Short history of orienteering in New Zealand  |  50 years 
By Christo Peters - Mon 1 Jul 2024 7:54pm
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Short history of orienteering in New Zealand  |  50 years 

Last year marked our 50th anniversary, and Bryan Teehan compiled a special booklet for the occasion. Meanwhile, Stuart Payne wearing a moonboot, was easily persuaded to update our 40-year-old history and extend it by another decade. The resulting 52-page document commemorates the 50th Anniversary of ONZ (formerly NZOF). When asked about the task of adding another 10 years, Stuart admitted, “It was bigger than I thought.” Stuart extends his thanks to Christo, Magnus Bengtsson, and Marquita Gelderman for locating results from the past 10 years and to Pete Swanson for his input into the document.

This history of orienteering covers the inception of numerous clubs and explores various navigation formats including Rogaining, MTBO and Sprint. As Michael Wood aptly describes maps as “orienteering’s playing fields”. The evolution of mapping processes has a critical role in the sport. Major events are highlighted, including the introduction of electronic punching in 2000. Organising events has always been a significant undertaking, and the pull out quotes are a fun reminder an event in 1984 underscores the dedication required: “Overheard at a 3-Day event: ‘I think I’ve found an alternative to contraception. Get your husband to organise a three-day event.'”. Bryan Teehan, reflecting on his role as Technical Director for the WMOC event in 2000 also humorously remarked, “The whole event was fun. It has taken years from my life. I am now going back to work for a rest.”

Stuart has detailed the significant changes in governance over the last 10 years, from the federation’s establishment to the rebranding as ONZ, funding developments, the hiring of key positions, and communication across various media. The section “Kiwis on the international stage” on page 42 includes a table of podium wins, highlighting Tim Robertson’s longstanding representation of NZ, noting his potential evident since winning the NZ senior sprint title at age 15 in 2012. In MTBO, Marquita Gelderman has brought numerous trophies and victories, whilst representing New Zealand.  

Some of those old events sound like true epics, and that did not include running on the plotted course. Everything seemed to take a lot more effort. Now we have a sport that requires even more detailed maps, lots of organisation to get people there, a ton of physical effort and a heap of brain work. It is still challenging -– it all makes sense now. The document can be found on the ONZ website > resources > publications.  Read it here

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