Curling first came to New Zealand with Scottish immigrants in the 1860s. Early settlers in Central Otago and the Mackenzie Country of the South Island found the winter climate ideally suitable to their curling traditions.
In 1873 Thomas Callender, the "father of New Zealand curling", formed the Dunedin Curling Club, the earliest club that still plays today.
The Baxter Cup was first played for in 1884 as the Dunedin Club's points trophy, and it is believed to be the oldest New Zealand sporting trophy still competed for in any sport. It is now awarded to the winner of the Naseby Curling Council's one-day bonspiel.
Curling quickly spread to throughout Central Otago, and was a popular winter activity for the gold miners during the winter. In 1886 the New Zealand Curling Association was established.