The opening ceremony of the ‘Friendly Games’ had featured performances by schoolchildren and a Māori concert party. Next day, Canterbury runner Dick Tayler ensured the success of the Games with a surprise victory for the host nation in the 10,000 m track race.
Faced with demands for revenge after 22 settlers were killed in an incident in the Wairau Valley, Governor Robert FitzRoy decided that Māori had been provoked by the unreasonable actions of the Europeans.
The 23-year-old Olympic 800-m champion hoped to run the first four-minute mile on New Zealand soil. In fact, he broke Australian Herb Elliott’s 3½-year-old world record by the smallest possible margin, 0.1 seconds.