Statement on the death of Sir Murray Halberg
New Zealand has lost one our true sporting icons with the passing of Sir Murray Halberg, Grant Robertson, Minister of Sport and Recreation said today.
“Sir Murray was an extraordinary athlete. His gold medal in the 5000m at the Rome Olympic Games in 1960 has been immortalised as part of New Zealand’s golden afternoon at the Games, with Peter Snell winning the 800 metres.
“In its own right, Sir Murray’s win was very special, driven to win by exceptional fitness and dogged determination. His Olympic victory was complemented by success at Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1958 and 1962.
“In 1961 he set world records over the two and three mile distances. He was also the first New Zealander to run a sub four minute mile.
“He was truly a legend of New Zealand athletics, but his contribution has been so much more than that. In 1963 he established the Halberg Trust to support children with disabilities in sport and recreation. Through the Trust Sir Murray has changed the lives of generations of New Zealanders. The sheer joy that we witness each year at the Halberg Games is vindication of his vision,” Grant Robertson said.
“The fact that our Sportsperson of the Year Awards are simply known as the Halbergs is a fitting legacy to his work and that of the Halberg Foundation.
“As a country we have so much to be thankful for from Sir Murray’s life. He was one of our best, a member of the Order of New Zealand, a humble man of compassion and vision.
“My condolences go to his family and friends, and to all those who were touched by his work. Rest in Peace, Sir Murray.”