1894 - 2019
This year, New Zealand celebrates 125 years since the founding of the modern Olympic Movement, acknowledging New Zealander Leonard Cuff, one of just thirteen original signatories to the movement’s founding documents.
1892 - Leonard Cuff meets Pierre de Coubertin in France. They discuss the value of sport in society and the establishment of the Modern Olympic Games.
1894 – New Zealand is one of thirteen countries that sign the foundation documents forming the modern Olympic Movement.
1894 – Leonard Cuff becomes the first IOC Member to New Zealand.
1896 – First modern Olympic Games is held in Athens, Greece.
1908 – First New Zealanders compete at the London Olympic Games as part of the Australasian Team.
1908 Harry Kerr wins the first medal for New Zealand, a bronze medal for the 3500 metre walk.
1911 – New Zealand Amateur Athletic Association (NZAAA) creates Festival of Empire Sport Committee (FESC) which becomes the Olympic Council of New Zealand on 18th October 2011.
1912 – Representing Australasia, Malcolm Champion becomes the first New Zealander to win an Olympic gold medal. Champion was a member of the 4 x 200 metre freestyle relay swimming team.
1919 – International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially recognises the OCNZ as an independent body, no longer part of Australasia.
1920 First New Zealand Olympic Team travels to Antwerp, Belgium. The four athletes included Violet Walrond, the first New Zealand woman to compete at an Olympic Games, and Darcy Hadfield who won the first medal, a bronze in rowing.
1924 Arthur Porritt wins bronze in the 100 metres in Paris in the famous ‘Chariots of Fire’ race.
Porritt went on to captain and manage the 1924 & 1928 NZ Olympic teams, he became Chef de Mission in 1936, Patron of NZOBCGA, IOC Member, was instrumental in establishing IOC Medical Commission and became the first New Zealand IOC Olympic Order Holder.
1928 – Brigadier Bernard Freyberg becomes the fifth IOC member to New Zealand.
1928 Ted Morgan, a boxer, wins New Zealand’s first official gold medal, at the Amsterdam Olympic Games. Champion had won gold in 1912 but was representing “Australasia”.
1928 – The formation of New Zealand British Empire Games Committee (NZBEGC).
1929 – OCNZ and NZBEGC combine to become New Zealand Olympic and British Empire Games Association (NZOBEGA).
1930 – First British Empire Games held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
1934 – Lord Arthur Porritt becomes the seventh IOC Member to New Zealand.
1936 Jack Lovelock wins a Gold medal at the Berlin Olympic Games and becomes an important advisor to the NZOBEGA regarding international sporting matters.
1946 – Five Olympians lost in service during the two World Wars.
1948 – London Olympic Games, the last New Zealand team to travel to the Olympic Games by ship, a voyage that in the past had lasted from 6 to 8 weeks.
1950 – Auckland hosts the fifth British Empire Games, the first Games held following World War Two.
1952 – First New Zealand Winter Olympics Team travel to compete in Oslo (“we were given silver fern badges and told to sew them onto our black jerseys….”)
1952 – Yvette Williams becomes New Zealand’s first woman Gold medallist winning the Long Jump at the Helsinki Olympic Games.
1960 – The ‘Golden Hour’ in Rome when Peter Snell (800 metres) and Murray Halberg (5000 metres) both win gold within the same hour, both coached by Arthur Lydiard.
1964 – Peter Snell becomes the first New Zealander to win two Gold medals at a single Games, and also repeats his 800 metre victory in Rome.
1968 – NZOBEGA becomes New Zealand Olympic and British Commonwealth Games Association (NZOBCGA).
1969 – Sir Lance Cross becomes the eighth IOC Member to New Zealand.
1974 – Christchurch hosts the tenth Commonwealth Games.
1974 – NZOBCGA becomes New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (NZOCGA).
1976 – John Walker, in Montreal, becomes the third NZ athlete to win the men’s Olympic 1500 metres. African nations boycott the Olympic Games in response to New Zealand’s Springbok tour.
1970’s Debates rage in NZ about amateur vs. professionalism. The rise of professionalism wins and the Olympic Games are no longer the preserve of the amateur athlete.
1980 – New Zealand boycott Moscow Olympic Games and of the 99 athletes selected, four competed, 95 did not compete, and 34 were never selected to compete at another Olympic Games.
1984 – Ian Ferguson wins three Gold medals in Canoeing at the Los Angeles Games.
The Los Angeles Olympic Games mark a new era in sport – commercialism and sport meet in sponsorship of the Olympic Games and sale of broadcast rights.
1988 – First permanent NZOCGA staff member is employed.
1990 – Auckland hosts the fourteenth Commonwealth Games.
1992 – Annelise Coberger wins a Silver Medal at the Winter Olympics, the first by a New Zealander and the first by a country in the southern hemisphere.
1996 – Danyon Loader wins two Gold medals in individual swimming events at Atlanta.
1996 – NZOCGA becomes the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC).
2005 – Barbara Kendall becomes the tenth IOC Member to New Zealand and the first New Zealand woman to hold the position.
2008 – New Zealand celebrates its 1000th Olympian at Beijing (Adrian Blincoe) and all 1111 Olympians are presented with special numbered pins in celebrations that take place the following year.
2008 – New Zealand’s Olympic medal tally rises to 90 (includes Winter Silver) and it is New Zealand’s female athletes that dominate the gold medals. Caroline and Georgina Evers Swindell retain their Olympic crown and Valerie Adams dominates women’s shot put.
2010 – Barry Maister becomes the eleventh IOC Member to New Zealand. Kereyn Smith is named the New Zealand Olympic Committee’s first female Secretary General.
2011 – Three years after her term had ended, Barbara Kendall is reappointed to the IOC.
2012 – New Zealand wins 13 medals at the London Olympic Games. Dame Valerie Adams is upgraded from a silver medal in the women’ shotput to take her rightful place as Olympic Champion after the original gold medallist is disqualified for doping. New Zealand's medal tally stands at 103.
2016 – Sarah Walker is appointed to the IOC Athletes’ Commission and becomes New Zealand’s thirteen IOC Member.
2016 - New Zealand wins a further 18 medals at the Rio Olympic Games, bringing New Zealand’s medal tally to 121.
2018 – Barbara Kendall finishes her twelve-year stint on the IOC and Barry Maister is awarded the Olympic Order as his term comes to an end.
2018 – New Zealand teenagers Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous win New Zealand’s first Olympic Winter medals in 26 years with bronze medals at the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games in freeski halfpipe and snowboard big air. New Zealand now has 123 Olympic Medals.
2018 – The New Zealand Olympic Committee updates its ‘rings and fern’ mark and includes the words “NZ Team”. While the overall mark is refreshed, the fern itself remains largely unchanged after athletes highlight importance of the legacy mark.
2019 - New Zealand’s first female gold medallist Yvette Williams is made a Dame Grand Companion to the New Zealand Order of Merit, some 67 years after making history at the Helsinki 1952 Olympic Games.
2019 - New Zealand celebrates Olympic Day with a Have a Go Sports Day in Auckland, marking the founding of the IOC, signed by New Zealander Leonard Cuff on behalf of Australasia some 125 years earlier. New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith attends the official 125-year anniversary celebrations and Opening of the new Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland.