22 Jun 2016

Te Papa should look at sports policy - Hall of Fame boss

11:22 am on 22 June 2016

Te Papa should change its sports policy after it bought Peter Snell's singlet for more than $140,000, the head of Sports Hall of Fame says.

The black singlet Peter Snell wore during his twin gold medal runs at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics is going under the hammer.

Auction lot 194 - The black singlet Peter Snell wore during his twin gold medal runs at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Sir Peter wore the black singlet when he won double gold at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and remains the only male athlete since 1920 to win the 800m and 1500m at the same Olympics.

It sold at auction yesterday for $122,500, and with the buyer's premium Te Papa would be paying $140,875.

The singlet was initially expected to sell for just $30,000 to $50,000.

Sports Hall of Fame chief executive Ron Palenski said while the cost was too high, at least the singlet would be staying in New Zealand.

Chief executive of the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in Dunedin, Ron Palenski

Chief executive of the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in Dunedin, Ron Palenski Photo: Photosport NZ

"It's good to retain that sort of thing in New Zealand so other New Zealanders can see it and appreciate it and learn from it, then yes it is [worth it]. I would have been appalled if it had ended up in some boardroom in London or New York.

"To me, the great value of the singlet was the guy who wore the singlet, not the singlet itself."

Mr Palenski said the national museum should look at its sports policy, and he said there was no point in Te Papa keeping the singlet and not displaying it.

"I know they've got a lot of sports stuff that people don't see, so I guess it's just public pressure now on Te Papa for them to perhaps change their sports policy and acknowledge that sport has played a very important role in New Zealand history and informing New Zealand identity."

The Sports Hall of Fame could not afford to put in its own bid, he said.

"Gosh no, we couldn't bid for a litre of milk."

Te Papa chief executive Rick Ellis said yesterday the singlet would be displayed at the museum but the timeline had not been confirmed.

Sir Peter said he was now considering gifting Te Papa his two gold medals as well.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs