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[Abstract] “Gentlemen both on and off the field”

Dr. Geoff Watson (School of Humanities, Massey University) published a journal article in 2011 on the Chinese football tour to New Zealand that took place in 1924. A worthwhile read!

Abstract: The Chinese Universities Soccer team, in the words of James Ng, ‘brought to New Zealand a more dynamic image of China’, attracting large crowds and raising the profile of a then minor sport. For historians, the presence of a Chinese team playing the form of soccer codified in nineteenth century Britain, affords interesting insights into issues of race, class and imperialism in New Zealand. The team was generally portrayed in a positive light, in contrast to the generally negative representations of Asians in New Zealand. The tour has received some coverage in James Ng’s work and histories of New Zealand soccer but merits a more detailed examination.3 The article commences with a discussion of the background to the tour and the Chinese community in New Zealand before analysing how the touring team was represented to New Zealanders.

Source: New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 13, 2 (December 2011): 1-17

Free access:

[HISTORY] Chinese Football Team Visits New Zealand


In 1924 the so called “Chinese Universities Football Team” visited New Zealand for a friendly exhibition tour. The well planned and thoroughly documented trip was a repetition of a similar excursion to Australia that took place just one year earlier.

The tour lasted from mid July until the end of September, during which the Chinese team took part in 22 matches, 18 of them against local opponents and 4 against a New Zealand selection. The biggest crowd – reportedly around 28,000 people – showed up on August 9th in Auckland. Continue reading