A tribute event has been organised to honour the late Sir Peter Snell KNZM OBE, commemorating his record-breaking World Mile at Cooks Gardens in Whanganui in 1962.

Whanganui District Council, along with Athletics Wanganui and the Whanganui Sports Heritage Trust, will celebrate Sir Peter's outstanding sporting achievements on Monday, January 27, the 58th anniversary of his record-breaking mile in Whanganui.

"Sir Peter is New Zealand's Sports Champion of the 20th Century and his record-breaking World Mile at Whanganui 58 years ago will be inscribed forever as one of the most remarkable and memorable occasions that the people of Whanganui have ever witnessed," Councillor Philippa Baker-Hogan said.

She said the free event is intended to be a respectful tribute to Sir Peter, who passed away in the United States on December 12, 2019, and who always remained supportive of athletics in Whanganui.


"The people of Whanganui will remember Sir Peter as the person who made the name of 'Cooks Gardens, Whanganui' world-famous when he set the world one-mile record of 3m 54.4s on January 27, 1962," Russell Sears, of the Whanganui Sports Heritage Trust, said.

"He was a New Zealand athletic legend who always remembered and supported the Whanganui Athletic Club and Cooks Gardens."

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Baker-Hogan said everyone is welcome to attend the event, which will comprise a tribute lap of the Cooks Gardens track followed by speeches from Mayor Hamish McDouall and athletics representatives including former New Zealand middle-to long-distance runner and 1972 Olympic medallist, Rod Dixon.

Members of the public taking part in the tribute are asked to meet at the Cooks St entrance to Cooks Gardens from 6.30pm for a 7pm start. The event is expected to conclude about 8pm.