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Powerlifting in New Zealand | Selecting a Federation

Updated: Mar 5

Powerlifting is pretty confusing for new lifters, right? This guide is designed to run you through each Powerlifting federation in New Zealand at a basic level and hopefully help you make a decision on where you will eventually compete.


What is a federation? In layman's terms, a governing body. New Zealand has 4 different powerlifting federations, each linked to a different international body. Each of these federations have different rules, pertaining to weight classes, age classes, lifting standards, acceptable equipment and there are also significant differences in competition depth and competitive opportunities.


Before we start talking about each federations benefits and drawbacks, the table below details many of the main differences between each of the 4 Powerlifting federations in New Zealand; The New Zealand Powerlifting Federation, Global Powerlifting Committee NZ, International Powerlifting League NZ and World Powerlifting NZ.


Drug Tested Federations


Certain federations are drug tested, much like other sports (Think Rugby, Netball, Athletics etc). In New Zealand we now have two options for athletes that wish to lift on a drug-free playing field; NZPF & WPNZ.


The New Zealand Powerlifting Federation:


The NZPF is New Zealand's oldest and biggest federation and they are affiliated with the International Powerlifting Federation (The IPF) - The biggest powerlifting organisation in the world, with the most member nations, competitors and biggest meets. NZPF and the IPF are both WADA (World Anti-Doping Authority) affiliated and therefore, all registered lifters may be tested in and out of competition (Whether or not they're in the registered testing pool). World wide, in 2019 over half of the total powerlifting competitors competed with the IPF, or it's affiliates.


The NZPF caters to two divisions of lifting; Raw (Knee Sleeves) and Single-Ply Equipped. Raw accounts for around 98% of competitors in New Zealand. Raw lifting in the NZPF is becoming more and more competitive, especially in the 83 & 93kg men's weight classes and the 63 & 72kg women's weight classes.


The NZPF has been the federation of choice for greats and IPF World Champions such as Brett Gibbs, Derek Pomana and Cathy Millen (To name just a few). On the international front, competing with the NZPF allows athletes that meet certain criteria to compete internationally at a range of events, such as the World Championships, Commonwealth Championships & Oceania Championships.


Competing with the NZPF gives athletes access to supportive regional affiliates (I.E Auckland Powerlifting Association, the Canterbury Powerlifting Association). These affiliates are the ones who organise competitions at the regional level and are usually who you'll initially interact with when you're first getting into Powerlifting.


It's important to know, that if you choose to lift with NZPF that you can't also lift with another organisation (either a federation or unsanctioned event) unless you gain written consent by the National Executive Committee.


New Zealand Powerlifting Federation Website


Current IPF Rankings


In 2019, Taylor Atwood (USA) was ranked the best male lifter in the world, regardless of weight class.