History of Women in New Zealand Cricket to be Told in New Project

 

A project to publish, for the first time, a comprehensive history of women in New Zealand cricket is to be launched at the WHITE FERNS third ODI against the West Indies on March 11.

The book is a long-term project, with publication due ahead of the 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup to be hosted by New Zealand. With the 2017 edition a huge success, inspiring many young cricketers, the publication of this historic book will only add to the spectacle and occasion promised in three years.

David White, Chief Executive of New Zealand Cricket, a key project partner, reiterated the importance of the book,

“This is a key activator for the 2021 World Cup and more than that it is an essential way for us to reconnect with so many past players whose contributions we admire and appreciate so much,” said Mr White.

We have a copy of Men in White, the NZ men’s equivalent history, which sits outside our main boardroom in our offices, I am really looking forward to the day we unveil this book to sit beside it, so the complete history of this great game is told.”

The NZ Cricket Players Association is another project partner and Chief Executive Heath Mills, emphasised their support,

“The Association and our members are very supportive of the book and look forward to helping attract former NZ players back to the game.

We’re really pleased to support the project launch and we didn’t hesitate to lend our help when Sally [Morrison] and Trish [McKelvey] approached us earlier this year.”


 

With so little having been documented about the history of women in cricket, particularly in New Zealand, the scope of the project is somewhat unknown. This makes the long-range deadline a benefit and also adds to the excitement of discovery for the project team, as Trevor Auger, the author of the book and former Managing Director at Ford New Zealand outlines,

“What I think will be most exciting for me is discovering all the photos and memorabilia we don’t yet know exists.

This book will include material from private photo collections and diary accounts, so there will be treasures that the public won’t have seen before.”

Trish McKelvey, former New Zealand Test captain and a member of the project team, recalls her own entry in to international cricket,

“When I was selected for my first New Zealand tour [to England in 1966] I was sent a bolt of cloth and a voucher for dress shoes. I needed to arrange for my dress uniform to be made and then make the necessary plans to spend the next 9 months away from home.

I loved playing for my country, it meant a great deal to me at the time, and it still does today. That means working on this book is hugely important to me.”

Among the key stories in the book, are many in which McKelvey was intimately involved, including the controversial and historic tour of Australia and South Africa in 1972.

“Not many people are aware, but the three Test tour of South Africa in 1972, which we won 1–0, was the last official representative tour any cricket team, men’s or women’s, would play in South Africa for 18 years as teams boycotted touring because of the apartheid regime.

Of course, on the way to South Africa we also became the first New Zealand side to beat Australia in a Test.”

With the next ICC Women’s World Cup being held in NZ in 2021 the stage is set for a period of intense game development both on and off the field and compiling the history of the game is an important element of this.

There is a larger social role to play as well, with the world’s media focusing on women and, in particular, the social evolution that is occurring around issues such as the #metoo movement. The launch of this project also coincides with Suffrage 125, the 12th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. These factors add to the importance of writing a book that tracks the role women have played in this country’s most popular summer sport.

Penny Kinsella, another former international and member of the project team, outlines the dedication and strength of character that is evident among many of our WHITE FERNS through history,

“It hasn’t always been easy to play for NZ, in any sport really. We needed to pay for everything ourselves and make a lot of personal sacrifices to be the best we could be.

Having said that I wouldn’t change a thing. Playing in the 1993 World Cup was definitely a highlight for me, and of course I still have these women as great friends.”

The project has been established out of records held by the New Zealand Cricket Museum from an earlier attempt to write the history. Those records, including extensive player interviews, were a passion project for Adrienne Simpson, an established author, researcher, and Cricket Museum board member who sadly passed way before it could be realised.

For Jamie Bell, the Director of the Cricket Museum, the launch of this project has been a long time coming,

“The Museum has housed Adrienne Simpson’s archival material for some years and we’ve been slowly working through it with an eye on realising her dream.

Now, with the passionate team we have and the support of NZ Cricket and the Players Association, it’s exciting to be able to launch this project and bring the wider cricketing community on board.

We are very grateful to Adrienne and her family. I truly believe this will do her initial work justice.”

Driven by the two former WHITE FERNS on the team, Trish McKelvey and Penny Kinsella, strengthening the network between former and current players is a key focus of this project. To assist in achieving this, and to ensure the story is told from the perspective of those involved in the moments that made history, the project team are asking people from within the community to contribute.

Project Manager and current Chair of Cricket Wellington, Sally Morrison, outlines how the community can contribute to this valuable project,

“We’re asking past players and fans to contact us with any stories, memorabilia, photos, diaries, scrapbooks, or other mementoes that will help us tell the story of this great game.

Our national women’s team beat their male counterparts to a Test win over Australia, hitting 400 in an ODI game, and winning a World Cup. We have a lot to celebrate!

Our thanks go to the New Zealand Cricket Players Association and Chief Executive Heath Mills for supporting this launch and helping us as we write this important book.”

MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT