Sir Murray Halberg ONZ, in loving memory.
Sir Murray was the Founder of the Halberg Foundation (established in 1963) and the person behind re-inventing New Zealand’s Sportsman of the Year Awards, now known as the ISPS Handa Halberg Awards. He was awarded his Knighthood in 1987, and in 2008 was appointed to New Zealand’s highest non-titular honour, the Order of New Zealand (ONZ).
Even in an assembly of the greats of sport, there are some who rank higher in public perception than others. Such a man is Sir Murray Halberg ONZ, MBE, who won the Sportsman of the Year Award for winning the three miles at the Empire Games in Cardiff in 1958, but whose feats spanned more than a decade on running tracks and whose deeds transcend sport.
Sir Murray competed at the Empire Games in Vancouver in 1954 and the Olympics in Melbourne in 1956, before winning his Cardiff gold medal. But his greatest success was winning the 5000 metres at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960. He also won the three miles at the Empire Games in Perth in 1962, set world two and three miles records and was the first New Zealander, in Dublin in 1958, to run a mile in under four minutes.
However, it is Sir Murray’s selfless dedication to the welfare of disabled children in New Zealand, manifested through the Halberg Foundation, which has won him the most acclaim.
Most recently, Sir Murray Halberg ONZ, MBE was named the 94th New Zealand Olympian in 2009. Sir Murray was presented with his uniquely numbered pin as part of a four-year-long project to celebrate New Zealand’s Olympic history.
“For more than 50 years I have witnessed first-hand how sport can be a stepping stone to enhance the lives of disabled people. I’ve seen how sport can provide health benefits, new skills, social networks, confidence and ambition that can be transferred into many other parts of their lives.
I have always said that my ultimate goal is for the Halberg Foundation to do itself out of a job. Although we have helped thousands of disabled people over the years, we still have a long way to go before disabled people have the same opportunities to participate in sport and recreation – and in society in general.
I am hugely grateful to our supporters and friends who have helped form our story over the years. I invite you to continue supporting us, and to help us fulfill our vision.”
Sir Murray Halberg ONZ, MBE