PNZ mourns Sir Murray Halberg
Photo: Sir Murray Halberg (left) and PNZ CE Fiona Allan (right) with the First Minister of Wales, Rt Hon Carwyn Jones in 2008.
Sir Murray Gordon Halberg passed away on 30th November 2022, aged 89. In athletics, Olympian Sir Murray is a legend, but to many, his legacy will be his work for disabled children.
Who was Sir Murray Halberg?
Sir Murray’s most famous athletic achievement was winning the gold medal in the 5000 metres at the 1960 Olympic Games. He was the first New Zealander to break the four-minute mile.
Murray Halberg was born in 1933 at Eketāhuna in Wairarapa. He spent most of his life in Auckland where he went to school at Avondale College.
A rugby injury at age 17 caused severe damage to his shoulder and arm. He went through months of rehabilitation. The experience made him a life-long advocate for the needs of disabled children.
“When you were in the direct view from those steely blue eyes it reminded you that you were in the presence of greatness coupled with sincerity and kindness. A wise, generous and caring individual always interested in the lives of others and always taking the time to listen.”Fiona Allan, CE Paralympics New Zealand
The Halberg Foundation
In 1963, after his sporting career, Murray Halberg set up The Halberg Trust, which continues to support disabled children in sport under its new name Halberg Foundation.
The Foundation has advisors around the country who connect physically disabled people to sport and recreation opportunities. It provides grants for adaptive sports equipment, lessons and camps and hosts the Halberg Games.
The Halberg Games is a three-day national sports festival for young people aged 8-21 with a physical or visual impairment.
A key part of the Halberg Foundation is the annual Halberg Awards, which recognise New Zealand’s top sporting achievements. The Awards Evening is also the Foundation’s flagship fundraiser.
“Many of our Paralympians have a connection with Sir Murray through the Halberg Foundation. As they were starting out, many experienced the Halberg Games, or got their first piece of equipment through the Foundation.
“Our thoughts are with Lady Phyllis and his family. His work really shows what an impact a single individual can have.”Fiona Allan, CE Paralympics New Zealand