World Cup legacy continues to take effect in Aotearoa-New Zealand

The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup tournament flag
The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup tournament flag and 'Beyond Greatness' logo display on field. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Auckland was host to several key fixtures during the 2023 World Cup, jointly hosted by Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand. A new partnership between Auckland-Tāmaki Makaurau council and FIFA has seen the construction of a brand new football pitch.

The pitch, located in Manurewa, is a carbon copy replica of the Unity Pitch that fans used during the tournament. The pitch displays an ongoing willingness to invest in accessible football in the area.

Matt Winiata, a member of the Manurewa local board, summarised the communities sentiment around the investment.

“I congratulate FIFA on the tournament and also on its promise to struggling and marginalised communities. The pitch will be a colourful and vibrant asset to Manurewa and will inspire thousands more to try out football and futsal.”

The original Unity Pitch has also been put to good use for local communities. Beach Haven primary school was gifted ownership of the fan-zone pitch in a further show of investment in youth by FIFA.

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Aotearoa-New Zealand automatically qualified for the 2023 World Cup as co-hosts. Despite featuring in six editions of the tournament, their first ever win came this summer at Eden Park. Hannah Wilkinson made history with the only goal of the match.

Last year, a petition was drawn up to move away from the Dutch anglicised New Zealand and change the country’s name officially to Aotearoa (ow-tear-roh-ah). Te Pati Māori, the political party representing the country’s indigenous Polynesian people, is also pushing to restore the original Māori names of the cities and towns.

More than 70,000 signatures were collected and the hope is for the process to be completed by 2026.

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