Events In History
16 August 2008Evers-Swindell twins defend Olympic rowing title at Beijing
Few expected blond identical twins Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell to successfully defend the double sculls title they had won in Athens in 2004. Read more...
2 August 1992Barbara Kendall wins gold at Barcelona
Barbara Kendall became the sole New Zealand gold medallist at the Olympic Games in Barcelona when she won the windsurfing competition. Read more...
31 July 1976John Walker wins gold in Montreal
Following in the footsteps of Jack Lovelock and Peter Snell, Walker won gold in the Olympic 1500 m. Black African nations boycotted the Games in protest at the All Blacks' tour of South Africa Read more...
2 September 1972New Zealand’s rowing eight win gold in Munich
In 2008 well-known sports writer Joseph Romanos chose the victory of the 1972 rowing eight as the best team performance by New Zealanders at the Olympics. Read more...
21 October 1964Peter Snell wins second gold in Tokyo
Snell had successfully defended his 800-m title earlier at the Tokyo Olympics and completed the coveted middle-distance double with gold in the 1500 m. Fellow Kiwi John Davies won bronze. Read more...
2 September 1960Golden day for Kiwi runners in Rome
It was arguably New Zealand's greatest day at the Olympics. Peter Snell won gold in the 800 m and Murray Halberg followed up 30 minutes later to win the 5000 m, completing a remarkable track double in Rome's Olympic Stadium. Read more...
20 February 1954Yvette Williams sets world long jump record
Eighteen months after winning the long jump gold medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Williams set a new world record of 20 feet 7 1/2 inches (6.29 m) at an athletics meeting in Gisborne. Read more...
23 July 1952Yvette Williams leaps for gold at Helsinki
New Zealand's first female Olympic medallist, Yvette Williams (now Corlett) won gold in the long jump with an Olympic-record leap of 6.24 m (20 feet 5 and 3/4 inches). Read more...
6 August 1936Lovelock wins 1500-m gold at Berlin
Jack Lovelock won New Zealand's first Olympic athletics gold medal before Adolf Hitler and a crowd of 110,000 at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He led the 1500-m field home in a world record time of 3:47.8. Read more...
7 July 1924'Tom Watson' wins bronze for New Zealand
The character in the Academy Award-winning film Chariots of fire (1981) was based on Arthur Porritt, who won a bronze medal for New Zealand in the 100 m at the 1924 Paris Olympics. Read more...
In 2012 the Olympic Games returned to London, the city where New Zealand's Olympic story began in 1908. Kiwi athletes have produced plenty of memorable moments over the years, but the Summer Games have also been marred by boycotts, controversy and tragedy.
Page 2 – NZ's first Olympic century
In 2012 the Olympic Games were held to London, the city where New Zealand's Olympic story began in 1908.
Page 3 – 16 Olympic stories
We've created a story for each day of the Olympic Games: NZ Olympic pioneers (1908) Distance and money prevented New Zealanders from competing at the first three modern
Page 4 – Further information
This web feature was written and produced by the NZHistory.net.nz team, with the assistance of David Green and Carl Walrond. Links
The mid-century decades brought more mass participation in sport, the consolidation of many national competitions, and greater achievement at international level.
Page 3 – Women's sport, 1940-60
Women's sport matured in New Zealand after 1945. Mass participation in a period of prosperity, and increased mobility thanks to the now-common motor car, were crucial
Page 4 – Competitors and spectators
Sports participation and spectatorship were the only daytime leisure activities to rival home-centred pursuits such as gardening in this period. New Zealand's hosting of
In a country where rugby is often referred to as a religion, hosting and winning the first Rugby World Cup was a big deal. The story of how the tournament came about mixes the worlds of sport, politics and money.
- Page 2 - Origins of international rugbyBefore the 1987 Rugby World Cup and the professional era, rugby prided itself on extolling the virtues of friendly rivalry.
For 56 days in July, August and September 1981, New Zealanders were divided against each other in the largest civil disturbance seen since the 1951 waterfront dispute. The cause of this was the visit of the South African rugby team – the Springboks.
- Page 5 - Gleneagles AgreementThe All Blacks accepted an invitation to tour South Africa in 1976, when world attention was firmly fixed on the republic because of the Soweto
The 1920s was the decade that modern New Zealand came of age. Despite political and economic uncertainty, the country shrugged off the gloom of war to embrace the Jazz Age - an era of speed, power and glamour. Explore an overview of the decade and a year-by-year breakdown of key events.
- Page 3 - 1920 - key eventsA selection of key New Zealand events from
The 2010 World Rowing Championships was the third major international rowing event to be held at Lake Karapiro in Waikato. Find out about earlier events and other fascinating stories from New Zealand's rich rowing past.
- Page 6 - Olympic medalistsOlympic rowing medals won by New Zealanders
Williams, Yvette Winifred
The sports writer Peter Heidenstrom rated Yvette Williams as his 'New Zealand Athlete of the Century'. There is no doubt that she was one of our greatest-ever athletes - and probably the most versatile.Read more...
Lovelock, John Edward
One of our greatest athletes, Berlin Olympic gold medallist Jack Lovelock led a remarkably full life before his tragic death in 1949, just a few days shy of his 40th birthday.Read more...
Walker, John George
John Walker is one of New Zealand's track heroes. His athletic career was punctuated by memorable performances and noted for its longevityRead more...
Mander, Peter Garth
One of our most successful yachtsmen, Peter Mander won 16 national titles in eight different design classes between 1945 and 1985, and in 1956 won New Zealand's first yachting Olympic gold medal.Read more...
Lydiard, Arthur Leslie
Arthur Lydiard was a marathon runner and athletics coach, whose most notable trainees included Olympic and Commonwealth Games champions.Read more...
Ted Morgan was a boxer and a plumber, and was the first New Zealander to win an Olympic gold medal.Read more...
Read, Norman Richard
Norman Read was an Olympic gold medal-winning race walker who helped to popularise the sport in New Zealand.Read more...
- peter mander
- yvette williams
- norman read
- ted morgan
- arthur porritt
- marathon running
- arthur lydiard
- anthony wilding
- peter snell
- jack lovelock
- famous firsts
- john walker
- commonwealth games
- whanganui city
- murray halberg
- violet walrond
- gwitha shand
- south africa
- robert muldoon
- gleneagles agreement