It’s Not (Just) Cricket
Archaeology of Cricket Buckles in 19th Century New Zealand
Metal belt buckles featuring cricket motifs were popular in New Zealand and other British Empire territories during the mid-late 19th century, especially among military personnel and those associated with military redoubts. These buckles were also popular in the United Kingdom and Australia during the late 1850s to the 1870s. The military links with cricket helped spread the sport across New Zealand, with Imperial soldiers playing a crucial role in its early development. The popularity of cricket merchandise, including belts with elaborate buckles, was reflected in newspaper advertisements from the 1860s-1880s. These advertisements track the sport's popularity and the development of retail availability for the belts in New Zealand and Australia during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The passion for cricket reflected in military, sports, and merchandising was intertwined with the colonial and settler ideologies of the late British Empire.