One of New Zealand’s most outstanding players, Arthur Parkin was selected for four Olympics, though he attended just three, missing the 1980 Games because of the Western boycott.
Parkin made his Olympic debut at Munich in 1972, when the New Zealand team could finish only ninth. However, like many of his team-mates Parkin used that experience well four years later in Montreal.
By 1976, there was a vast reservoir of experience in the New Zealand side. Of the team that went to the Montreal Olympics, Paul Ackerley, Thur Borren, John Christensen and Tony Ineson, plus Barry and Selwyn Maister, played for the University club in Christchurch.
Besides the core of Christchurch players, others in the team with previous Olympic experience were Alan McIntyre, Trevor Manning, Greg Dayman, Ramesh Patel, Jeff Archibald and Parkin.
The New Zealanders, coached by Ross Gillespie, caused a shock at Montreal by beating Australia 1-0 to win the gold medal. It was not a triumph easily achieved - they won a thrilling play-off match against Spain 1-0 just to squeeze into the semi-finals. There they caused an upset by beating the impressive Netherlands side 2-1 in the third period of extra time.
The final, a torrid affair, tipped New Zealand’s way when their captain, Tony Ineson, smashed home a penalty corner shortly after halftime.
Putting the disappointment of not being permitted to defend the Olympic title in 1980 behind him, Parkin captained New Zealand in 1983 at the Pentangular Trophy in Kuala Lumpur, and at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, when the team finished seventh.
Parkin was born and educated in Whangarei, and completed his Diploma in Physical Education at Otago in 1976.
After retiring as a player, Parkin stayed close to hockey. He was instrumental in putting together the national coaching scholarship programme and in 1992 he attended the Barcelona Olympic Games as the trainer of both the men’s and women’s teams, drawing on his background as a physical education teacher.
He became a life member of New Zealand Hockey in 2003.
Parkin coached the University club team in Auckland and had a heavy involvement in junior hockey. He taught at Mt Roskill Grammar for some years, and later worked for Demi Holdings.
Parkin became a prominent golfer, representing Auckland from 1987-2000, and becoming a New Zealand Seniors representative from 2008-2010. He became a professional golfer in 2003.
The 1976 hockey team was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.