Amelia Kerr: A White Fern’s Wellington First XI
Amelia Kerr, international cricket star and Wellingtonian, shares her eleven favourite things about Aotearoa’s capital
At just 21 years old, Amelia Kerr is one of the biggest superstars in women’s cricket. A White Fern and member of the capital’s Blaze cricket team, Amelia’s CV is already full of achievements and records.
Amelia was only 13 when she first scored a century at the Basin Reserve, while playing for Tawa College's first XI, making her the youngest player to do so at the ground. She also holds the record for the highest individual score in women's ODIs (232).
Amelia shares her “Wellington First XI” – the eleven things she loves most about the Wellington region. Turns out (besides cricket) she loves the water, good books, and good coffee.
1. Te Papa Tongarewa
“It’s amazing that it’s free entry at Te Papa. I think that’s so cool for families. It’s a great way to entertain kids, there’s just so much to do or look at.” The exhibition that moved her the most was Gallipoli: The scale of our war. She says seeing the giant sculptures, made by Wētā Workshop, was quite overwhelming. “The detail of the people is amazing. You can see their pain. It’s amazing how they’ve done that. It’s emotional, and it tells a story as well.”
2. Fort Ballance
Amelia likes exploring interesting places, especially ones that are not so well-known, like Fort Ballance. The former coastal artillery battery is high up on Point Gordon on Miramar Peninsula and was built in 1885 to protect New Zealand from naval attacks. “They were used back in the day, in the war, because it looks out over the water, so you can see ships coming in.” Amelia likes that it’s quite an isolated place, with great views, an interesting history, and cool graffiti.
3. The Library
For a girl’s night out, Amelia likes to get dressed up and head to The Library, which she describes as classic and classy. Her drink of choice will have elderflower in it and if she’s lucky there’ll be live music, probably jazz. Amelia says a bonus of The Library’s location on Courtenay Place is the Little Waffle Shop just below – a hot waffle is the perfect way to end a good night out.
4. Oriental Bay
When she was younger Amelia wanted to be a marine biologist. “I’ve always loved the ocean. At primary school I’d read any books I could find about dolphins or beluga whales. I’d watch all those David Attenborough documentaries too. But I can’t look at a picture of a shark – I’m petrified of them.” Despite this fear, Amelia loves swimming in the sea, and Oriental Bay is one of her favourite spots. “I love being in the water, it makes me feel so much better. It feels very freeing.” Willow, Amelia’s two-year-old golden retriever, is a (mostly) willing beach companion. “She’s pretty excitable and likes to dabble, but I think she’s a bit scared of the water.”
5. Raglan Roast
The vintage look, the chill vibes, and the great coffee are what keep Amelia going back to Raglan Roast. “I like how it’s not flash, there’s just random stuff everywhere. Like the dolphins. My favourite animal is the dolphin and there are a bunch of them dotted all around.” She feels comfortable at the Abel Smith St coffee shop and will happily go alone, grab a flat white, and read her book.
6. Unity Books
Amelia absolutely loves reading, and Unity Books on Willis St is her go-to bookshop. “There’s a huge range there. They pretty much have every book.” Amelia’s taste is varied but she’s particularly keen on autobiographies, self-help books, and books around Māori culture. She’s currently reading Aroha: Māori Wisdom for a Contented Life Lived in Harmony with Our Planet by Dr Hinemoa Elder. “It’s about the Māori way of living life. Each chapter has a whakataukī and the author writes about what it means to her, and how it connects with nature. It’s quite an easy read and it’s interesting.”
7. Titahi Bay
Amelia is an advocate for talking about and prioritising your mental health. She has regular check-ins with a psychologist and has taken time out from sport to focus on her mental health. A technique Amelia’s learned to help deal with anxiety or stress is to go to, or at least think about, a place she feels safe. For her, that’s Titahi Bay, her “favourite place on Earth”.
Just 4km from the centre of Porirua, Titahi Bay is a beautiful, sheltered beach. “Next to the beach there’s a walk along some cliffs that look over the water and out towards Mana Island. There are some beautiful views.” Amelia’s family live nearby, so she often enjoys the walk and then pops down to the beach. “I like taking my younger cousins there to explore the rocks or have a swim.”
8. Carlucci Land
According to Amelia, the Carlucci Land mini-golf course in Wellington’s Happy Valley is more challenging than most. “At this course I struggle with every hole,” she laughs. “If you get it wrong, you get it wrong, and you’re on ten shots before you know it.” Amelia admits she’s a competitive person (well, what would you expect from a top athlete?) and loves to go with her cousins for a bit of old fashion family rivalry.
Amelia always feels welcome at Prefab. “I feel like it’s a place where a lot of people connect. It’s definitely a spot where all the cricketers hang out.” Amelia praises the staff, the music, and the food. “They change up their menu in summer and winter, but the salads are always good. I like the open space too. If there’s sun I’ll sit outside, I’m very much a summery person.”
10. Fix and Fogg
“I absolutely love peanut butter,” says Amelia. Her favourite? It’s a tie between Fix & Fogg’s Everything Butter or their Smoke and Fire Peanut Butter. A couple of years ago Amelia was quite sick and went to a functional nutritionist. It turned out that peanuts are one of the things that inflame her body. “I used to have it every day and then for about six months or a year I had barely any peanut butter. I still had a little bit. It’s the one food I can’t give up.”
11. Basin Reserve
“I’m probably biased because I’m a Wellingtonian, but I love the Basin,” says Amelia. Wellington’s Basin Reserve is Amelia’s home ground, and she says it’s definitely her favourite cricket ground. “It’s good to play at. It’s generally a good wicket to bat on and a fast outfield.” She also likes the scenery, the banks you can sit on to watch a game, the Pōhutukawa trees, and the changing rooms.
Why the changing rooms? “They’re special. There are honours boards up for both men and women. And they’re big.” They’re also the first gender neutral changing rooms at a New Zealand sports ground. As a host of the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2022, the Basin’s changing rooms have been upgraded to a standard befitting the world's best players – male or female.