1974 British Commonwealth Games
|Host city||Christchurch, New Zealand|
|Events||121 events in 10 sports|
|Opening ceremony||24 January|
|Closing ceremony||2 February|
|Officially opened by||Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh|
|Queen's Baton Final Runner||Sylvia Potts|
|Main venue||QEII Park|
The 1974 British Commonwealth Games were 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 Games were 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 Games were held after the 1974 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games in Dunedin for wheelchair athletes.
38 teams were represented at the 1974 Games.
(Teams competing for the first time are shown in bold).
|Participating Commonwealth countries and territories|
The Games were 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, 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.
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 fine feature-length documentary of the Christchurch games (and the many events) in full colour. This has since been restored and is available on DVD.
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'. 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.
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.
Economic legacy aspects
Christchurch was (and still is) the smallest city to host the modern televised Commonwealth Games. 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.
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.
Medals by country
|4||New Zealand (NZL)*||9||8||18||35|
|9||Northern Ireland (NIR)||3||1||2||6|
|17||Trinidad and Tobago (TRI)||0||1||1||2|
|Western Samoa (WSM)||0||1||1||2|
|Totals (20 nations)||120||121||132||373|
- * = First medal in the British Commonwealth Games.
Medals by event
|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|
|Light Flyweight||Men||Stephen Muchoki||James Odwori||Syed Abdul Kadir|
|Flyweight||Men||Davy Larmour||Chandra Narayanan||Saliu Ishola|
|Bantamweight||Men||Patrick Cowdell||Ali Rojo||Newton Chisanga|
|Featherweight||Men||Eddie Ndukwu||Shadrack Odhiambo||Dale Anderson|
|Lightweight||Men||Ayub Kalule||Kayin Amah||Muniswami Venu|
|Light Welterweight||Men||Obisia Nwankpa||Anthony Martey||Philip Mathenge|
|Welterweight||Men||Mohamed Muruli||Errol McKenzie||John Rodgers|
|Light Middleweight||Men||Lottie Mwale||Alex Harrison||Lance Revill|
|Middleweight||Men||Frankie Lucas||Julius Luipa||Carl Speare|
|Light Heavyweight||Men||Bill Knight||William Byrne||Gordon Ferris|
|Heavyweight||Men||Neville Meade||Fatai Ayinla||Benson Masanda|
|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 Race||Men||Clyde Sefton||05:07:17||Phil Griffiths||05:07:46||Remo Sansonetti||05:17:27|
|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|
|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|
|Trap||Men/Open||John Primrose||196||Brian Bailey||193||Philip Lewis||191|
|Skeet||Men/Open||Harry Willsie||194||Joe Neville||191||Robin Bailey||189|
- Men's events
- Women's events
|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|
|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)|
- Commonwealth games symbol protection act 1974
- Yee, Lindsay. "Design Assembly: NZ Design Icons". The Big Idea. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
- Ferrit[permanent dead link]
- Zeald.com[permanent dead link]
- "'Join together' song, 1974 Commonwealth Games". New Zealand History. NZ Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
- Wellington's swim queen in "The Wellingtonian", 21 March 2013 p12
Official History of the Xth British Commonwealth Games edited by A. R. Cant (1974, Christchurch)
- Commonwealth Games Official Site
- 1974 Games on Australian Commonwealth Games official website
- Games 74 – a full-length documentary film of the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch on NZ On Screen
|British Commonwealth Games
X British Commonwealth Games