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Dick Quax

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Dick Quax
Quax in 1977
Personal information
Full nameTheodorus Jacobus Leonardus Quax
CitizenshipNew Zealand
Born(1948-01-01)1 January 1948
Alkmaar, Netherlands
Died28 May 2018(2018-05-28) (aged 70)
Auckland, New Zealand
Coached byJohn Davies
Achievements and titles
National finals1 mile champion (1969)
5000 m champion (1972, 1973, 1974)
Personal best(s)5,000 m – 13:12.87
10,000 m – 27:41.95
Marathon – 2:10:47
Medal record
Men's athletics
Representing  New Zealand
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 1976 Montreal 5000 metres
Commonwealth Games
Silver medal – second place 1970 Edinburgh 1500 metres

Theodorus Jacobus Leonardus "Dick" Quax (1 January 1948 – 28 May 2018) was a Dutch-born New Zealand runner, one-time world record holder in the 5000 metres, and local-body politician.

Quax stood for Parliament for the ACT Party in 1999 and 2002. He was a Manukau City councillor from 2001 to 2007, when he stood unsuccessfully for mayor, and was a councillor on the Auckland Council from 2011 until his death in 2018.

Athletic career[edit]

Quax won four New Zealand national athletics titles: the 5000 m in 1972, 1973, and 1974; and the one mile in 1969.[1]

At the 1970 British Commonwealth Games, Quax won the silver medal in the 1500 metres. In the 5000 m, at the 1972 Summer Olympics he was eliminated in the heats, but he won silver in 1976.[2] He did not compete in 1980 in Moscow due to the West's boycott.[2]

In 1977 at Stockholm Quax set a world record of 13:12.9 in the 5000 m. This record stood for less than a year, but as a national record it stood for over 31 years, until beaten by Adrian Blincoe in July 2008.[3]

Early in 1980 at Stanford Stadium Quax missed Jos Hermens' 15 km world record by five seconds, running a New Zealand national record of 43:01.7.[4] In his later career Quax switched his focus to the marathon, running 2:11.13 in his debut for 4th place at the Nike OTC Marathon in 1979, at that time the fastest debut marathon in history.[5] In 1980 he returned and won the race in a New Zealand record time of 2:10.47.[6] After retiring from competition, Quax established a career in sports management.[7] He also coached his son, Theo,[8] the New Zealand U18[9] and U20 Champion [10] for 1500 m.

Personal bests[edit]

Distance Time Place Date
5000 m 13:12.87 Stockholm 1977
10000 m 27:41.95 London 1977[11]

Political career[edit]

Quax was a member of the ACT Party and stood in the 1999 election in the Pakuranga electorate but was unsuccessful.[12] He was ranked 11th on the ACT party list, which was too low to be elected from the list, as only the first 9 candidates got returned.[13] He stood again in the 2002 general election.[14]

In October 2001 Quax was elected to the Manukau City Council for the Pakuranga ward and was re-elected in 2004 to represent the new Botany-Clevedon ward after a failed bid for the Manukau City mayoralty. On 13 October 2007 Quax lost his bid to become mayor of Manukau City to Len Brown by 14,000 votes.[15]

During this election, Quax complained to the electoral office over an "offensive flyer" depicting him and members of his People's Choice party as the Thunderbirds. His complaint was not upheld as there was no evidence to suggest who had posted the flyers.[5]

Auckland Council
Years Ward Affiliation
2011–13 Howick Citizens & Ratepayers
2013–16 Howick Independent
2016–18 Howick Independent

Quax stood for Citizens & Ratepayers in the 2010 Auckland Council elections, losing to Jami-Lee Ross by 253 votes. In 2011 Quax was elected to the council after a by-election was held in Howick due to Ross resigning after becoming a Member of Parliament.[16] He was re-elected unopposed in 2013.

During the 2013 Len Brown mayoral scandal, Quax took the opportunity for political payback against Brown, leading the call for him to resign for not declaring hotel upgrades as gifts. It emerged that Quax had also not filed returns on the gifts he had received during the previous term.[17]

Quax was re-elected in the 2016 Auckland elections.[18]

In his tenure as councilor, he opposed high density housing[19] and public transportation,[20] and supported selling Auckland's council-owned water and wastewater supplier Watercare Services.[21] While originally opposing the council's proposed Unitary Plan, Quax later supported the plan in full.[22] Quax was described by The New Zealand Herald as "right wing".[23]

Personal life[edit]

Quax and his family arrived in New Zealand from the Netherlands on 10 October 1954.[24] According to an interview in the New Zealand Listener the family had travelled on the same ship as future Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.[25] Quax became a naturalised New Zealander in 1969.[26]

Quax married three times, his third marriage being to Roxanne in August 1991.[27] He had three children, with Theo being on the NAU Lumberjacks cross country team.[2]


Quax tweeted[28] in January 2015 about his disbelief that anyone in the Western world would go shopping by means of "walking, cycling, or public transit." Twitter users responded by creating the hashtag "#quaxing".[29] The Public Address website voted "quaxing" as its word of the year 2015, followed by "Red Peak" and "twitterati".[30]

Quax, [verb; past: quaxed, present: quaxing] — to shop, in the western world, by means of walking, cycling or public transit. #quaxing

— Non-motorist (@ByTheMotorway), 26 April 2015[31]

Illness and death[edit]

It was revealed on 27 November 2013 that Quax had been undergoing treatment for throat cancer, which had been diagnosed two months earlier.[32]

Quax died of cancer in Auckland on 28 May 2018, aged 70.[33][34]


  1. ^ Hollings, Stephen (December 2016). "National champions 1887–2016" (PDF). anzrankings.org.nz. Athletics New Zealand. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Dick Quax". Olympic.org.nz. New Zealand Olympic Committee. 31 July 2014. Archived from the original on 23 November 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Adrian Blincoe Breaks Dick Quax's 31 Year Old 5000m Record". athletics.org.nz. 21 July 2008. Archived from the original on 14 October 2008.
  4. ^ "Dick Quax Profile". RacingPast.ca. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Atleet Dick Quax overleden (video)". Hardloopnieuws.no (in Dutch). 28 May 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  6. ^ "RESULTS OF 1980". The Washington Post. 28 December 1980. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Obituary: Dick Quax, Olympic medallist and Auckland politician, dies aged 70". TVNZ.co.nz. Retrieved 31 May 2018. After [Quax's] running days were over, a stint in sports management led to a career in local body politics.
  8. ^ "Like father, like son: Theo Quax smashes personal best in national 1500m win". CollegeSportMedia.co.nz. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  9. ^ "2016 Lion Foundation NZ Track and Field Champs – Results" (PDF). Athletics.org.nz. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 July 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  10. ^ "NZ Track and Field Champs 2017 – Results" (PDF). athletics.org.nz. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 March 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  11. ^ "Olympic medallist Dick Quax passes away". SportzHub.com. 28 May 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Candidate vote details – Pakuranga". ElectionResults.govt.nz. Electoral Commission. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Party Lists of Successful Registered Parties". ElectionResults.govt.nz. Electoral Commission. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  14. ^ "Olympic medallist, councillor Dick Quax dies aged 70". The New Zealand Herald. 28 May 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018. He stood for Parliament for Act in 1999 and 2002. In 2007 he was beaten by Len Brown for the Manukau mayoralty.
  15. ^ Gay, Edward (13 October 2007). "New faces aplenty in local government shake-ups". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  16. ^ "Quax wins Howick by-election". Stuff.co.nz. 27 May 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  17. ^ "Auckland Mayor Len Brown censured in council meeting | Morning Report, 7:18 am on 20 December 2013". Radionz.co.nz. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Issue: Mayor (1) – Auckland Council – Final Results" (PDF). AucklandCouncil.govt.nz. 13 October 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 October 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  19. ^ Quax, Dick (12 March 2013). "Dick Quax: High density urban housing never been embraced". NZ Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  20. ^ Quax, Dick (2 January 2015). "@lukechristensen @BenRoss_AKL @Brycepearce no one in the entire western world uses the train for their shopping trips". @DickQuax. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  21. ^ Quax, Dick (28 June 2017). "Dick Quax: Auckland Council should sell some of Watercare to sovereign funds". NZ Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  22. ^ "What the hell just happened at the Unitary Plan hearings?". The Spinoff. 10 August 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  23. ^ Orsman, Bernard (17 May 2017). "Phil Goff: Splitting port company from the land makes sense but will be Council's call in 20 years". The New Zealand Herald. Right-wing councillor Dick Quax said he would be comfortable...
  24. ^ "Dick Quax's funeral today in Parnell, Auckland". NZ Herald. 2 June 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  25. ^ Joris de Bres (1997). "The Boat People". Debres.co.nz. Archived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  26. ^ "New Zealand, naturalisations, 1843–1981". Ancestry.com Operations. 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  27. ^ Hewitson, Michelle (2 July 2011). "Michele Hewitson Interview: Dick Quax". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  28. ^ "By the Motorway – What in the world is #quaxing?". Bythemotorway.be. 7 May 2015. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  29. ^ Johnston, Kirsty (12 May 2015). "'Quaxing' becomes byword in verbal battle over bike". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  30. ^ Ferguson, Susie (21 December 2015). "The Word of The Year: "Quaxing"". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  31. ^ "Non-motorist on Twitter: "Quax, [verb; past: quaxed, present: quaxing] — to shop, in the western world, by means of walking, cycling or public transit. #quaxing"". Twitter.com. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  32. ^ "Olympian battling throat cancer". Nzherald.co.nz. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  33. ^ "New Zealand running great Dick Quax dies, aged 70, after long battle with cancer". Stuff.co.nz. 28 May 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  34. ^ "NZ running legend Dick Quax dies". Radio New Zealand. 27 May 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2018.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Men's 5000m World record holder
5 July 1977 – 8 April 1978
Succeeded by
Sporting positions
Preceded by Men's 5000m best year performance
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lonsdale Cup of the New Zealand Olympic Committee
Succeeded by