The Kiwis will play at least four tests next year, including a rare trip to Papua New Guinea.

Michael Maguire's team will also face the Kangaroos, though not necessarily in New Zealand, and have a highly anticipated rematch with Tonga.

It's also likely they will have a test against Samoa, if the right venue mix can be found with the other matches.

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When he started in the job 18 months ago, New Zealand Rugby League CEO Greg Peters said one of his key priorities was getting more games for the Kiwis, particularly at home.


The New Zealand team was hardly seen in this country for much of this decade.

From December 2010 to October 2014 they had one test at home, and they weren't in front of a home crowd at all between the 2014 Four Nations and the 2017 World Cup.

Peters was determined to redress that balance, and so far he has delivered.

It's likely the mid-year test against Tonga will be repeated at Mt Smart in 2020, building on the interest shown in the fixture last year.

In principle the Kangaroos are meant to cross the Tasman next year to face the Kiwis, but that game could be in either country, depending on how the financial equations stack up.

The prospect of an away test against the Kumuls is an intriguing one, as it used to be a regular fixture.

The Kiwis toured there four times in the 1980s, including the infamous 1986 trip where they lost for the first and only time to the Kumuls, and another four times in the following decade.

But they haven't made the trek since 1994, and have only played Papua New Guinea three times in the last 23 years.


Plans are also in place for the Kiwi Ferns to have games against Samoa and Australia.

The final verdict is still out on the Oceania Cup, with a disappointing crowd in Hamilton for Great Britain's clash with Tonga last week, but it is worth persevering with.

The event has been overshadowed in this country by the Rugby World Cup, but the concept has great merit.

It has been important for Pacific league, as those countries continue to develop and also helped to build an audience base for the game in this country.

"We wanted to shine a spotlight on the code in New Zealand and that hasn't been done for a long time," said Peters. "It gives us a platform for us to build on for the future, which we haven't had before."