Don Oliver The Man

16th April 1937 – 26 February 1996

In New Zealand Don Oliver is perhaps best known as the man who captained Commonwealth and Olympic Games teams – and who himself won gold and silver medals in weightlifting.

The following sporting records and life achievements give an indication of the passion that Don brought to any area he was involved in:

  • Over 12 times Auckland Heavyweight Weightlifting Champion
  • Ten times consecutively New Zealand Heavyweight Weightlifting Champion
  • Represented New Zealand at three Commonwealth Games, twice as a competitor, once as a coach.
  • Represented New Zealand at three Olympic Games.
  • Commonwealth Silver Medalist, Perth, Australia.
  • Commonwealth Gold Medalist, Jamaica.
  • The only New Zealander to win the first weightlifting division at an Olympics, Tokyo.
  • Highest ever place-getter of any New Zealander at a World Championships, in Teheran, Iran. Placed fifth.
  • The only weightlifter to win the Landsdale Cup, awarded to the New Zealand Olympic Sports Person for the Year.
  • Received the international award, Elite Lifter.
  • The first New Zealander ever from any sport to captain more than one Commonwealth or Olympic Games team – an honour previously given only once to any person.
  • The first New Zealand weightlifter to break the 1000 pound total (weight lifting equivalent of the four minute mile), eventually achieving a total of 1120 pounds.
  • The first New Zealander to ever lift more than 400 pounds in the ‘Clean and Jerk.’
  • Most weightlifting medals won while coaching in any games, seven medals won with nine lifters at the Christchurch Commonwealth Games.
  • Broke more than 30 New Zealand and Commonwealth records.
  • Still has lifted the heaviest weight from floor to arms length above head – the Clean and Jerk ‘ – 205kg (452 lb). Achieved while defending his tenth New Zealand heavyweight title, breaking the New Zealand and Commonwealth record just before competing at the Mexico Olympic Games, where Don announced his retirement.
  • O.B.E. awarded for services to weightlifting.
  • Patron of the New Zealand Christian Sports Fellowship.
  • Inaugural Chairman of the Auckland Asthma Society, 1970 – 1973.
  • Patron of the Glen Eden Athletic Club 1994-5.
  • Inaugural Chairman of the New Zealand Federation of Fitness Centres 1988 – 1993
  • Inaugural Chairman of Fitness New Zealand 1993 – 1995. At the time of his death the organisation represented more than 50 per cent of all New Zealand fitness owner.
  • Awarded honorary Life Membership of the Auckland Weightlifting Association.
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Marriage Celebrant
  • A.C.P.H.E.R. (Fitness) Unit 1 & 2