Auckland Empire Games


In September 1949, the Amateur Athletic Association announced the names of the athletes invited to represent England in the track and field events of the British Empire Games in Auckland the following February. Both Wells and Pavitt were selected.

By modern standards the Games were very small - with 590 athletes representing 12 countries. They ran between 4 and 11 February 1950.

Travel to Auckland

Whilst some athletes who couldn't get extended leave flew to New Zealand, the rest went by boat. In those days the flight took about 5 days, and the boat took about 5 weeks. Wells was able to secure 3 months leave and sailed with the rest of the team on the Tamaroa from Southampton on December 16, 1949, arriving in Auckland on January 21, 1950.

Coming from an English winter with no available indoor training facilities, and then 5 weeks on a boat journey to New Zealand was not ideal preparation. Wells also twisted his ankle on the boat jumping over a net which set back his training.

High Jump Competition

The high jump was held on the first day of competition. The gold medal was won by John Winter, with Wells coming in 5th.

Emigrating to New Zealand

Peter was so taken with New Zealand that he didn't travel back to England with the team, but stayed on in New Zealand, where he made his home for the next 68 years.
Peter Wells on 10th February 1950, in final practice at Auckland for the Empire Games