Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

(Dis)located Olympic patriots: sporting connections, administrative communications and imperial ether in interwar New Zealand

Kohe, Geoff (2014) (Dis)located Olympic patriots: sporting connections, administrative communications and imperial ether in interwar New Zealand. Sport in Society, 18 (7). pp. 800-815. ISSN 1743-0437. (doi:10.1080/17430437.2014.990686) (KAR id:66753)


During the interwar period (1919-1939) protagonists of the early New Zealand Olympic Committee NZOC worked to renegotiate and improve the country's international sporting participation and involvement in the International Olympic Committee IOC. To this end, NZOC effectively used its locally based administrators and well-placed expatriates in Britain to variously assert the organisation's nascent autonomy, independence and political power, progress Antipodean athlete's causes, and, counter any potential doubt about the nation's peripheral position in imperial sporting dialogues. Adding to the corpus of scholarship on New Zealand's ties and tribulations with imperial Britain (in and beyond sport) (e.g. Beilharz and Cox 2007; Belich 2001, 2007; Coombes 2006; MacLean 2010; Phillips 1984, 1987; Ryan 2004, 2005, 2007), in this paper I examine how the political actions and strategic location of three key NZOC agents (specifically, administrator Harry Amos and expatriates Arthur Porritt and Jack Lovelock) worked in their own particular ways to assert the position of the organisation within the global Olympic fraternity. I argue that the efforts of Amos, Porritt and Lovelock also concomitantly served to remind Commonwealth sporting colleagues (namely Britain and Australia) that New Zealand could not be characterised as, or relegated to being, a distal, subdued, or subservient colonial sporting partner. Subsequently I contend that NZOC's development during the interwar period, and particularly the utility of expatriate agents, can be contextualised against historiographical shifts that encourage us to rethink, reimagine, and rework narratives of empire, colonisation, national identity, commonwealth and belonging.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/17430437.2014.990686
Uncontrolled keywords: New Zealand, sports, olympics, New Zealand Olympic Comittee, International Olympic Committee, sporting participation, national identity, commonwealth, empire
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Sport and Exercise Sciences
Depositing User: Geoffery Kohe
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2018 09:34 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 04:32 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.