John Holland (athlete)

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John Holland
Personal information
Birth nameJohn Macfarlane Holland
Born(1926-12-20)20 December 1926
Auckland, New Zealand
Died9 June 1990(1990-06-09) (aged 63)
Height1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)[1]
Weight81 kg (179 lb)[1]
Spouse(s)Valerie Eileen Holland
CountryNew Zealand
SportTrack and field
Achievements and titles
National finals120 yd hurdles champion (1950, 1951, 1952, 1955)
220 yd hurdles champion (1951, 1952)
440 yd hurdles champion (1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1952)[2]
Personal best(s)400 m hurdles: 51.9 s[1]

John Macfarlane "Dutch" Holland (20 December 1926 – 9 June 1990) was a New Zealand athlete who competed mainly in hurdles events. His greatest international success was in the 400 metre/440 yards hurdles.

Early life and family[edit]

Born in the Auckland suburb of Mount Albert on 20 December 1926, Holland was the son of Rachel Colquhoun Holland (née Elliffe) and Daniel Dealy Holland, a journalist.[1][3][4] His sister, Joan, was the principal of St Cuthbert's College from 1969 to 1989.[4][5]


Holland first came to national prominence when he won the New Zealand under-19 220 yards hurdles title in 1945.[2] He went on to win a total of 11 senior national athletics titles: the 120 yards hurdles in 1950, 1951, 1952, and 1955; the 220 yd hurdles in 1951 and 1952; and the 440 yd hurdles in 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, and 1952.[2] He was also the New Zealand record-holder for all three hurdles disciplines.

Competing for New Zealand in the men's 400 m hurdles at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, Holland won his heat, but finished sixth in his semi-final and did not progress further.[1] Four years later, at the 1952 Summer Olympics held in Helsinki, he competed in the same event, winning the bronze medal.[1]

Holland competed at the 1950 British Empire Games held in Auckland, where he won the silver medal in the 440 yards hurdles, and a bronze medal as a member of the New Zealand 4 x 400 yards relay team with Dave Batten, Derek Steward and Jack Sutherland. He also finished fifth in the 120 yards hurdles.[6]

In 1983, Holland was named the Auckland University Track Club's athlete of the century.[7]

Later life and death[edit]

After a period teaching, including at Southwell School in Hamilton,[8] Holland worked in the sales section of Shell Oil for over 25 years.[9] He died after a long illness, survived by his wife Val and two sons.[10]

Honorific eponym[edit]

Holland and his Olympic team mate, Maurice Marshall, have parallel streets, Holland Road and Marshall Street, in Hamilton named after them.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "John Holland". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Hollings, Stephen (December 2016). "National champions 1887–2016" (PDF). Athletics New Zealand. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Births". New Zealand Herald. 21 December 1926. p. 1. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b "The Mt Albert houses of Basil Hooper" (PDF). Mount Albert Historical Society News (35): 1. July 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  5. ^ Lynn, Alastair (17 July 2015). "Obituary: Joan Holland, a dedicated educator". Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  6. ^ "John Holland". New Zealand Olympic Committee. 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Athletic club celebrates 100 years" (PDF). Ingenio. University of Auckland (Autumn 2009): 36. 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Obituary: Maurice Marshall" (PDF). Chronicle. Southwell School (December 2013): 1. 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Death of double Olympian". New Zealand Herald. 13 June 1990. p. 4/1.
  10. ^ "John Holland death notice". New Zealand Herald. 12 June 1990. p. 3/22.

External links[edit]