Are private schools a better breeding ground than public schools for future sporting success? Well, it depends how you define "better".
When it comes to sporting achievement among the top schools in the country, many public schools have historically done as well as private schools.
However, there are generally greater opportunities for sport in private schools and a growing gap in the resources available between the schooling systems.
To investigate the differences between public and private school sport in New Zealand, the Herald spoke to representatives from college sport organisations around the country about youth sport, private school money and sporting success beyond school.
The Herald's sports writers also compiled a list of the top sporting schools in the country to illustrate the historic sporting achievement between the two schooling systems at high school level, as well as the notable alumni who have gone on to triumph in sport at the world stage.
Public v private: sporting programmes
The main advantage when it comes to sport in private schools is the level of resources, which in turn leads to more opportunities to work with top coaches, access to better sporting facilities and a greater range of sports.
At the same time, participation in sport in private schools is also generally higher, says School Sport Canterbury regional director Bill Grogan.
"I think school and parental expectation accounts for a lot of it. That's my view that obviously parents send their kids to private education for lots of reasons and one of them is sport and the expectation that they'll have an opportunity to participate."
While participation in sport is facilitated through private schools, societal factors like class also contribute to greater participation.
"Some of the private schools do actually strongly encourage kids to get involved in sport, almost to the extent that it's almost compulsory," says College Sport Wellington executive director Bryan Dickinson. "That's one reason. And then it's probably around disposable income and things like that are better for kids in private schools."
Do private schools produce better athletes?
Sporting achievement in private schools tend to also be higher across the board, but single-sex state schools still manage to perform as well, says Grogan.
"Generally they perform at a higher level in the private sector.
"Except for single-sex schools that are not private but in the state system – the boys' highs, the girls' highs, those types of schools – they perform as well as the private schools.
"There are still some outstanding individual kids that go to the other schools. [Private school] is not the sole domain of success."
While private schools are generally better equipped, every school has particular advantages when it comes to certain sports.
"Every school has got its particular strengths or the sports that it does better at and programmes sort of come and go over time," says Dickinson. "As a really good example Mana College in Porirua is doing really well with basketball – they've sort of built a programme up – and their first XV is back in our premier competition.
"So programmes sort of change and evolve over time but generally speaking you do have a group of schools that are always sort of present in those premier competitions.
"When I think about some of our main sports like football and rugby, you got some pretty large public schools like Wellington College who are very strong in there."
Is there too much pressure on youth athletes?
One of the biggest issues in New Zealand sport in recent years has been tackling falling youth participation in sport.
The alarming trend sparked a move from Sport New Zealand to change the culture around youth sport to create an environment that is less competitive, more inclusive and more fun.
Last year, some of the country's largest sporting codes from NZ Rugby to Netball NZ signed a statement of intent to make major changes to the way kids play sport.
"This is actually a campaign about parents and about parents rethinking youth sport," Sport NZ boss Peter Miskimmin said. "Because what we're seeing and what we're hearing from young people is they're not enjoying the experience so much.
"In the surveys we've done with them, what they're saying is they want to have fun and they want to play with their mates.
"There's a sense of too much or over-emphasis on winning – we're not saying winning is not important, just the over-emphasis through adult expectations – and early specialisation (being forced to play one sport and encouraged to) is all a bit of a turn off and kids are walking away from sport."
That new ethos has been picked up by schools around the country, but the issue still remains.
Dickinson believes sporting programmes shouldn't be a factor at all in choosing which school to attend.
"Regardless of where kids go to school for their sport, school sport is not the be all and end all. We want kids to just enjoy their sport.
"There's a whole lot of sport to play and we just want them to have a go at everything and sort of take a little bit of the heat out of the focus on the first XV comp and the first XI comp. It shouldn't matter which school you go to and they've got a lot of time in their late teens and their early 20s to develop their sporting talent."
Dickinson echoed evidence from Sport NZ that sporting talent isn't identifiable at young ages.
"To feature in an under-15 group side is not a determinant on what you're going to achieve in sport later in life. So the focus really needs to be focused on enjoying sport regardless of which school you go to."
"There are parental bullies that think they'll get a better opportunity in those schools for academic and sporting reasons," adds Grogan. "It's not necessarily true but that just seems to be the perception of the community. A number of parents do send kids to schools for those reasons.
"There's a lot of those around the country I can think of who have been given the chance and given the opportunity and succeeded, but it shouldn't be at the expense of the kids' wellbeing or educational opportunities.
"Sporting opportunity is not a desirable reason for kids to be picked to go to private schools."
The top five sporting schools in New Zealand
In narrowing down the top list of schools in the country, the Herald looked at a variety of factors including historic sporting achievement, school sporting facilities and the calibre of athletes in the school's alumni.
Auckland Grammar School (public)
Auckland Grammar is a high school sporting behemoth and holds the title for producing the most All Blacks in the country – and come pretty close to producing the most Black Caps as well. The school has been strong in every sport they've taken seriously over the years from rugby to football.
Notable alumni: Jeff and Martin Crowe (cricket), Grant Fox (rugby), Doug Howlett (rugby), Akira and Rieko Ioane (rugby), Jimmy Neesham (cricket), Matthew Ridge (rugby and league), Hamish Carter (triathlon)
Christchurch Boys' High School (public)
Christchurch Boys' has produced the second-most All Blacks and a ton of Black Caps. They've been a perennially strong sporting school and a constant in top school competitions in several sports.
Notable alumni: Barry, Dayle and Richard Hadlee (cricket), Dan Carter (rugby), Andrew Mehrtens (rugby), Aaron Mauger (rugby), Paul Coll (squash)
St Kentigern College (private)
St Kent's is the chequebook giants and the new force in school sport. The school boasts one of the best sporting facilities in the country. It is arguably the school that has most embraced using sport as a marketing tool to attract fee-paying students. In recent times, it has incited a lot of fear and loathing from other schools, especially around its poaching practices in first XV rugby.
Notable alumni: Joe Rokocoko (rugby), John Afoa (rugby), Jerome Kaino (rugby), Grant Dalton (sailing), Jordan Hunter (basketball), Etene Nanai-Seturo (rugby)
St Peter's School, Cambridge (private)
St Peter's has unrivalled access to incredible facilities from an equestrian centre to Cycling NZ's high-performance centre and national velodrome. It also has a boathouse at Lake Karapiro and a golf academy. St Peter's isn't as feared as St Kent's, but probably because they haven't won as much yet.
Notable alumni: Sam Perry (swimmer), Stuart Farquhar (athletics), Rushlee Buchanan (cycling)
Mount Albert Grammar School (public)
MAGS was a strong single-sex school in sport and now an even stronger co-ed school. It has several sporting academies and has always historically been one of the top sporting schools in the country.
Notable alumni: Maria Folau (netball), Sonny Bill Williams (rugby and league), Bryan Williams (rugby), Peter Snell (athletics), Jack Goodhue (rugby)
Hamilton Boys' High School (public)
Hamilton Boys' has long been a rugby powerhouse and excels in many other sports too.
Notable alumni: Daryl Halligan (league), Warren Gatland (rugby), Scott Styris (cricket), Dick Quax (athletics), Mitchell Santner (cricket)
King's College (private)
King's specialises in a range of mainstream and less traditional sports, and boasts first-class sporting facilities.
Notable alumni: Ian Kirkpatrick (rugby), Tim Southee (cricket), Ali Williams (rugby), Rob Waddell (rowing)
Wellington College (public)
The biggest and best sporting school in the Wellington area with a strong football programme.
Notable alumni: Marc Ellis (rugby), Tom Blundell (cricket), Lima Sopoaga (rugby), Leo Bertos (football), Simon Elliott (football), Dane Coles (rugby)
Tauranga Boys' College (public)
TBC has emerged in recent years as one of the strongest producers of top athletes in the country and currently has three old boys as captains of New Zealand teams: Sam Cane (All Blacks), Kane Williamson (Black Caps) and Peter Burling (Team New Zealand).
Notable alumni: Sam Cane (rugby), Kane Williamson (cricket), Peter Burling (sailing), Mahé Drysdale (rower), Sam Meech (sailing)
Rangi Ruru Girls' School (private)
A rowing powerhouse and a top school for girls' sport.
Notable alumni: Sophie Devine (cricket), Eve MacFarlane (rowing)
Epsom Girls' Grammar School (public)
One of the best schools for girls' sport.
Notable alumni: Jean Spencer (gymnastics), Annalie Longo (football)