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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.



Professional Athletics

Professional athletics once held sway in New Zealand and produced several famous “pedestrians”, the best known being F. S. Hewitt, who was long credited with a world professional 880 yd record of 1 min 53·5 sec in 1871–75 years before a New Zealand amateur could run as fast. This performance was regarded with amusement by those “in the know”, for the surveyor's chain which was used to measure the distance had been tampered with. Such abuses, added to those inherent or potential in betting practices, could lead only to one result. Today there is a small following for professional athletics, mainly in the South Island, but even the best athletes are scarcely up to provincial amateur class.