Today marks six months to the New Zealand team’s welcome to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and athletes have gathered in Auckland to mark the milestone.

New Zealand has won 610 Commonwealth Games medals since 1930 and next year some 250 athletes are likely to represent New Zealand at the April 2018 games, creating our largest games team in history.

Chef de Mission Rob Waddell, who will lead the team on the Gold Coast, briefed the gathered athletes on what to expect on the Gold Coast and reminded athletes that earning, and wearing, the silver fern is hugely significant.

“The fern symbolises how we, as athletes, do things,” said Waddell who also led the team at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and Rio Olympic Games.

“It’s about how we compete with pride and honour, how we draw on the achievements of those that have gone before us, and how we add to the story of the fern with our own efforts. To have the opportunity to wear the fern as we take on some of the best athletes in the world will be a huge honour for all of us.”

“Our unity as a team and a nation really gives us a performance edge.”

Katrina Grant3


Waddell was joined by Commonwealth Games rugby sevens medallist DJ Forbes who added that the wearing the silver fern and representing his country has been his greatest achievement. 

"Having the fern on our jerseys is special, it represents where we're from and the symbol inspires young New Zealanders to chase their sporting dreams."

Athlete Eliza McCartney says the fern is a source of inspiration for all those who wear it.

"The fern makes me so proud. To be able to wear it as an athlete and know the history of it and know the others that have worn it and done amazing things for this country is humbling."

Waddell also outlined the importance of team culture as critical to our Commonwealth success before sharing the New Zealand Commonwealth Games team’s public marketing campaign called #EarnTheFern.

“Earn the Fern is about what it takes, and what it means, to wear the silver fern,” he said.

“Our athletes tell us the support of New Zealanders really matters and we’re asking New Zealanders to show their support and follow the fern as our athletes head towards Gold Coast 2018.”

In the first campaign video, we have asked some of New Zealand’s most inspiring athletes, Sarah Ulmer, DJ Forbes, Eliza McCartney, Temepara Bailey, Dillon Boucher and Richie Paterson, what it means to earn the fern.

Over the next six months, and linked by the hashtag #EarnTheFern, the stories of our athletes, and those that support and inspire them, will be shared by the athletes themselves and our New Zealand Olympic Committee digital channels.

New Zealanders can also buy tickets to the games and support the team in person. Commonwealth Games tickets are available at


Above: A campaign image explaining the meaning behind #EarnTheFern


Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games
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