Sometimes the majesty of a landscape can only be fully recognised when we place something out of place smack bang in the middle of it – something like a full-sized football field.


The FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia in a month’s time, and to celebrate the countdown the Kiwis have crafted a full-size football pitch amongst one of the most striking landscapes in the country. 

Lines have been drawn and two goals have been erected in the tussocky plains of the South Island’s Mackenzie Country, with Aoraki Mount Cook, Aotearoa New Zealand’s highest peak making for an impressive and other-worldly backdrop. 



The football field took six weeks to create by hand, as strict environmental and sustainability principles had to be abided by to ensure the land would return to its natural state. 

The local iwi and Department of Conservation worked with Tourism New Zealand to ensure the project was handled in a way that respected mana whenua and didn’t have long-term impacts on the land.

‘To play this friendly match on the footsteps of Aoraki is important to us. The mountain represents the most sacred of ancestors, from whom Ngāi Tahu (the local iwi/tribe) descends, to provide us with a sense of communal identity, solidarity, and purpose,’ said Rene de Monchy, Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive.



To mark the one-month countdown until the first whistle is blown on New Zealand soil, two local girls teams were invited to play a match on the spectacular field, refereed by Lindsey Robinson, New Zealand Football National Referee Development Manager and current Referee. 

Football Ferns players Katie Bowen and Emma Rolston also dropped in to share some skills and drills with the young players. 

‘I’m grateful that we could be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience for these young and talented girls in the most beautiful place on Earth,’ says Emma Rolston.



If every game of football was played somewhere like this, I’d be hooked. 


Photos by Brett Phibbs / PhibbsVisuals for Tourism New Zealand/TNZ