Arthur Espie Porritt, 1st Baron of Wanganui and Hampstead, led a life of achievement as a sportsman, a sports administrator, a surgeon, a health administrator and as the first New Zealander to become governor-general of his own country. Born in Wanganui on 10 August 1900, Porritt was educated at Wanganui Collegiate School and at Otago University, where he showed prominence in athletics, though also played rugby for University. He won the national 100 yards title in 1923 then took up his Rhodes Scholarship and was chosen to run in the Paris Olympics in 1924. Porritt was third in the final behind his friend, Harold Abrahams, and American Jackson Scholz. Porritt was also chosen for the Amsterdam Olympics but was injured and couldn’t run and was captain of the team instead. He was manager of the New Zealand team at the Empire Games in London in 1934 and the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936 where he advised Jack Lovelock to run in the 1500 metres instead of the 5000 metres. Porritt also served as president of the Commonwealth Games Federation and was a member of the International Olympic Committee. Porritt trained as a doctor at St Mary’s Hospital in London, where he spent the rest of his working life in various surgical appointments. He served with the Royal Army Medical Corps in World War II, being discharged as a brigadier, and provided professional service to the British royal family, beginning with being appointed as surgeon to the Duke of York (later King George VI) in 1935.
Personal Bests: 100y – 9.8 (1923); 200 – 21.5 (1925).