‘What was New Zealand’s greatest sporting moment?’
That is the question that five punters plus an impassioned audience will debate at the marae in Te Papa from 1 p.m. this coming Saturday 7 September.
The debate has been organised by The Radio Network (TRN), Te Papa and Manatū Taonga – the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, and is timed to mark the publication of the 46 sports stories in the new Daily Life, Sport and Recreation theme of Te Ara. The five moments to be debated have been chosen as a result of a poll conducted on a The Great Sports Debate website set up by TRN.
Those taking part in the debate are:
- Bryan Waddle, distinguished cricket commentator, as chair
- Paula Tesoriero, gold-medal-winning paralympic cyclist, who will argue the case for Murray Halberg and Peter Snell’s victories within an hour of each other at the 1960 Rome Olympics
- Kent Johns, the host of ‘The Sports Vox’ on Radio Sport, arguing for the All Whites’ victory over Bahrain in 2009 that took them to the Football World Cup finals in South Africa
- myself, Jock Phillips, Te Ara senior editor and unapologetic sports fan, who will present the argument for Edmund Hillary (with Tenzing Norgay) climbing Mt Everest in 1953
- Raybon Kan, noted comedian and columnist, who will talk about Danyon Loader’s two gold medals in the 200-metre and 400-metre freestyle swimming at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996
- Philippa Baker, world lightweight sculls champion and (with Brenda Lawson) twice world double sculls champion, who will present the case for the Evers-Swindell sisters’ second gold medal in the double sculls at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
What is notable from the list of moments is the absence of New Zealand’s conventional major sports, rugby and cricket. But the rugby moment that might have counted, New Zealand finally winning, for the second time, the Rugby World Cup in 2011, is perhaps more remembered for the agony the team put us through than any moments of ecstasy. Sadly, the moments of huge success for the cricketers have been few and far between, although, one suspects that Brian Waddle may use the privilege of the chair to make a case for Richard Hadlee’s nine wickets against Australia on the way to a team victory in 1985, a time when that country was still a power in cricket.
The debaters have been given strict instructions to talk briefly and to the point so that there will be plenty of time for audience participation. So come along on Saturday to have your say, or if that is not possible, tune in to the debate on Newstalk ZB.