Glory days . . . Waitaki Boys' High School Hall of Fame inductee Jack Sutherland with his most prized medals he won during his running career. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

Waitaki Boys’ High School has a proud sporting history and 14 of the school’s top sportsmen will be inducted into a new Sports Hall of Fame next month. Former pupils Ian Hurst, Scott Anderson, Gerald Keddell, Dylan Kennett, Emmett Gradwell, Parke Harris, Gary Robertson, Russell (Rusty) Robertson, William (Bill) Smedley, George Paterson, Keith Heselwood, Winston Stephens, Athol Hudson, John (Jack) Sutherland will be officially inducted at a black-tie event at the Loan and Merc on July 6, hosted by veteran broadcaster and former pupil Peter Williams.

Oamaru Mail reporter Gus Patterson finds out more about Jack Sutherland.

When Jack Sutherland represented New Zealand at the 1950 Empire Games in Auckland, it would be fair to say he was running for love not money.

Today’s athletes are given grants and endorsements from sponsors, but Sutherland even had to take holidays from his job to attend the event, now known as the Commonwealth Games.

He was given a singlet to wear in his two events, but had to buy his own running shorts on the morning of the event.

It would be hard to put a price on the bronze medal he won in the 4 x 440 yards relay, in front of in front of 40,000 home supporters though.

Running on a grass track at Eden Park, Sutherland also managed a fifth place in the individual 440 yard race.

The Games was a highlight of Sutherland’s running career that started in earnest at Waitaki Boys’ High School, where he will be inducted into the school’s Sports Hall of Fame next month.

He also competed for New Zealand against Australia in Wellington in 1949, where he was second in the 440 yards.

Sutherland was born in Oamaru in 1927, and still lives here, although when he competed in the Empire Games he was a member of the Christchurch Technical Club – moving to the Garden City to improve his running.

After a successful career in what were the glory days of athletics in New Zealand, he returned to Oamaru in 1953, bringing with him club-mate Joy Hill, who he later married.

The couple had three children, and after working for years at the Farmers Department Store, Sutherland ventured out on his own, establishing Sutherland’s Menswear in 1973, which is now owned by his son Graham.

Moving back to Oamaru did not stop his involvement in athletics, he coached for “years” and is a life member of the North Otago Harrier and Athletic Club.

He was also heavily involved with the Lions Club in North Otago and was instrumental in raising money for a number of community projects including a mobile intensive ambulance in 1976.

In 1992 he received a Queen’s Service Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to the community through the Lions Club and athletics

His latter years have been spent hacking a golf ball around and spending time with his family, which now includes nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Always a capable builder, he built a caravan and boat and the family has spent many summers at a crib in Otematata, which was also of his creations.

He is looking forward to attending the Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 6.

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