Expansion of the New Zealand women’s national league


In 2018, New Zealand Football made the decision to increase the league from seven rounds to a home and away of 14 rounds with a grand final between the two leading teams.

This decision was confirmed post the submission of the application from FIFA Forward, who contributed US$90,000, in February 2018.

What are were the key objectives of the project?

To promote women’s football on the domestic stage, thus increasing their exposure to the New Zealand sporting public and help increase women’s participation.

How did the project help achieve what was in your Contract of Agreed Objectives?

The Contract of Agreed Objectives states “Build on and deliver our Whole of Football development Plan”. This encompasses increasing participation in women’s football in New Zealand at all levels.

The beneficiaries – both direct and indirect were: Football Ferns management, women’s age group teams, New Zealand Football, and any young female wanting to get into football.


The New Zealand Football National Women’s League (NWL) has seven teams competing from throughout New Zealand – Central, Northern Lights, Auckland Football Federation, WaiBop, Canterbury Pride, Football south.

The 2018 NWL took place from the 15th September 2018 to 16th December 2018. Seven teams competed in the league over fourteen league rounds.

At the conclusion of the league the Northern Lights and Canterbury United Pride met in Auckland to decide the champion with Canterbury Pride winning.

The NWL is set up to drive and inspire women in football to get involved and achieve at a high level. Many players involved in the competition represent New Zealand’s top women side (The Football Ferns) and at the various age group levels, and it is seen as a great competition for developing women who are wanting to compete on a higher stage.

Based on the success of the increase in the NWL rounds to fourteen it is envisaged that the competition will continue in this format in the coming years allowing the women’s game to grow in New Zealand.

At the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, New Zealand, known as the Young Football Ferns finished in third place, an historic result for the nation.

An important aspect to be highlighted is that from the New Zealand U-17 team that won the bronze medal, 20 players of the 21-strong squad participated in the Women’s National League competition. That helped with their development and having the best practice at the highest level.