As in most other countries, water ski-ing in New Zealand is a new sport. Although it originated in Europe and the United States during the late twenties, it is only in the last few years that the pastime has become popular here. The first clubs were formed in 1954 and 1955 at Auckland – the Auckland Water Ski Club and the New Zealand Water Ski Club. These were quickly followed by others. Soon, however, the rapidly increasing popularity of the sport was bringing unlooked-for problems – unskilled boat drivers and skiers causing accidents and near accidents. The clubs, still in their infancy, did their best to overcome these problems. During 1956 and 1957 the Marine Department received so many complaints about irresponsible boat drivers and water skiers that the banning of the sport was considered. Those associated with the sport since its beginnings agreed that some firm action was needed to place it on a sound basis, and in 1959 the Auckland clubs made a move towards the formation of a national organisation. There was close liaison with the Marine Department and harbour boards and an offer of cooperation was made and accepted. A meeting at Wairakei in September 1959 inaugurated the New Zealand Water Ski Association. Immediately after its formation, the association made a recommendation to the Marine Department and to harbour boards that ski lanes be provided wherever ski-ing was popular and wherever there was enough room on the beaches. The Department drew up regulations governing the sport in areas under its control and these were also adopted by the harbour boards.
With the club movement continuing to grow, interest turned towards competitive ski-ing; the rules adopted in the United States were, and still are, the basis for competitions in New Zealand.
During the Christmas period 1959–60 the first national championships were held at Picton, sponsored by the Marlborough Cruising Club. The first annual meeting was also held and those officials elected at the inaugural meeting were re-elected. From this time on, the association, with headquarters at Auckland, went from strength to strength. Hitherto unknown clubs from all over the country applied for affiliation and helped in the organisation and administration of the sport. During 1960 the regional associations performed their true functions of drawing together all clubs in their area for the purpose of holding local tournaments. These culminated in the second national championships held in Auckland over Easter 1961. In the space of one year the standard had improved enormously and, in the final events, several competitors were well up to world standard.
|Men's Overall Champions|
|1960||K. Hunt (New Zealand Water Ski Club)|
|1961||R. Fulton (New Zealand Water Ski Club)|
|1962||R. Fulton (New Zealand Water Ski Club)|
|1963||J. Robb (Auckland Water Ski Club)|
|1964||V. Bullivant (Christchurch Water Sport Club)|
|1965||V. Bullivant (Christchurch Water Sport Club)|
|Women's Overall Champions|
|1960||B. Armstrong (Rotorua)|
|1961||D. Carlton (New Zealand Water Ski Club)|
|1962||D. Carlton (New Zealand Water Ski Club)|
|1963||E. Biggins (Auckland Water Ski Club)|
|1964||E. Biggins (Auckland Water Ski Club)|
|1965||J. Hole (Waikato)|
Since 1963 two new divisions have been included in the National Championships. These are Senior Men's Overall Champion, and Senior Women's Overall Champion.