1974 British Commonwealth Games

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X British Commonwealth Games
1974 British Commonwealth Games logo.svg
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

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.

Host selection

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



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]


Opening ceremony

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.


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.


Economic aspects

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

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

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

  *   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



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



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



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


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




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


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


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


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 Australia Sonya Gray 59.13 Canada Gail Amundrud 59.36 Canada Judy Wright 59.46
200 m freestyle Australia Sonya Gray 2:04.27 Australia Jenny Turrall 2:06.90 Canada Gail Amundrud 2:07.03
400 m freestyle Australia Jenny Turrall 4:22.09 Canada Wendy Quirk 4:22.96 New Zealand Jaynie Parkhouse 4:23.09
800 m freestyle New Zealand Jaynie Parkhouse 8:58.49 Australia Jenny Turrall 8:58.53 Australia Rosemary Milgate 8:58.59
100 m backstroke Canada Wendy Cook 1:06.37 Canada Donna-Marie Gurr 1:06.55 Australia Linda Young 1:07.52
200 m backstroke Canada Wendy Cook 2:20.37 Australia Sandra Yost 2:22.07 Canada Donna-Marie Gurr 2:23.74
100 m breaststroke England Christine Gaskell 1:16.42 Canada Marian Stuart 1:16.61 Scotland Sandra Dickie 1:17.17
200 m breaststroke Wales Pat Beavan 2:43.11 Australia Beverley Whitfield 2:43.58 Australia Allison Smith 2:45.08
100 m butterfly Canada Patti Stenhouse 1:05.38 Scotland Kim Wickham 1:05.96 Australia Sandra Yost 1:06.04
200 m butterfly Australia Sandra Yost 2:20.57 Canada Patti Stenhouse 2:20.66 Australia Gail Neall 2:21.66
200 m individual medley Canada Leslie Cliff 2:24.13 Canada Becky Smith 2:25.17 New Zealand Susan Hunter 2:26.18
400 m individual medley Canada Leslie Cliff 5:01.35 Canada Becky Smith 5:03.68 New Zealand Susan Hunter 5:07.20
4 × 100 m freestyle relay Canada
Anne Jardin
Becky Smith
Gail Amundrud
Judy Wright
3:57.14 Australia
Debra Cain
Jennifer Turrall
Sonya Gray
Suzy Anderson
4:02.37 England
Alyson Jones
Avis Willington
Lesley Allardice
Susan Edmondson
4 × 100 m medley relay Canada
Gail Amundrud
Marian Stuart
Patti Stenhouse
Wendy Cook
4:24.77 Australia
Beverley Whitfield
Debra Cain
Linda Young
Sonya Gray
4:30.55 Scotland
Gillian Fordyce
Kim Wickham
Morag McGlashan
Sandra Dickie


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


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


  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


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

External links

Preceded by
British Commonwealth Games
X British Commonwealth Games
Succeeded by