Back to top anchor

Statement on the Passing of Sir Peter Snell

Press Release - Parkinson’s New Zealand / December 16, 2019

Parkinson’s New Zealand creates an award in memory of Ambassador and legendary NZ Olympian, Sir Peter Snell

Wellington, NZ: We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Sir Peter George Snell on December 12, 2019, at the age of 80 in Dallas, Texas.

Our sincere condolences are with Peter Snell's family during this painful time. Our hearts especially go out to his wife, Miki, as well as everybody touched by Peter’s extraordinary talents.

Despite living in the U.S., Peter kept his connections with home alive in many ways, including as a Patron and Ambassador of Parkinson's NZ for nearly two decades.

Peter’s late brother, Jack, had Parkinson’s, which inspired the legendary sprinter to mobilise awareness for the condition.

In mid-2016, we were extremely grateful for Peter’s generous gesture to donate some proceeds from his $122,500 sale of the singlet he wore during his record-breaking 1965 Tokyo Olympics campaign. Peter has also spearheaded several fundraising dinners to support our charity.

“To show our gratitude to Peter Snell for the support he gave Parkinson’s New Zealand over the years, we will introduce the “Peter Snell Get Going” Award in his honour, pending permission from the family,” says PNZ Board Chairman, Peter Garelja.

Peter’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless inspirations that continue to enrich and improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s. The world is immeasurably better because of Peter.

Parkinson's NZ will award the “Peter Snell Get Going” Award in Peter’s honour to the person/s who challenge themselves to use exercise in raising funds and awareness of Parkinson’s in New Zealand.

We fondly remember Peter as a terrific supporter of the "Get Going for Parkinson’s" initiative. To start things off for new members to the programme, Peter designed a pack that included training tips from the Opunake-born Olympian.

Peter continues to inspire us to use sporting events and other physical challenges to get fit and raise funds at the same time.

Nearly 60 years after setting them, Peter still holds the NZ records for 800 & 1,000-metre races, to this very day. 

We will forever be appreciative of Peter Snell’s generous support of people living with Parkinson’s in New Zealand.


To find out more about Parkinson’s visit the Parkinson’s New Zealand website or phone 0800 473 4636.

For more information about our communications ops, kindly contact Helen Carter, Communications and Marketing Manager on 027 218 7358.

Last updated