News & Updates

31 December 2020 • General

Athletics stalwarts recognised in New Years Honours

Arch Jelley with his star protege Sir John Walker. 

Several of the country’s most loyal athletics servants have had their commitment to the sport and other aspects of community life recognised in the 2021 New Years Honours list.

Legendary coach Arch Jelley has been made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, while Don Mackenzie and Melissa Moon have both been named Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Jelley, now 98-years-old, developed dozens of New Zealand’s leading athletes during a coaching career that spanned nearly six decades.

His vast list of achievements include coaching Sir John Walker to gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. Forty years on, Arch again made his presence felt at Olympic level as 1500m runner Hamish Carson qualified for the Rio Olympics under his tutelage. At the time, Jelley was the oldest top-level coach in New Zealand sport at 94.

Twenty of the athletes he coached represented New Zealand, with 12 competing either in the Olympics or World Championships. Between 1976 and 1993, he was appointed as coach or manager to 12 New Zealand or Oceania teams, including three Olympic Games teams.

He was inducted into the Athletics Coaches Association of New Zealand Hall of Fame in 2006 and, the following year, received a Sparc lifetime achievement award for coaching excellence before being awarded an Athletics New Zealand merit award in 2009.

“I would have to rate this at the very top, of course, but it’s difficult to compare this honour with awards made within one’s sport,” Arch says.

“It’s a great honour for me and my family but also a tribute to the dozens and dozens of amateur coaches throughout New Zealand who give their time and expertise just for their particular sport. Without these dedicated people, most sports would perish.”

Outside of athletics, Arch has been involved with the Mt Albert Bridge Club since 1990, featuring as a tutor since 1996 and acting as president for ten years from 2003.

For more on the extraordinary coaching career of Arch Jelley, check out his profile on the Legends section of the Athletics NZ website.

Don Mackenzie is a life member of Athletics NZ and also currently sits on the Rules Sub-Committee.

Don has officiated for Athletics Canterbury for 50 years and continues to officiate at the New Zealand Track and Field Championships each year. He was the New Zealand 100 and 220 yards champion in 1964 and the national 440 yards champion in 1965, 1966 and 1967.

He has also officiated at international athletic events such as the World Games for the Deaf, World Masters Games and Pacific Conference Games, and was Technical Manager at both the 1974 and 1990 Commonwealth Games.

He has been a longstanding member of the Athletics NZ Rules Committee and was Athletics NZ President from 1991 to 1992. He was Oceania Area Technical Official from 2003 to 2010. He was made a life member of Athletics NZ in 2006 and received the Oceania Athletics Merit Award in 2016.

Using his civil engineering skills, he made a major contribution to the design and construction of the Chevron all-weather track, laid at Queen Elizabeth II Stadium for the 1974 Commonwealth Games. Since the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, he has volunteered his extensive structural engineering skills to assist the elderly with their earthquake issues.

He has assisted the Anglican Parish of Fendalton and other Anglican churches with various earthquake issues. Don has also chaired the organising committee of the St Barnabas Community Fun Day since its inception in 2012, as well as the St Barnabas Fair Committee.

Melissa Moon is a two-time World Mountain Running Champion, claiming those titles in 2001 and 2003, and has won 21 national athletics titles over her career. In 2001, she was named New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year and was selected as one of 10 outstanding young persons of the world by Junior Chamber International (JCI) in 2008.

In 2010, she won the World Tower Running Championship and World Vertical Running Championship, and was recognised by the World Mountain Running Association as the second-ranked female mountain runner of all time in 2020.

In 2007, she was one of 20 selected international athletes who participated in the Blue Planet Run around the world, a 95-day non-stop relay race which began at the United Nations in New York with the aim of providing safe drinking water to 200 million people by 2027.

In 2015, she guided blind runner Maria Williams in the London Marathon where Maria’s time earned her the number two spot in the International Paralympic rankings for the fully blind.

Melissa also volunteered at Wellington’s Compassion Centre for more than 10 years, is an ambassador for the Malaghan Institute and serves as a patron of Project K, a mentoring programme for youth that uses adventure-based learning.

2021 New Years Honours athletics recipients

Albert Archibald Jelley, OBE, Green Bay, Auckland, Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to athletics and the game of bridge

Donald William Mackenzie, Fendalton, Christchurch, Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to athletics and the community

Melissa Potocka Moon, Kelburn, Wellington, Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to athletics and charitable causes