University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Dis)located Olympic Patriots: Sporting Connections, Administrative Communications and Imperial Ether in Interwar New Zealand

Kohe, Geoff (2015) Dis)located Olympic Patriots: Sporting Connections, Administrative Communications and Imperial Ether in Interwar New Zealand. Sport in Society, 18 (7). pp. 800-815. ISSN Print:1743-0437 Online:1743-0445

Kohe (2014) (Dis)located Olympic patriots.pdf - Accepted Version

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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
Additional Information:

Published in: Special Issue: The British World and the Five Rings: Essays in British Imperialism and the Modern Olympic Movement

This is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Sport in Society on 17 December 2014, available online:

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: New Zealand, sports, olympics, New Zealand Olympic Comittee, International Olympic Committee, sporting participation, national identity, commonwealth, empire
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DU Oceania (South Seas)
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Geoff Kohe
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2014 09:15
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:05

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