1974 British Commonwealth Games

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.

X British Commonwealth Games
Host cityChristchurch, New Zealand
Nations participating38
Athletes participating1276
Events121 events in 10 sports
Opening ceremony24 January
Closing ceremony2 February
Officially opened byPrince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Queen's Baton Final RunnerSylvia Potts
Main venueQEII Park
<  IX XI  >

Host selection

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

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


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,[1] and set a design benchmark which was echoed in the logos of the next five games.

In recent years the logo has been regarded as one of New Zealand's iconic symbols, being reproduced on clothing and elsewhere.[2][3]


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.

Royal family

The Games were the last time that the entire immediate British Royal Family (Elizabeth II, her husband and children) visited New Zealand as a group. The Royal Yacht Britannia was the royal residence during the games.

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. 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.

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, 12½; swimming for Fiji at the games, as her father was Registrar at the University of the South Pacific.[4]

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

  *   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 Samoa (WSM)0112
 Trinidad and Tobago (TRI)0112
19 Eswatini (SWZ)0011
 Singapore (SIN)0011
Totals (20 nations)120121132373
  • * = First medal in the British Commonwealth Games.

Medals by event



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



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



Event Gold Silver Bronze
Time TrialMen Dick Paris00:01:12 John Nicholson00:01:12 Ian Hallam00:01:12
SprintMen John Nicholson Xavier Mirander Ian Atherly
Individual PursuitMen Ian Hallam00:05:05 Willi Moore00:05:12 Gary Sutton00:05:09
Team PursuitMen Mick Bennett, Rik Evans, Ian Hallam & Willi Moore00:04:41 Murray Hall, Kevin Nichols, Garry Reardon & Gary Sutton00:04:49 Paul Brydon, René Hyde, Russell Nant & Blair Stockwellovertook
10 Miles ScratchMen Steve Heffernan00:20:51 Murray Hall00:20:52 Ian Hallam00:20:52
TandemMen Geoffrey Cooke & Ernest Crutchlow10.74 John Rush & Danny O'Neill Paul Medhurst & Philip Harland


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Road RaceMen Clyde Sefton05:07:17 Phil Griffiths05:07:46 Remo Sansonetti05:17:27


Men's events
Event Gold Silver Bronze
3 Metres Springboard Diving Don Wagstaff531.54 Scott Cranham509.61 Trevor Simpson489.69
10 Metres Highboard [Platform] Diving Don Wagstaff490.74 Andrew Jackomos472.47 Scott Cranham460.98
Women's events
Event Gold Silver Bronze
3 Metres Springboard Diving Cindy Shatto430.88 Beverley Boys426.93 Teri York413.83
10 Metres Highboard [Platform] Diving Beverley Boys361.95 Beverly Williams352.14 Madeleine Barnett339.3



Event Gold Silver Bronze
Free PistolMen/Open Jules Sobrian549 Norman Harrison549 Laslo Antal543
Rapid-Fire PistolMen/Open William Hare586 Jules Sobrian583 Bruce McMillan581


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Small Bore RifleMen/Open Yvonne Gowland594 Bill Watkins591 Alister Allan591
Full Bore RifleMen/Open Maurice Gordon387.26 Colin McEachran386.27 James Spaight383.35


Event Gold Silver Bronze
TrapMen/Open John Primrose196 Brian Bailey193 Philip Lewis191
SkeetMen/Open Harry Willsie194 Joe Neville191 Robin Bailey189


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 Gray59.13 Gail Amundrud59.36 Judy Wright59.46
200 m freestyle Sonya Gray2:04.27 Jenny Turrall2:06.90 Gail Amundrud2:07.03
400 m freestyle Jenny Turrall4:22.09 Wendy Quirk4:22.96 Jaynie Parkhouse4:23.09
800 m freestyle Jaynie Parkhouse8:58.49 Jenny Turrall8:58.53 Rosemary Milgate8:58.59
100 m backstroke Wendy Cook1:06.37 Donna-Marie Gurr1:06.55 Linda Young1:07.52
200 m backstroke Wendy Cook2:20.37 Sandra Yost2:22.07 Donna-Marie Gurr2:23.74
100 m breaststroke Christine Gaskell1:16.42 Marion Stuart1:16.61 Sandra Dickie1:17.17
200 m breaststroke Pat Beavan2:43.11 Beverley Whitfield2:43.58 Allison Smith2:45.08
100 m butterfly Patti Stenhouse1:05.38 Kim Wickham1:05.96 Sandra Yost1:06.04
200 m butterfly Sandra Yost2:20.57 Patti Stenhouse2:20.66 Gail Neall2:21.66
200 m individual medley Leslie Cliff2:24.13 Becky Smith2:25.17 Susan Hunter2:26.18
400 m individual medley Leslie Cliff5:01.35 Becky Smith5:03.68 Susan Hunter5:07.20
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


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


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

See also


  1. Commonwealth games symbol protection act 1974
  2. Ferrit
  3. Zeald.com
  4. 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)

Preceded by
British Commonwealth Games
X British Commonwealth Games
Succeeded by
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