Biography

Chris White
Born 1960

Chris White was one of the giants of New Zealand rowing.

He first represented New Zealand at senior level at the 1981 world championships in Munich, West Germany, when, aged only 20, he was a member of the eight.

White was in the New Zealand world champion eights crews in 1982 and 1983 (the 1982 crew won the Sportsman of the Year award and was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1995) and narrowly missed an Olympic medal in Los Angeles in 1984 when the eight placed fourth, having won their heat.

At the 1986 Commonwealth Games White was in the coxed four - along with Nigel Atherfold, Andrew Bird, Bruce Holden and Greg Johnston - that won a silver medal. Even better, that coxed four also won a silver medal at the 1986 world championships in Nottingham.

In 1987, White was back in the New Zealand eight for the world championships, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

At Seoul, at the 1988 Olympics, White was a member – along with Johnston, George Keys, Ian Wright and Bird - of the coxed four that won the bronze medal. The New Zealanders finished third in their heat, third in the semi-final and in the final trailed East Germany and Romania but comfortably held off Great Britain and the United States for third.

White aged well. He represented New Zealand in the 1990 world championships, at Lake Barrington, Australia, rowing in the coxless pairs with Keys, and at the 1991 world championships, in Vienna, Austria, when he was in the eight.

He was still going strong in 1992, when the coxless four he was in finished sixth at the Barcelona Olympics. At the 1995 world championships, in Tampere, Finland, White was a member of the coxed four that won a silver medal.

This durable oarsman farewelled the Olympics at Atlanta in 1996, when he was a member of the coxless four that finished 13th.

White won an astounding number of national titles with the powerful Waikato club: the eights 11 years in succession from 1981-91; the fours in seven consecutive years, from 1984-90; the coxless four in 1991 and 1996; the coxless pairs in 1988 and 1989; the quadruple sculls six successive years, from 1992-97; and the coxed pairs in 10 straight years, from 1981-90. That gave him a total of 38 redcoats, easily the New Zealand record.

Though White became a financial consultant, he remained heavily involved in rowing. He managed world champion rowers Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell for a time, and became president of the Waikato Rowing Club.

He was a member of the athletes support staff at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and 2004 Athens Olympics, was chef de mission of New Zealand’s team to the 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo, and was one of the officials with the New Zealand’s Olympic Youth Festival team in Sydney in 2005.

White, who won the Lonsdale Cup in 1995, was a long-serving member of the New Zealand Olympic Committee’s athletes commission and also served as a Halberg Academy member.