Origin of the Sport:

The early origins of the modern game can be traced back to 13th century England - although King Edward III later banned the sport for fear it would disrupt archery practise. The sport was to fall in and out of popularity until undergoing a resurgence, particularly in Scotland, in the mid 19th century.  The game then quickly expanded to Australasia and North America. Bowls has featured in every Commonwealth Games - bar the 1966 edition - since its inception in 1930. The quadrennial World Outdoor Championships remains the pinnacle of the game.  

How it Works:

Bowls is played on a large rectangular grass or synthetic surface called a bowling green, which is divided into parallel playing strips called rinks.

The aim is to deliver bowls closer to a jack (a smaller bowl) than your opponent to earn the right to score points. The game can be played as singles (one player on each side) or in teams of two (pairs), three (triples) or four (fours). After each competitor has delivered all their bowls – four bowls each in singles and pairs; three in triples; and two in fours – the distance of the closest bowls to the jack is measured. The winning team gets as many points or ‘shots’ as it has bowls closer to the jack than the best bowl of the losing team.

The game is played in three formats; Shots – the first to reach so many shots ie 21pts in singles. Ends – When a game is predetermined by the number of ends played often 15-21 or Time - games played for a predetermined period of time with the winner the one with the most points over this period.

Format at World Masters Games:

Men and women will be divided into six age divisions; 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79 and 80+ with pairs and fours competitions. There will also be competitions for visually impaired bowlers B1-B4 and B5-B8 with varying degrees of other disabilities. All games will be run on the timed format


Action will take place at the Carlton Cornwall, Mt Eden and Remuera Bowling Clubs all located in central Auckland.

Expected number of participants: 500

Kiwi Hero:

Peter Belliss – Wanganui-born Peter Belliss is the most successful male New Zealand player in history. A winner of three World Bowls gold medals he is best remembered for his victory in the men’s singles at the 1984 edition in Aberdeen. He later went on to win world gold in the men’s pairs with Rowan Brassey in 1988 and triples gold with Brassey and Andrew Curtain in 2000. In an illustrious career, the Aramoho Bowling Club player represented his country more than 40 times and also won two Commonwealth Games bronze medals.

Did You Know?

Bowls were originally made from the dense wood lignum vitae – hence the term ‘woods’ for bowls.

How to Get Involved