Inaugural Women’s British and Irish Lions tour to kick off

The inaugural Women’s British and Irish Lions Tour will receive government funding to support matches played across New Zealand in September 2027, offering significant economic, social and cultural benefits to New Zealand, Sport and Recreation Minister Chris Bishop says.

“We’ve seen from the recent women’s world cups that Kiwis love a chance to see world-class teams competing up close in our own back yard.

“This is going to be a historic moment for rugby, and I can’t wait to see the very first women’s Lions team take on our world champion Black Ferns. This tour is going to be epic,” Chris Bishop says.

The government has earmarked $3.9 million from the Major Events Fund to support the series.

“I am delighted to confirm government support for the inaugural Women’s British and Irish Lions tour,” Economic Development Minister Melissa Lee says.

“Hosting this event will help us to further increase the value and visibility of women’s sport in New Zealand and create new sporting heroes and role models for our younger generations.

“The action on the field is set to be matched by positive economic benefits as we look forward to seeing kiwis pack stadiums and welcoming the legion of fans that will come to New Zealand for this landmark tour,” Melissa Lee says.

The Major Events Fund is an investment fund to support major events to achieve specific outcomes that align with government priorities.

New Zealand has successfully hosted World Cup events in recent years with the 2023’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, 2022’s Women’s Rugby World Cup and Women’s Cricket World Cup.

The embargo time is to line up with the tour announcement in the UK.