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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




Although running, jumping, and throwing missiles have been among man's most natural–and necessary–activities since prehistoric times, the modern sport of track and field athletics is surprisingly young, a fact which has enabled New Zealand to be one of the pioneering countries in this sphere. The world's first properly organised athletic meeting was held in England in 1849, and the first national championships, again in England, were in 1866. New Zealand was not far behind, our first championships being held in 1888. A year earlier had been founded the New Zealand Amateur Athletic Association which today shares with the Czechoslovak Association the honour of being the oldest national body in over 100 countries affiliated to the International Amateur Athletic Federation. The oldest club extant in New Zealand is the Wellington A.A.C., which dates from 1875, 25 years after the foundation of the first club in the world, Exeter College A.C., Oxford University. In 1935 the president of that club was our Olympic champion and Rhodes Scholar, J. E. Lovelock, who thus forged another link in the chain of New Zealand's association with the earliest days of modern athletics.


Peter Norman Heidenstrom, Journalist, Wellington.

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