Ngā Puna Wai Celebrates 50 Years of Secondary School Athletics

The NZSSAA 50th Jubilee Track and Field and 48th Road Race Championships were recently held at Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub, where secondary school athletes assembled from all corners of the country to compete for glory.

This is the first time since the 2011 earthquakes that this event has been held in Ōtautahi Christchurch, and the first time at Ngā Puna Wai, with the event bringing together over 1,100 competitors from more than 200 schools for three days of competition.

John Gamblin, Chair of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), was impressed with the facilities, and how generous the track and field standards are to allow so many events to take place simultaneously.

“We received many positive responses from spectators, with some stakeholders being quite envious of the opportunities that this facility provides the athletes.”

“We were able to set up two separate start and finish lines for some of the track events, giving us great flexibility with the wind which some tracks just can’t provide.”

Gamblin adds that the competitors were really excited about the milestone event, which was aided by the 50th-anniversary badge on offer that gave the celebration a unique feel in the city where it all started.

“The organising committee was determined to return to Christchurch for this anniversary, where this event began back in 1973, acting as a warm-up to the 1974 British Commonwealth Games held at QEII.”

A 50th Anniversary Dinner also took place at Ngā Puna Wai, functioning as a reunion where notable individuals shared stories from their direct involvement in the first event half a century ago.

For those wanting to know more about this event and relive some of the action through the live stream, click the following link: NZSSAA: New Zealand Secondary Schools Athletic Association