In New Zealand the game of draughts began offically in 1896 when the first national championships were held at Wanganui. The winner was J. Boreham who, like all the leading players of those days, had learnt the game overseas. Following this tournament New Zealanders took a growing interest in the game, with the result that championships were held regularly in different parts of the country. For several years, however, the main titles were won by new immigrants. At this period Otago was the main centre of the leading players and the National Executive was formed there. After some 50 years the headquarters were transferred to the West Coast of the South Island, thence to Auckland, and finally to Wellington. All the main centres have draughts clubs, and many country players who do not belong to clubs, are members of the New Zealand association. National tournaments are held each year alternately in the North and South Islands. The tournaments are run on a “two move” restriction. Usually 20 or more players drawn from the best in the country take part. There is no pre-selection, however, and any member of the association can enter. The tournaments last about a week and include a sealed handicap. Other important fixtures are city, provincial, and North and South Island championships. In some centres junior or schoolboy championships are held. The winner of the first Junior National Championship, about 16 years ago, was D. Walker, of Greymouth. Correspondence matches have been played against British, American, and Australian teams without success, though the results have been close.
For several years the association published a Review which was recognised as one of the best of its kind in the world.
by Some notable personalities of the game in this country include D. Calderwood, who learnt the game in Scotland. He won the national title nine times and the Australasian title once. In his day he was classed as one of the world's leading players. Others of prominence include W. Penman, winner of the New Zealand and the Australian title, and J. Dowie, of Christchurch, and D. Lowry, of Wellington, both of whom have won the national title three times. A.S.R. Noonan, formerly Secretary, New Zealand Draughts Association, Ikamatua, West Coast South Island and Walter O'Malley, President, New Zealand Draughts Association, Christchurch.