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Events In History

6 August 2012

Valerie Adams won gold in the shot put at the London Olympic Games. It was awarded a week after the competition, when the intial winner was disqualified for testing positive for an anabolic steroid.

8 September 2008

At the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 15-year-old Sophie Pascoe won her first medal, a silver in the women's 100m butterfly S10. She went on to win gold medals in 100m backstroke S10, 100m breaststroke SB9 and 200m individual medley SM10. 

16 August 2008

While Kiwis had high expectations of their rowing squad at the Beijing Olympics, few expected identical twins Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell to successfully defend the double sculls title they had won in Athens in 2004.

2 August 1992

Windsurfer Barbara Kendall was New Zealand’s only gold medallist at the Barcelona Olympics.

31 July 1976

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

2 September 1972

In 2008 the well-known sports writer Joseph Romanos chose the victory of the 1972 rowing eight as the best team performance by New Zealanders at an Olympic Games.

21 October 1964

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.

2 September 1960

New Zealand sport enjoyed one of its greatest days in Rome’s Olympic Stadium. Peter Snell won the 800 m and Murray Halberg won the 5000 m.

20 February 1954

Eighteen months after winning the long jump at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Williams set a new world record of 20 feet 7½ inches (6.29 m) at an athletics meeting in Gisborne.

23 July 1952

Yvette Williams (later Corlett) won the long jump to become New Zealand’s first female Olympic medallist.

6 August 1936

Jack Lovelock won New Zealand’s first Olympic athletics gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics in a race witnessed by 120,000 spectators – including Adolf Hitler.

7 July 1924

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.

23 August 1920

Violet Waldron was New Zealand’s first female Olympian, and part of New Zealand’s first Olympic team of four. She competed in freestyle swimming in the 1920 Antwerp Summer Olympics.


Sport, 1940-1960

The mid-century decades brought more mass participation in sport, the consolidation of many national competitions, and greater achievement at international level. Read the full article

Page 2 - Lydiard's legacy

The cult of masculinity had one positive spin-off: Arthur Lydiard. A runner of iron will but limited natural ability, he discovered that as he ran further he got fitter.

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 the

1981 Springbok tour

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. Read the full article

Page 5 - Gleneagles Agreement

The All Blacks accepted an invitation to tour South Africa in 1976, when world attention was fixed on the republic because of the Soweto

1987 Rugby World Cup

In a country where rugby became a surrogate for religion, hosting and then 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. Read the full article

Page 2 - Origins of international rugby

Before the 1987 Rugby World Cup and the professional era, rugby prided itself on extolling the virtues of friendly rivalry.

The Olympics: 1908–2021

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. Read the full article

Page 1 - The Olympics: 1908–2021

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

Page 2 - NZ's Olympic history

Page 3 - 16 Olympic stories

Page 4 - Further information

The 1920s

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. Read the full article

Page 3 - 1920 - key events

A selection of key New Zealand events from

Rowing in New Zealand

The 2010 World Rowing Championships was the third major international rowing event to be held at Lake Karāpiro in Waikato. Find out about earlier events and other fascinating stories from New Zealand's rich rowing past. Read the full article

Page 6 - Olympic medallists

Olympic rowing medals won by New Zealanders