First official Olympic team

The New Zealand Olympic team en route to Antwerp in 1920. Hurdler Harry Wilson is holding the flag. Sprinter George Davidson stands behind him, with swimmer Violet Walrond, our first female Olympian, to his left. Rower Darcy Hadfield is to Violet's left and her father and coach, Tui, stands behind her.

The 1920 team is the only one in New Zealand’s history in which every competitor made a final – a feat unlikely to be equalled again.

New Zealand’s 1920 Olympic team at a Melbourne park en route to Antwerp. The team travelled from Auckland to Wellington by train, then sailed on the Manuka to Sydney, where they boarded the liner Euripides. But the ship was held up for six days in Melbourne and also delayed at Durban. They arrived after nine weeks and five days of travelling – only a couple of days before the opening ceremony.

Fern badge with 'NZ' on it

Violet Walrond's Olympic brooch. Made of silver, she wore it on a tie.


Images: Walrond family collection

How to cite this page: 'First official Olympic team', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 20-Dec-2012

Community contributions

David Mills
22 Mar 2010
George Davidson's mother was my grandmothers sister. I have the same picture of the N.Z olympic team in my possession, also other memorobelia from that time.
Maureen MacDonald
17 Nov 2010
I am the Secretary of Clan Davidson Society in New Zealand and we are very interested in this story which we would like to put in our newsletter and website. Could David please contact me at or phone 04 5772225. Thank you.

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