This article describes the history of New Zealand cricket from the 1918–19 season until 1945.
After the 1920–21 season the competition changed from a challenge format to a single round robin format.
An English team raised by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) played three first-class matches versus the New Zealand national team. MCC also played twice against Auckland and once each versus Wellington, Canterbury and Otago. The MCC team was captained by Archie MacLaren and included Tich Freeman, Freddie Calthorpe, Percy Chapman and Clement Gibson.
The Australian team played first-class matches from February to April 1928 against the New Zealand national team (twice) and the main provincial teams Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago.
The England cricket team toured Australia and New Zealand in the 1929–30 season to play a Test series against New Zealand. This was the first Test series ever played in New Zealand. The England team was captained by Arthur Gilligan and included Frank Woolley, Duleep and Stan Nichols.
England won the series 1–0 with three matches drawn:
England began the tour in October 1929 in Australia where they played five first-class matches. For the Australian leg of the tour, see: History of Australian cricket from 1918-19 to 1930.
The New Zealand section of the tour began in December and, in addition to the Test series, England played each of Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago.
The inaugural Test series between New Zealand and South Africa took place in New Zealand in 1931–32. South Africa won the two-match series 2–0 with no matches drawn:
Douglas Jardine's England toured New Zealand after its infamous "bodyline" tour of Australia. England and New Zealand played a two-match Test series which was altogether more peaceful than the one in Australia. Both Tests were drawn:
An MCC team led by Errol Holmes toured New Zealand from December 1935 to March 1936, playing eight first-class matches including four against New Zealand. They were not Test matches.
The MCC team that toured Australia in the 1936–37 season also played three matches in New Zealand at the end of the tour. They played no Test matches in New Zealand, although one of the matches was against a representative New Zealand XI, all of whose team members toured England a few weeks later, playing three Test matches.
Sir Julien Cahn's cricket team, captained by George Heane, toured New Zealand in February and March 1939 to play ten matches including one first-class fixture against the New Zealand national cricket team at Basin Reserve; this match was drawn. Cahn's XI also played against some of the provincial teams but these matches were 12-a-side and are not regarded as first-class.
A planned tour by a team of English amateurs in 1920-21 had to be called off as the New Zealand Cricket Council was unable to raise sufficient money. A similar tour by an MCC team in 1921-22 was also cancelled by the NZCC, which explained that the weakness of the selected team would be unlikely to draw sufficient crowds to cover costs.
Attempts to arrange a tour by a West Indian team in the mid-1920s did not come to fruition. At first it was hoped a tour could be arranged for the 1924-25 season, then the 1926-27 season, but it was not possible.
A request by the New Zealand Cricket Council for a two-Test tour by Australia in early 1931 was turned down by the Australian authorities on the grounds that their players needed a rest after a busy year of two five-Test series. A tour by the best Australian players who had not been selected for the Ashes tour of 1934 was arranged to take place between February and April 1934, but a disagreement between the respective cricket boards about financial terms, and the withdrawal of several of the selected players, led to the cancellation of the tour just before it was scheduled to begin.
A Test tour by Australia, planned for February and March 1940, was cancelled after the outbreak of the Second World War. An itinerary of 14 matches – three Tests, four first-class matches against Plunket Shield teams, and seven other matches – had been arranged, and it was expected that Don Bradman would lead a strong team.