Women's hockey has been played in most parts of New Zealand since the beginning of the century. Nelson records matches played in 1897, but the date of the formation of the first club there is not known. By 1900 the game was gaining interest in Auckland and Dunedin, and when the New Zealand Women's Hockey Association was formed in 1908 it was a popular sport in several districts. In that year 10 associations, which are still in existence, affiliated with the newly formed national body. Today there are 32 affiliated associations with an adult membership of about 8,000 players; further, there are at least 5,000 secondary- and several hundred primary-school girl players. These figures indicate the growing popularity of the sport.
The organisation and control of women's hockey in any district is in the hands of the local association, but the national body is the controlling authority and court of appeal for any problems that may arise between associations. Also affiliated to the New Zealand association is a strong umpires' association, though most of the district associations also have their own umpires' association. The work of the main body has achieved a uniform and high standard of umpiring throughout the country, with a resulting benefit to the game.
Apart from the war years, national tournaments have been held since 1908 and, since 1955, several secondary-school girls' tournaments have also been held. Interprovincial games are played by neighbouring associations in various grades and seven-a-side tournaments for interclub teams are very popular in many centres.