Flashbacks: New Zealand History on Film
Moving in Rhythm with Precision
Marching combines military precision with spectacular formations and elaborate costumes.
The sport began during the Depression of the 1930s when teams were formed to keep young women fit and healthy. In 1945 a national association was formed and the first national championships held.
In its heyday marching competitions drew large crowds of spectators. Teams competed in various events – uniform inspection, fall-in, display and march-past. Competition was tough with points deducted for lack of precision, dressing, movement and length of pace.
Teams have marched not only in competitions but also in blossom festivals, street parades and at car races. Marching was the inspiration behind the television series Marching Girls, a 7-part drama series which screened on TV1 in 1987.
Marching was officially recognised as a kiwi sport in 1990 and although its popularity has waned, there is still an active national association, boys have joined and the sport has spread to other countries.