18 Apr 2017

Sir Peter Snell to handover collection to Te Papa

7:15 am on 18 April 2017

Legendary New Zealand athlete Sir Peter Snell will today officially hand over 14 items from his personal collection to Te Papa in Wellington.

The donations include two Olympic gold medals, those from the 800m in the 1960 Rome Olympic Games, and one of the two medals won by Snell at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The most unusual item being gifted is a shoe Sir Peter wore while winning gold at Rome.

Sir Peter Snell shoe.

One of the shoes Sir Peter Snell won on his way to gold in the 800m at the Rome Olympics. Photo: Mike O'Neill Te Papa.

The two Olympic gold medals and the shoe will be on show at Te Papa until July, and will then be retained in the museum's collection

Te Papa Chief Executive Rick Ellis said the museum was humbled by Sir Peter's decision to donate the items to the national collection.

"Te Papa is incredibly excited to receive these pieces of our sporting history, and be able to share them with New Zealanders," Mr Ellis said.

Rick Ellis said that Sir Peter was excited about the opportunity to share the items, and their stories, with young New Zealanders.

"As well as seeing these items up close and personal in the museum, Te Papa can bring Peter Snell's story to life, using video and digital storytelling," said Mr Ellis.

Sir Peter Snell's 1960 Olympic gold medal.

Sir Peter Snell's 1960 Olympic gold medal. Photo: Mike O'Neill Te Papa

"Every kid in New Zealand will be able to get a taste of the determination and grit that took Sir Peter Snell to the top."

Te Papa history Curator Stephanie Gibson said the items are incredibly significant for New Zealand.

"These objects represent not only the pinnacle of Sir Peter's career, but the absolute pinnacle of New Zealand's sporting history."

In 2015 Te Papa bid at auction for a singlet thought to be that worn by Snell at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964.

The singlet was withdrawn from sale by the auction house after the museum raised doubts about its authenticity.

Items which will be displayed at Te Papa from April 18th-July 23rd.

- Rome Olympic Games gold medal, 1960, 800m.

- Tokyo Olympic Games gold medal, 1964. It is not known which race this medal was for, Snell won two golds at this Olympics in the 800m and the 1500m.

- Shoe made by Arthur Lydiard, worn in Rome Olympics, 1960, 800m.

Additional items being gifted by Sir Peter

- (3 x objects) World Record plaques awarded by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), 1961-62

- Tankard for the mile world record in Whanganui, 1962

- New Zealand Sportsman of the Year Award trophy, 1960 and 1964

- Sydney Olympic Games torch, 2000

- (2 x objects) Insignia of the Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (KNZM) (badge and breast star), 2002

- Order of the British Empire (OBE) (1965)

- (2 x objects) British Empire and Commonwealth Games gold medals, Perth, 1962. 800 yards and one mile.