Ivan Sutherland came from a well-known Marlborough sports family. His brothers Alan and Ray were leading rugby players, Alan an All Black. Ray concentrated on rowing, and had a long and distinguished career, the highlight of which was the bronze medal he won as part of the New Zealand eight at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
The New Zealand eight that went to Montreal –Sutherland, Trevor Coker, Peter Dignan, Lindsay Wilson, Athol Earl, Dave Rodger, Alec McLean, Tony Hurt and cox Simon Dickie – had a lot on their shoulders because they were defending the crown won so magnificently in Munich four years earlier.
The 1976 eight were well-regarded, even if they hadn’t been as dominant as the gold-medal winning team of 1972. Five of the 1976 edition – Coker, Wilson, Earl, Hurt and Dickie – had won gold medals in Munich.
At Montreal, the New Zealanders didn’t get the start they were after when they were beaten by Australia in their heat. However, they rowed well in their repecharge, beating Germany and the Soviet Union, and recorded the third-fastest time of the finalists.
As coach Robertson wanted, they were away quickly in the final and by the 500m mark had opened a one-second lead. After that things got tougher and they were pulled in first by Britain and then by eventual winners East Germany, and had to settle for the bronze medal.
An extremely popular and hard-working rower, Sutherland was named in the eight for the Moscow Olympics that New Zealand subsequently boycotted. He claimed a world championship medal in the coxless four at Amsterdam in 1977, and a bronze in the eight at Karapiro the following year.
Sutherland was renowned for his tough and competitive attitude to sport. He won a national eights title with Avon in 1976 and fours titles with the club in 1974, 75, 76 and 77.
He managed the New Zealand rowing team at the 1988 and 92 Olympics, was a national selector from 1987-96, and was for many years a leading figure in the Wairau Rowing club.
He was a board member of New Zealand Rowing and did a large amount of fundraising for the sport.
When Sutherland retired from rowing, he became a national selector.
He has done exceedingly well in business, and became one of the principals in the Cloudy Bay winery in Marlborough.