past and present, are equally guilty of and must ensure is not repeated.

Travelling the path towards the future the stakeholders will follow the 'road map' designed by the forum attendees to recognize the history, maintain the regional competitions, create future pathways and identify the leaders that will nurture the growth and identity uniquely ours in this modern age of sport - locally, nationally and globally.

Success has quadrupled as a direct result of the inaugural forum:

1. Oceania Federation of American Football meeting - attended by board members of the NZAFA /AFNZ and Gridiron Australia in June 2008 with the two member countries exchanging candid discussion concerning matters that will have an immediate impact within these governing bodies and initial discussions had concerning the future in the Oceania region.

2. Regional body - American Football Wellington 'AFW' (formerly known as the 'AFSC') amends the constitution to implement the changes agreed to at the national forum and will govern simultaneously with its regional colleague.  Challenges have been faced to ensure the continued participation of its members as well as governance that reflects its members and their needs.

3. Formation of the new regional body - American Football Auckland 'AFA' is ratified by all clubs in the Auckland region competition and will stand alone as the facilitator for American Football in Auckland formerly facilitated by the NZAFA, GNZ & AFNZ committee's in recent years.  More challenging than ever as clubs are now active participants as regional administrators to manage the collective needs of their clubs entering into it's 29th year of competition.

4. Future pathways - IFAF JWC tournament , an initiative that the NZAFA / AFNZ indicated their participation at the national forum and in May 2008 confirmed that NZ would participate. Despite the reservations of some in the football community the NZAFA leverage in the JWC campaign is that the future will not take care of itself unless we are active participants. 

The belief in the potential and skill of our NZ athlete has not been misplaced, with the successful Oceania campaign the NZ U19 Iron Blacks will represent the region in the first ever International Federation of American Football 'IFAF' U19 Junior World Cup Tournament.


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