News & Updates

6 July 2022 • Community

North Island Colgate Games relocates to historic Cooks Gardens

Cooks Gardens in Whanganui will host the 2023 North Island Colgate Games (Photo: Getty Images)

Due to a large-scale music event that has recently been organised in Palmerston North on the same weekend as the Colgate Games, we have made the decision to relocate the 2023 North Island Colgate Games to nearby Whanganui on 6-8 January.

Since Palmerston North was announced in January as the venue for the 2023 North Island Colgate Games – the music event has subsequently been organised to take place in the city on the same weekend, and with more than 10,000 people expected to attend this has led to a severe shortage of accommodation options. Given that the lack of accommodation will mean a large proportion of kids and families will not be able to attend, Athletics NZ made the decision to seek an alternative venue.

We are delighted, however, that Whanganui and the fabled Cooks Gardens will now host the iconic athletics competition for kids aged seven to 14.  

While some parents will already have booked their accommodation in Palmerston North we hope that Whanganui – which is located just 50 minutes’ drive away – will not significantly impact on any plans.

Cooks Gardens has served many iconic moments in the history of New Zealand athletics and memorably was the scene of the 1962 world mile record of Sir Peter Snell. Earlier this year the venue was awarded the World Athletics Heritage Plaque, a location-based recognition, awarded for an outstanding contribution to the worldwide history and development of the sport of track and field athletics.

The Cooks Classic – one of New Zealand’s premier one day meets – is annually staged at Cooks Gardens.

Athletics NZ CEO Peter Pfitzinger said: “While our intention was to stage the North Island Colgate Games in Palmerston North, we felt that the best option, given the changing circumstances, was to find an alternative location. We are delighted that Whanganui has stepped in to stage the hugely popular event. It is a venue that provides a rich tradition for staging top quality athletics events.”

Jonathan Sykes, the Strategic Lead – Marketing at Whanganui & Partners, who has worked with Athletics NZ to enable the 2023 North Island Colgate Games to be hosted at Cooks Gardens, said:  

“We’re thrilled to be able to host the Colgate Games in Whanganui. This competition further bolsters Whanganui’s summer events season and complements our Cooks Classic athletics event in the same month. Whanganui is famous for its strengths as a base for sports of all kinds and we’re sure the young athletes and their families will feel right at home in our city and at Cooks Gardens itself.”

Whanganui last staged the North Island Colgate Games in 2009 when World Championship-bound sprinter and national women’s 200m champion Georgia Hulls was one of hundreds of kids who competed at the event.

Georgia said: “I have many happy memories of competing at North Island Colgate Games in Whanganui. Cooks Gardens is always an outstanding venue with a great atmosphere and I’m sure all the competing kids will have many cherished memories of competing there next summer.”

***For help is finding accommodation in Whanganui go here

***For more information on the 2023 North Island Colgate Games and the South Island Colgate Games in Timaru 13-15 January go here