Friendship favoured over foe for Kiwis

New Zealanders are looking forward to forging friendships over competition as World Masters Games 2017 kicks off this week, according to survey results released today by Colmar Brunton.

Despite New Zealand’s traditional competitive reputation on the sports field, 60% of those surveyed favoured friendship and understanding, one of the two philosophies of the World Masters Games. A third chose playing for competition, the second philosophy, and 9% selected the middle ground.

The results were strongly influenced by those aged 60 and older who are more likely to play sport for friendship and understanding, in contrast to more than half of millennials who prefer to play to win. Interestingly males and females are in agreement, with both strongly favouring friendship over competitiveness.

For most sports at the World Masters Games there are no qualification criteria other than age, and this was reflected in opinions on how one becomes a “Master” in their chosen sport. Most felt that “putting in your best effort and enjoying every moment you spend playing” (44%) was the best way, followed by “25+ years of living a sport” (26%). New Zealand’s competitive streak eventually showed itself with “10,000 hours of hard training” (13%) coming in third. Almost twice as many males than females surveyed thought participants are “born a Master”.

In addition to the focus on friendship and understanding, two thirds of those surveyed believe World Masters Games 2017 will have a positive impact on tourism in New Zealand. This will be noticeable through an increase in visitor numbers to local attractions such as Auckland’s iconic Sky Tower (26%) and an increase in sales of New Zealand-branded merchandise (37%).

World Masters Games 2017 will also have a significant impact on the economy. With 28,000 participants converging on Auckland, organisers of the World Masters Games are expecting to deliver $30.8 million GDP and 244,000 visitor nights to Auckland’s economy. Many international participants are bringing their families and choosing to stay on in New Zealand after the event, which is expected to deliver a total of $53 million GDP and 266,000 visitor nights to the New Zealand economy.

The significant impact for Auckland and New Zealand is recognised by the investment made by the Government ($11 million) and Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development on behalf of Auckland Council ($11.75 million) investing approximately two thirds of the $35.85 million required to stage the event with the remainder to come from registration fees ($8.5 million) and commercial sponsorship ($4.6 million).

The World Masters Games is the largest multi-sport event in the world. In terms of athlete numbers, it is bigger in scale than even the Olympics. Auckland will host the event from 21 to 30 April 2017 during which time more than 28,000 participants will compete in 28 sports across 48 competition venues. The Games are regarded as the largest event New Zealand will host in at least the next decade. For more information visit
A representative sample of 1,000 New Zealanders took part in this online survey. The survey has a maximum margin of error of + or – 3.1%