Bonspiel at Idaburn Dam, 2010 -  Photographer:  Janyne Fletcher


Welcome to the New Zealand Curling Association's website! The NZCA is the national governing body for the Winter Olympic sport of curling in New Zealand. If you're new to curling, or this site, then please read on to get started.

About Curling

Curling is based on a very simple idea – slide your stones along the ice and get them closer to the target than your opponent's. This section will get you started...

  • What curling is all about – the basics.
  • The place to learn is on the ice, so where can you try curling in NZ?
  • The NZ Curling Association coordinates our sport – find out more about the NZCA.
  • Curling's history in New Zealand started with immigrants from Scotland in the 1870s.
  • Every sport has its unique terminology – this glossary of curling terms should explain them

Guide to the Sport of Curling

Curling - the basics explained

What is curling?

Curling is a highly complex sport based on a very simple idea. Slide a stone down a sheet of ice and have it stop as close as possible to the centre of a set of rings (called the house) – the problem being that your opposition will do everything tactically to stop you from achieving this goal. So the game contains elements of great skill, strategy, finesse, exertion and endeavour, and we promise you that the perception of a slow-paced game is just that, a perception.

It is often referred to as "bowls on ice" because the format scoring is similar, but the tactics involved also make "chess on ice" a good description. It is an easy sport to learn – you can play a game within an hour of first getting on the ice – but mastering it will take longer!

The game itself is more than 500 years old, and its true origin is hidden in the midst of time, but in Scotland, the game evolved over the centuries and where the mother club of curling, The Royal Caledonian Curling Club, was formed in 1838. The game has, of course, evolved through the years and the latest change in how the game is played was introduced in 1990 when the free guard zone rule was established.

Fairness is an integral part of the game, and you shall not be surprised if your opponent points out that they have broken the rules, so make sure that no advantage is given.

The Spirit of Curling

Curling is a game of skill and of traditions. A shot well executed is a delight to see and so, too, it is a fine thing to observe the time-honoured traditions of curling being applied in the true spirit of the game. Curlers play to win but never to humble their opponents. A true curler would prefer to lose rather than win unfairly. A good curler never attempts to distract an opponent or otherwise prevent him from playing his best. No curler ever deliberately breaks a rule of the game or any of its traditions. But, if he should do so inadvertently and be aware of it, he is the first to divulge the breach.

While the main object of the game of curling is to determine the relative skill of the players, the spirit of the game demands good sportsmanship, kindly feeling and honourable conduct. This spirit should influence both the interpretation and application of the rules of the game and also the conduct of all participants on and off the ice.

More reading

  • Try curlingbasics.com for some excellent animations of shots and strategies
  • ​​​​​​​Wikipedia has a comprehensive introduction to curling