1974 British Commonwealth Games

The 1974 British Commonwealth Games (Māori: 1974 Taumāhekeheke Commonwealth[citation needed]) was held in Christchurch, New Zealand from 24 January to 2 February 1974. The bid vote was held in Edinburgh at the 1970 British Commonwealth Games. The event was officially named "the friendly games". There were 1,276 competitors and 372 officials, according to the official history, and public attendance was excellent. The main venue was the QEII Park, purpose-built for this event. The Athletics Stadium and fully covered Olympic standard pool, diving tank, and practice pools were all on the one site. The theme song was "Join Together", sung by Steve Allen. The event was held after the 1974 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games in Dunedin for wheelchair athletes.

X British Commonwealth Games
Host cityChristchurch, New Zealand
Events121 events in 10 sports
Opening24 January 1974
Closing2 February 1974
Opened byPrince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Queen's Baton Final RunnerSylvia Potts
Main venueQEII Park
← IX
XI →

Host selection edit

1974 Commonwealth Games bidding results
City Round 1
  Christchurch 36
  Melbourne 2

Preparation edit

Security edit

The event was the first large international athletic event after the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The Athletes Village, the Student accommodation of the University of Canterbury, was temporarily fenced in and guarded for the duration of the games. Only official vehicles and persons were allowed into sensitive areas around the venues.


The logo was the second (after Edinburgh) to be protected and trademarked,[1] and set a design benchmark which was echoed in the logos of the next five games. The logo was designed by Wellington designer Colin Simons as the result of a design competition, and posters were designed by Bret de Thier.[2]

In recent years the logo has been regarded as one of New Zealand's iconic symbols, being reproduced on clothing and elsewhere.[3][4]

Venues edit

Opening ceremony edit

Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Anne, Princess Royal and Charles, Prince of Wales in attendance at the Games

The opening ceremony was held in the mid afternoon, with Prince Philip as the attending royal. A fanfare announced the guard of honour by the New Zealand Defence Forces, inspected by Prince Philip. This was followed by the raising of flags of the past, present, and future hosts. God Save the Queen was sung. The field was then invaded by 2500 school children in red, white and blue rain slicks all forming in the centre to create the NZ74 symbol. The official promotional song, 'Join Together', composed especially for the games by Steve Allen, was performed by a mass choir, as well as 'What the world needs now is love'.[6] A Māori concert group then performed action songs and a haka, before the teams march past. The athletes then took the oath and Sylvia Potts, the runner who fell mere meters from a gold medal finish in the 1970 Games, entered the stadium with the Queen's Baton. It was presented to Prince Philip who read the message from the Queen declaring the 1974 Christchurch 10th British Commonwealth Games open. The Commonwealth flag was then marched in and hauled up with a 21-gun salute.

Broadcasting edit

The Games were also an important milestone in New Zealand television, marking the introduction of colour television. However, due to the NZBC's limited colour facilities, only athletics, swimming, and boxing could be broadcast in colour.

Meanwhile, paralleling the television coverage, the National Film Unit produced Games '74, a feature-length documentary of the Christchurch games (and the many events) in full colour. This has since been restored and is available on DVD.

Legacy edit

Economic aspects edit

Elizabeth II at a medal ceremony

Christchurch was (and still is) the smallest city to host the modern televised Commonwealth Games.[citation needed] This was the first games that tried using the "Olympic" look with a standard colour scheme for facilities, passes, flags, stationery, and above all uniforms (which wearers only borrowed, but could buy outright as a memento thus helping keep costs down).

Its striking NZ74 design logo is now a well used (sometimes illegally) symbol of New Zealand as a nation and Christchurch as a city. It is still copyright owned by Christchurch City Council but is allowed for free use unless for commercial gain. Badges, lapels, stationery and postcards are still in re-manufactured circulation.

This was also the first time that a city had asked the Games Federation to allow commercial advertising. This was voted down as the Federation feared that advertising by big corporations would remove focus away from the amateur ethos of the Games. As no commercial hoardings were allowed, Christchurch got around this with the use of "sponsorship", one example being General Motors providing a lease fleet of Holden HQ Kingswood sedans that would be sold off after the games. The cars are now sought after by private and museum collectors and have depreciated little in value. Air New Zealand allowed large NZ74 symbols to be placed on the fuselage sides of the airline's brand new McDonnell Douglas DC-10s, giving free advertising around the world. This in itself set a trend since with airlines vying to be "official airline" of a particular event.

Although the Games themselves were a success, making a then sizable profit of $500,000, the "sponsorship" was nowhere near enough. The City of Christchurch was left with a financial facilities management debt (QEII Park) of what would be in today's (2016) amount of NZ$120 million. This deterred the city from hosting major events until 1990 when the government stepped in with lotteries funding to clear the remaining debt. By then, Auckland's 1990 games had been fully commercialized.

Queen Elizabeth II Park The most visible facility left behind by the 1974 Commonwealth Games was the purpose-built stadium and swimming complex. For a few years after, the stadium was a popular destination for sports and leisure patrons who were well indulged in first class facilities. However the costs of maintaining the complex grew over time and soon other additions included hydro-slides and fun park outside on the large grassed area that was once the race course. Christchurch City Council, the owner of the complex continued to develop the ground and for five years from 1990, allowed the Canterbury Greyhound Club to run a track on the inner oval. The main swimming pool was adapted so it could be decked over for Basketball and Netball. Football and Rugby League returned to the stadium in 1995 on a more permanent basis and a minor refurbishment of the track saw athletics events become a main summer event again. Early plans for a hosting of the 2022 Commonwealth Games were in hand when the September 2010 earthquake of around 7.1 hit near Christchurch and damaged the facility. Assessors immediately reported that the damage was repairable and could be covered by insurance. The swimming pools were drained to await repair when the more devastating 22 February 2011 earthquake struck Christchurch, damaging the entire facility, already weakened, beyond economic repair. After laying abandoned for three years, the stadium was demolished and by 2016 the ground stabilized in preparation of more economical facilities and a connecting high school.

Robin Tait receives his gold medal from Anne, Princess Royal

Future 2026/2030 Bids proposals As a rebuilding legacy, there have been calls for Christchurch to bid for the new style Commonwealth Games that allow a core central city to host a more nationwide event. This has been seen as a more economical format for smaller cities, and countries to host what had become an expensive event for a singular city to host.

Precedents set edit

While the opening ceremony was a regimented and very formal affair, the late afternoon closing ceremony was anything but. This set a precedent for other closing ceremonies since then. With the formalities out of the way, the handing over of the flag to representatives of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the athletes broke ranks and ran amok, much to the delight of the packed stadium and the Queen herself. A flypast of the then Red Checkers RNZAF display team brought the ceremony to a close as the Queen and Prince Philip did a lap of honour around the stadium and departed.

The youngest competitor at the games was New Zealander Rebecca Perrott, 1212; swimming for Fiji at the games, as her father was Registrar at the University of the South Pacific.[7]

Participating teams edit

Participating countries

38 teams were represented at the 1974 Games.
(Teams competing for the first time are shown in bold).

Participating Commonwealth countries and territories

Medals by country edit

  *   Host nation (New Zealand)

1  Australia (AUS)29282582
2  England (ENG)28312180
3  Canada (CAN)25191862
4  New Zealand (NZL)*981835
5  Kenya (KEN)72918
6  India (IND)48315
7  Scotland (SCO)351119
8  Nigeria (NGR)33410
9  Northern Ireland (NIR)3126
10  Uganda (UGA)2439
11  Jamaica (JAM)2103
12  Wales (WAL)15410
13  Ghana (GHA)1359
14  Zambia (ZAM)1113
15  Malaysia (MAS)1034
16  Tanzania (TAN)1012
17  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG)1001
18  Trinidad and Tobago (TRI)0112
  Western Samoa (WSM)0112
20  Singapore (SIN)0011
Totals (21 entries)121121132374

Medals by event edit

Athletics edit

Badminton edit

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Men's Singles Men   Punch Gunalan   Jamie Paulson   Derek Talbot
Men's Doubles Men   Elliot Stuart & Derek Talbot   Ray Stevens & Mike Tredgett   Punch Gunalan & Dominic Soong
Women's Singles Women   Gillian Gilks (Perrin)   Margaret Beck   Sylvia Ng
Women's Doubles Women   Margaret Beck & Gillian Gilks   Margaret Boxall & Sue Whetnall   Rosalind Singha Ang & Sylvia Ng
Mixed Doubles Mixed   Derek Talbot & Gillian Gilks   Paul Whetnall & Nora Gardner   Elliot Stuart & Sue Whetnall

Bowls edit

Boxing edit

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Light Flyweight Men   Stephen Muchoki   James Odwori   Syed Abdul Kadir
  John Bambrick
Flyweight Men   Davy Larmour   Chandra Narayanan   Saliu Ishola
  John Byaruhanga
Bantamweight Men   Patrick Cowdell   Ali Rojo   Newton Chisanga
  Isaac Maina
Featherweight Men   Eddie Ndukwu   Shadrack Odhiambo   Dale Anderson
  Samuel Mbugua
Lightweight Men   Ayub Kalule   Kayin Amah   Muniswami Venu
  Robert Colley
Light Welterweight Men   Obisia Nwankpa   Anthony Martey   Philip Mathenge
  James Douglas
Welterweight Men   Mohamed Muruli   Errol McKenzie   John Rodgers
  Steve Cooney
Light Middleweight Men   Lottie Mwale   Alex Harrison   Lance Revill
  Robert Davies
Middleweight Men   Frankie Lucas   Julius Luipa   Carl Speare
  Les Rackley
Light Heavyweight Men   Bill Knight   William Byrne   Gordon Ferris
  Isaac Ikhouria
Heavyweight Men   Neville Meade   Fatai Ayinla   Benson Masanda
  Vai Samu

Cycling edit

Track edit

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Time Trial Men   Dick Paris 00:01:12   John Nicholson 00:01:12   Ian Hallam 00:01:12
Sprint Men   John Nicholson   Xavier Mirander   Ian Atherly
Individual Pursuit Men   Ian Hallam 00:05:05   Willi Moore 00:05:12   Gary Sutton 00:05:09
Team Pursuit Men   Mick Bennett, Rik Evans, Ian Hallam & Willi Moore 00:04:41   Murray Hall, Kevin Nichols, Garry Reardon & Gary Sutton 00:04:49   Paul Brydon, René Heyde, Russell Nant & Blair Stockwell overtook
10 Miles Scratch Men   Steve Heffernan 00:20:51   Murray Hall 00:20:52   Ian Hallam 00:20:52
Tandem Men   Geoffrey Cooke & Ernest Crutchlow 10.74   John Rush & Danny O'Neil   Paul Medhurst & Philip Harland

Road edit

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Road Race Men   Clyde Sefton 05:07:17   Phil Griffiths 05:07:46   Remo Sansonetti 05:17:27

Diving edit

Shooting edit

Pistol edit

Event Gold Silver Bronze
50m Free Pistol Men/Open   Jules Sobrian 549   Norman Harrison 549   Laszlo Antal 543
25m Rapid-Fire Pistol Men/Open   William Hare 586   Jules Sobrian 583   Bruce McMillan 581

Rifle edit

Event Gold Silver Bronze
50m Rifle Prone Men/Open   Yvonne Gowland 594   Bill Watkins 591   Alister Allan 591
Full Bore Rifle Men/Open   Maurie Gordon 387.26   Colin McEachran 386.27   James Spaight 383.35

Shotgun edit

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Trap Men/Open   John Primrose 196   Brian Bailey 193   Philip Lewis 191
Skeet Men/Open   Harry Willsie 194   Joe Neville 191   Robin Bailey 189

Swimming edit

Men's events
Event Gold Silver Bronze
100 m freestyle   Michael Wenden (AUS) 52.73   Bruce Robertson (CAN) 53.78   Brian Phillips (CAN) 54.11
200 m freestyle   Steve Badger (AUS) 1:56.72   Bruce Robertson (CAN) 1:57.21   Michael Wenden (AUS) 1:57.83
400 m freestyle   John Kulasalu (AUS) 4:01.44   Brad Cooper (AUS) 4:02.12   Steve Badger (AUS) 4:04.07
1500 m freestyle   Steve Holland (AUS) 15:34.73   Mark Treffers (NZL) 15:59.82   Steve Badger (AUS) 16:22.23
100 m backstroke   Mark Tonelli (AUS) 59.65   Steve Pickell (CAN) 59.88   Brad Cooper (AUS) 1:00.17
200 m backstroke   Brad Cooper (AUS) 2:06.31   Mark Tonelli (AUS) 2:09.47   Robert Williams (AUS) 2:09.83
100 m breaststroke   David Leigh (ENG) 1:06.52   David Wilkie (SCO) 1:07.37   Paul Naisby (ENG) 1:08.52
200 m breaststroke   David Wilkie (SCO) 2:24.42   David Leigh (ENG) 2:24.75   Paul Naisby (ENG) 2:27.36
100 m butterfly   Neil Rogers (AUS) 56.58   Byron MacDonald (CAN) 56.83   Bruce Robertson (CAN) 56.84
200 m butterfly   Brian Brinkley (ENG) 2:04.51   Ross Seymour (AUS) 2:06.64   John Coutts (NZL) 2:07.03
200 m individual medley   David Wilkie (SCO) 2:10.11   Brian Brinkley (ENG) 2:12.73   Gary MacDonald (CAN) 2:12.98
400 m individual medley   Mark Treffers (NZL) 4:35.90   Brian Brinkley (ENG) 4:41.29   Raymond Terrell (ENG) 4:42.94
4×100 m freestyle relay   Canada (CAN)
Brian Phillips
Bruce Robertson
Gary MacDonald
Ian MacKenzie
3:33.79   Australia (AUS)
Michael Wenden
Neil Rogers
Peter Coughlan
Ross Patterson
3:34.26   England (ENG)
Brian Brinkley
Colin Cunningham
Keith Walton
Raymond Terrell
4×200 m freestyle relay   Australia (AUS)
John Kulasalu
Michael Wenden
Robert Nay
Steve Badger
7:50.13   England (ENG)
Brian Brinkley
Colin Cunningham
Neil Dexter
Raymond Terrell
7:52.90   Canada (CAN)
Bruce Robertson
Gary MacDonald
Ian MacKenzie
Jim Fowlie
4×100 m medley relay   Canada (CAN)
Brian Phillips
Bruce Robertson
Steve Pickell
William Mahony
3:52.93   Australia (AUS)
Mark Tonelli
Michael Wenden
Neil Rogers
Nigel Cluer
3:55.76   England (ENG)
Brian Brinkley
Colin Cunningham
David Leigh
Stephen Nash
Women's events
Event Gold Silver Bronze
100 m freestyle   Sonya Gray 59.13   Gail Amundrud 59.36   Judy Wright 59.46
200 m freestyle   Sonya Gray 2:04.27   Jenny Turrall 2:06.90   Gail Amundrud 2:07.03
400 m freestyle   Jenny Turrall 4:22.09   Wendy Quirk 4:22.96   Jaynie Parkhouse 4:23.09
800 m freestyle   Jaynie Parkhouse 8:58.49   Jenny Turrall 8:58.53   Rosemary Milgate 8:58.59
100 m backstroke   Wendy Cook 1:06.37   Donna-Marie Gurr 1:06.55   Linda Young 1:07.52
200 m backstroke   Wendy Cook 2:20.37   Sandra Yost 2:22.07   Donna-Marie Gurr 2:23.74
100 m breaststroke   Christine Gaskell 1:16.42   Marian Stuart 1:16.61   Sandra Dickie 1:17.17
200 m breaststroke   Pat Beavan 2:43.11   Beverley Whitfield 2:43.58   Allison Smith 2:45.08
100 m butterfly   Patti Stenhouse 1:05.38   Kim Wickham 1:05.96   Sandra Yost 1:06.04
200 m butterfly   Sandra Yost 2:20.57   Patti Stenhouse 2:20.66   Gail Neall 2:21.66
200 m individual medley   Leslie Cliff 2:24.13   Becky Smith 2:25.17   Susan Hunter 2:26.18
400 m individual medley   Leslie Cliff 5:01.35   Becky Smith 5:03.68   Susan Hunter 5:07.20
4 × 100 m freestyle relay  
Anne Jardin
Becky Smith
Gail Amundrud
Judy Wright
Debra Cain
Jennifer Turrall
Sonya Gray
Suzy Anderson
Alyson Jones
Avis Willington
Lesley Allardice
Susan Edmondson
4 × 100 m medley relay  
Gail Amundrud
Marian Stuart
Patti Stenhouse
Wendy Cook
Beverley Whitfield
Debra Cain
Linda Young
Sonya Gray
Gillian Fordyce
Kim Wickham
Morag McGlashan
Sandra Dickie

Weightlifting edit

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Flyweight – Overall Men   Precious McKenzie (ENG) 215   Anil Mondal (IND) 200   John McNiven (SCO) 192.5
Bantamweight – Overall Men   Michael Adams (AUS) 222.5   Yves Carignan (CAN) 212.5   Shanmug Velliswamy (IND) 212.5
Featherweight – Overall Men   George Vasiliades (AUS) 237.5   Gerald Hay (AUS) 235   Brian Duffy (NZL) 232.5
Lightweight – Overall Men   George Newton (ENG) 260   Ieuan Owen (WAL) 255   Bruce Cameron (NZL) 252.5
Middleweight – Overall Men   Tony Ebert (NZL) 275   Stanley Bailey (TRI) 275   Robert Wrench (WAL) 270
Light Heavyweight – Overall Men   Tony Ford (ENG) 302.5   Paul Wallwork (SAM) 300   Mike Pearman (ENG) 292.5
Middle Heavyweight – Overall Men   Nicolo Ciancio (AUS) 330   Brian Marsden (NZL) 315   Steve Wyatt (AUS) 310
Heavyweight – Overall Men   Russ Prior (CAN) 352.5   John Bolton (NZL) 340   Rory Barrett (NZL) 320
Super Heavyweight – Overall Men   Graham May (NZL) 342.5   Andy Kerr (ENG) 337.5   Terry Perdue (WAL) 330

Wrestling edit

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Light Flyweight Men   Mitchell Kawasaki (CAN)   Wally Koenig (AUS)   Radhey Shyam (IND)
Flyweight Men   Sudesh Kumar (IND)   Gordon Bertie (CAN)   John Navie (AUS)
Bantamweight Men   Prem Nath (IND)   Amrik Singh Gill (ENG)   Kevin Burke (AUS)
Featherweight Men   Egon Beiler (CAN)   Shivaji Chingle (IND)   Ray Brown (AUS)
Lightweight Men   Jagrup Singh (IND)   Joey Gilligan (ENG)   Stephen Martin (CAN)
Welterweight Men   Raghunath Pawar (IND)   Tony Shacklady (ENG)   Gordon Mackay (NZL)
Middleweight Men   Dave Aspin (NZL)   Satpal Singh (IND)   Taras Hryb (CAN)
Light Heavyweight Men   Terry Paice (CAN)   Netra Pal Singh (IND)   Maurice Allan (SCO)
Heavyweight Men   Claude Pilon (CAN)   Dadu Chaugule (IND)   Ian Duncan (SCO)
Super Heavyweight Men   Bill Benko (CAN)   Bishwanath Singh (IND)   Gary Knight (NZL)

See also edit

Footnotes edit

  1. ^ Commonwealth games symbol protection act 1974
  2. ^ Yee, Lindsay. "Design Assembly: NZ Design Icons". The Big Idea. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  3. ^ Ferrit[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Zeald.com[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The Post Office, too, is ready... (advert)". The Press. 24 January 1974. pp. S6.
  6. ^ "'Join together' song, 1974 Commonwealth Games". New Zealand History. NZ Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  7. ^ Wellington's swim queen in "The Wellingtonian", 21 March 2013 p12

References edit

Official History of the Xth British Commonwealth Games edited by A. R. Cant (1974, Christchurch)

External links edit

Preceded by
British Commonwealth Games
X British Commonwealth Games
Succeeded by