During the 1920s, although several attempts were made to arrange visits by overseas teams, lack of finance and differences in playing rules effectively prevented New Zealand participation in international competition. In 1938 a New Zealand representative team toured Australia playing seven-a-side matches under Australian rules. During this visit officers of the two national associations agreed to draw up basic playing rules with a view to forming an Inter-Empire Association which was to be inaugurated at the Centennial Tournament, Wellington, in 1940. Later, the English Association decided to participate; however, owing to the war both the conference and the visits of Australian and English teams were cancelled.
In 1948 an Australian team toured New Zealand. Playing under Australian rules, the visitors won the nine provincial games as well as all three tests. Although discussions with a view to drafting uniform rules were held and some progress made, the Australians could not be persuaded to abandon their seven-a-side rule in favour of New Zealand's nine.
In 1954 a team from the New Zealand Minor Associations toured Fiji at the invitation of the Fijian Basketball Association. A return visit took place in 1957, when the Fijians won 25 of their 28 matches.
Following upon the visit of the All-Australia team to England in 1956, the English Association called a meeting to discuss the formation of an international body. Two years later New Zealand adopted the proposed international rules, including the controversial seven-a-side rule, for domestic play. In 1960 New Zealand representatives attended the inaugural meeting of the International Federation of Women's Basketball and Netball Associations at Colombo. During the same year a New Zealand team successfully toured Australia, the games being played according to the new international rules. Early in the 1961 season New Zealand formally ratified these and, in August 1963, a New Zealand team took part in the first international tournament at Eastbourne, England. This was won by Australia with New Zealand in second place. International tournaments are to take place every four years, the venue being: Perth (1967), Jamaica (1971), and New Zealand (1975). The New Zealand team's record at the first international tournament was:
by Leona Mary Coatsworth, Secretary, New Zealand Basketball Association (Inc.), Christchurch.
|New Zealand||112 v.||Northern Ireland 4|
|New Zealand||61 v.||Jamaica 31|
|New Zealand||89 v.||Ceylon 9|
|New Zealand||56 v.||England 29|
|New Zealand||51 v.||Trinidad 23|
|New Zealand||36 v.||Australia 37|
|New Zealand||60 v.||South Africa 13|
|New Zealand||85 v.||Scotland 7|
|New Zealand||88 v.||Wales 15|
|New Zealand||73 v.||West Indies 23|