Skip to page content
Home / Exhibitions + Events

The Beautiful Game: The wonderful world of football

23 May - 26 July 2015

The Barry Hopkins Gallery

Free entry

From rough beginnings in rural England, football has become a truly global game. It is the most popular sport in the world, played by 250 million people and watched avidly by many more. In June, New Zealand is proudly co-hosting the FIFA U-20 (under twenty) Men’s World Cup. Eight matches will be played in Hamilton at Waikato Stadium. The tournament is a rare chance to see the superstars of tomorrow in action and one of the most significant international sporting events the city has hosted in recent years.

While it is more woven into the fabric of overseas societies, football has a rich tradition in New Zealand and the Waikato. The exhibition explores this heritage with reference to the personalities and clubs that have shaped the local scene. Historical objects, memorabilia, photographs, and interviews collected in this exhibition document and celebrate football at a regional, national and global level.

Visitors will learn about the distant origins of ‘The Beautiful Game’, its international evolution and the impact of the sport on Aotearoa and the Waikato. A highlight is the Waikato Football Heroes section, which honours some of the players, coaches and administrators who have contributed to the development of the game in the region. Interactive elements for children include a foosball table and a one-on-one soccer court.

Image: Leather soccer boots and ball, collection of Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato