Collection of Auckland Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira, 2015.29.37
Gift of New Zealand Olympic Committee
Queen's Baton's & display stand with museum label : 1990 Commonwealth Games Auckland
The Queen's Baton Relay, similar to the Olympic Torch Relay, is a relay around the world held prior to the beginning of the Commonwealth Games. This relay is a tradition for the games, symbolising the gathering of people from across the Commonwealth, similar to the Olympic torch tradition. The Baton carries a message from the Head of the Commonwealth, currently Queen Elizabeth II. The Relay traditionally begins at Buckingham Palace in London as a part of the city's Commonwealth Day festivities. The Queen entrusts the baton to the first relay runner. At the Opening Ceremony of the Games, the final relay runner hands the baton back to the Queen or her representative, who reads the message aloud to officially open the Games.The Relay was introduced at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales. Up until, and including, the 1994 Games, the Relay only went through England and the host nation. The Relay for the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was the first to travel to other nations of the Commonwealth. The 2002 Commonwealth Games Relay covered over 100,000 kilometres and went through 23 nations.
In 1990 the XIV Commonwealth Games were held in Auckland and formed a key part of New Zealand’s 1990 sesquicentennial celebrations.
The 1990 silver and enamel baton was designed to split in two halves and each contained the Queen’s message of welcome for the games. The two baton pieces travelled extensively throughout New Zealand passing through 180 towns and cities, each piece on its own individual relay run in the North and South Islands. The pieces were rejoined on 23 January 1990 and the final runners to carry it were Mark Todd and Peter Snell. The Queen’s message of welcome to the athletes was read out at the opening on 24th January by Prince Edward.
The British Empire Games & Commonwealth Games each made significant contributions to the social and cultural history of Auckland City and region.
Both Games unquestionably offered development and aspirational experiences for Auckland athletes and opportunities for the country, city and individuals to gain international exposure and connections in addition to economic stimulus and the occasion to plan beyond the Games for long term neighbourhood benefit. In addition, the 1990 Games sought to showcase and celebrate the partnership of Maori & Pakeha. The extent to which the potential of all these elements was realized or missed is therefore of considerable importance in reviewing Auckland’s history.
Although the 1974 Christchurch Games were known as the “Emigration Games” – such a good experience a large number of visitors subsequently came to live in NZ – by contrast, the 1950 Games apparently copped the country much criticism for their dullness (e.g. the games village was at Ardmore, more than 20 miles from the central city). However, the 1990 Games added infrastructure to the city including the West Wave swimming centre in West Auckland, an upgraded Mt Smart Stadium (until the rugby field was extended for the Warriors), the Ardmore shooting complex (reclaimed by the Army in 2008 & currently being replaced), and the Manukau velodrome (still the only one in Auckland).
14th Commonwealth Games
1990 British Commonwealth Games
1 January 1990 to 31 December 1990
- .1.2 - baton half length : 240mm
- .2 - stand length : 450mm
- .1.1 - baton half length : 251mm
- .3 - label length : 210mm
- .2 - stand width : 180mm
- .1.2 - baton half diameter : 101mm
- .3 - label width : 180mm
- .3 - label depth : 55mm
- .1.1 - baton half diameter : 104mm
- .2 - stand height : 210mm
13 July 2015
Images and documents
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