She joined Lynndale Amateur Athletic and Harrier Club in the children's division in the 12-13 year old age group. She also ran for Glen Eden, Waitemata and Owairaka. At Avondale College in 1953, she won the 100 yards senior girls when she was 14.
From 1954 to 1956 Avis won the Auckland Championship two and-a-half mile cross country and the Hamilton road race.
After winning her first New Zealand title in 1958, and not being selected for Cardiff's Empire Games, Avis was chosen to represent New Zealand from 1959 to 1965.
In 1962, Avis was selected for the 7th British Empire and Commonwealth Games at Perth. She competed in the 80m hurdles and relay.
Avis was first in the 80m hurdles heat, beating the world record holder in 10.8 sec- the new Commonwealth Games record. She was third in the final and also in the 4x100 yards relay, winning bronze medals.
On March 18, 1964 at the Lovelock track in Auckland, Avis won the 80m hurdles in 10.7 sec. It was the fastest time ever by a New Zealand women's athlete.
At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Avis was third in the 80m hurdles heat in 10.8 sec. She was fifth in the semi-final in 10.9 sec and 10th fastest overall. In the 100 yards, Avis was fourth in her heat and sixth in the quarter final. This event no longer exists.
A very fine all-round athlete, her skills ranged from hurdling, running, jumping, cross-country and pentathlon. She won 24 Auckland titles including 10 straight in the 80m hurdles from 1956 to 1965. She also won the long jump five times, pentathlon three times and high jump, 75 yards and 100 yards once each.
Avis has records for long jump, high jump, 100 metres, hammer, and discus all achieved at 50 years of age. She then went on to get the records for discus, high jump, hammer, javelin & long jump at 60 years old!