Story: Athletics

Rural sports

Rural sports

Organised athletics in New Zealand originated in the 'rural sports' events held at anniversary-day fêtes and other celebratory occasions from the 1840s. Rural sports included events people living in the 21st century would recognise as athletics, including foot races, but also more comical contests such as catching a soapy goose. All these events attracted cash prizes.

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National Library of New Zealand, Papers Past
Reference: New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian, 22 January 1848, p. 2

Permission of the National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

David Colquhoun, 'Athletics - Beginnings', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 June 2024)

Story by David Colquhoun, published 5 Sep 2013, updated 20 Sep 2016