History of cricket
First-class cricket began in New Zealand in 1906 with the Plunket Shield, named after the governor-general, Lord Plunket. Originally a series of challenges among five regions, from 1921-22 it was a league. Shell Oil took over the sponsorship in 1975-76, and introduced a new prize, the Shell Trophy, for the same competition.
International Competition and developing the game
New Zealand's achievements must be taken in the context of being a country with four million people, and with rugby the dominant sport. It took 40 years to win its first Test series, having debuted in 1929-30 against England, when it finally beat Pakistan 1-0 in 1969-70. There were, however, plenty of draws along the way, while the 1980s kick-started a charge which saw it win nine series. It had seven victories in the 1990s and, the next decade, claimed another 10 wins. New Zealand has one world title under its belt; the ICC Champions Trophy, won in Kenya in 2000-01 (when it was the ICC Knockout). In 2014, New Zealand had a highly successful season, beating India 4-0 in the ODI series and then won the Test series 1-0.
Women's cricket in New Zealand has always been strong and they played one of the first Tests, against England in 1935, and sent a side to the first Women's World Cup, in England in 1973. New Zealand Cricket was the first men's board to take over the women's game, welcoming it from 1992. The move paid dividends almost immediately: New Zealand was finalists in the World Cup for the first time the following year, while in 2000, it etched its names on the trophy, in front of home crowds. It remains a hugely competitive side, having been runners-up in the 2009 ICC Women's World Cup and the 2009 and 2010 ICC World Twenty20 tournaments. It failed to make it to the semi-final of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 2014.