Queenstown hosts largest ever NZ Championships over St Patrick’s weekend

Picturesque Queenstown in New Zealand’s South Island hosted a thrilling 2024 New Zealand Championships over St Patrick’s weekend.

The two-day tournament at Queenstown Events Centre saw thirty-three teams line out across six competitions, making it the largest national championships in New Zealand to date.

In the women’s senior football, Wellington/Hutt Valley lived up to their favourites tag as they claimed their fifth competition win on the trot. However, it took extra-time wins in the semi, against St Pat’s Emerald City, and in the final, versus a brilliant Queenstown Gaels side, to get over the line.

The men’s senior football final saw the impressive St Pat’s defeat first-time finalists Naomh Críostóir to make it back-to-back championships for the Aucklanders.

Queenstown Gaels (black) and Wellington/Hutt Valley in the New Zealand Championships women’s senior football final.
With the small ball, it was a first championship win for Wellington/Hutt Valley who overcame Canterbury in the camogie, and in doing so, made it a historic football-camogie championship double for the club from the capital.

The hurling final saw Auckland gain redemption for their one-point loss in 2023’s final with an emphatic win over red-hot favourites Canterbury. Trailing by five points in the final quarter, the men from the big smoke struck three quickfire goals to earn their second title of the season.

The junior football competitions served up some of the most exciting games over the weekend. Where their senior sides fell at the final hurdle, Queenstown Gaels’ (women) and Naomh Críostóir’s (men) junior footballers didn’t disappoint in bringing the silverware home for their clubs.

Canterbury (red) and Auckland in the 2024 New Zealand Championships hurling final.
It was an action-packed weekend from start to finish, and President of the host club Queenstown Gaels, Lisa Whelan, was delighted with how their first competition went:

“Overall we are absolutely delighted with our first hosting experienced. We were definitely surprised by the scale of it. Once we started asking for expressions of interest, we were shocked to see the numbers planning to travel down.

“Over the COVID years so many clubs, including our own, shrunk so much, so it’s amazing to see the growth of the sport in New Zealand. The Queenstown Gaels committee are so passionate about the club, and Queenstown in general is such a supportive community, but we couldn’t have pulled it off without the efforts from both.

Lisa’s highlights from the weekend include, “[Queenstown] having the numbers to enter four teams. This time last year we wouldn’t have even dreamed that we would have 80 players signed up.

“And of course it has to be captaining the junior ladies team, who managed to bring home silverware for the second year in a row.”

Tournament winners

Women’s senior football: Wellington/Hutt Valley
Men’s senior football: St Pat’s Emerald City
Camogie: Wellington/Hutt Valley
Hurling: Auckland
Women’s junior football: Queenstown Gaels
Men’s junior football: Naomh Críostóir Waikato

By Australasia PRO Fri 22nd Mar