New campaign launches in bid to boost support for women's sport in New Zealand

Sport NZ is determined to change the way Kiwis view women's sport, launching a new campaign dubbed 'It's Time'.

New Zealand's rival codes are banding together, rallying in support of a common goal.

"We've come a long way," said Black Ferns rugby captain Kennedy Simon. "We've had a lot of women pave the way to be where we are today.

"[It's about] coming together and bringing it to life."

Sport NZ has a vision to grow support for the women's game, urging fans to get behind the upcoming home rugby and football World Cups for long-term gains.

"That's ultimately where commercial dollars follow," said Sport NZ chief executive Raelene Castle. "That is the reality of the path that we're on and we can see ultimately the growth in commercial revenue for women's sport."

One day, people will know who's who.

"I've definitely been called a Black Fern on the street," said Silver Ferns netball defender Kayla Johnson. "It would be nice to have the general public know the difference."

But a case of mistaken identity isn't the most concerning stat, Sport New Zealand's research has found.

Only one in three New Zealanders watch women's sport on a regular basis. Close to half the population say their view or engagement with women's sport hasn't changed in the last five years.

More than half say that won't change in the next 12 months, but they might, if they gave it a go.

"Open your mind to watching it," added Castle. "Give it an opportunity, because I guarantee, once you do, you'll love it."

There's plenty of chances to do that, with the Rugby World Cup kicking off next week.

Watch the Rugby World Cup live on Spark Sport or free-to-air on Three, or follow our live updates, starting October 8