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Wellington Velodrome

Wellington Velodrome is a 333m outdoor concrete track located in Hataitai Park in Wellington City.  Access by car is off Ruahine Street (State Highway 1) and pedestrian or bike access is via an overbridge located on Taurima Street near the Hataitai shops.  The track is located at the top of the park above the netball courts.

There is plenty of free parking close to the velodrome. There are toilets and changing rooms on site. Contact the Track Committee at track@pnp.org.nz if you have questions or just want to give it a go.

A history of the velodrome and its riders

1928: The Laykold Cup, donated by New Zealand Laykold Limited, was first presented to the winner of a five mile handicap race held at the Petone Rec.

1940-1067: In 1940 the asphalt track in Petone was closed and by 1948 the Wellington cycling clubs and the City council were still looking at parks to build a new banked track. Kilbirnie, Wakefield and Nairnville parks were all considered as sites but none of them were standout choices. At this time a 440m track was thought to be appropriate but by 1956 no progress had been made other than considering a 250m track which had now become popular overseas.

Another seven years later, Hataitai park, filled with slag from the Mt Victoria tunnel, was selected and a decision finally made that it was going to be the Olympic distance (at the time) of 333m. The next problem for the cycling clubs and city council was how steep to have the banking. The argument being that while steeper banking would make it faster for national and international competition, it would put off younger riders and so impede the development of the sport.

1967: Work begins at Hataitai Park with 28 degrees the agreed banking steepness.

14 December 1968: The track is completed and the official opening meeting features John Dean, Neil Lyster, Bruce Goldsworthy, Mike Litolff and Harry Kent and many more.

March 1969: WNTV televises a track meeting live from the velodrome, and “all parties were pleased with the performance”.

1970: Harry Kent, a Hutt resident and Hataitai Park regular, wins NZ’s first gold medal at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games in the kilometre time trial. Kent went on to win a silver at the World Championships in Leicester, UK, later that year.

March 1972: National Hard Track Championships are held at Hataitai. It rained a lot, and due to the lack of floodlighting, the Championships never came back to Wellington.

January 1981: New Zealand Summer Games takes place as a substitute for countries who boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980. Much of the track racing took place at Hataitai. Australian Kenrick Tucker sets the fastest ever Kilometre TT on Hataitai with 1:08.87.

March 1981: Wellington’s Chris Taylor wins the under 17 500m TT National Track Championship in Levin with a 36.14 second ride, setting a new New Zealand record.

November 1981Blenheim’s Alan Miller (who later became World Junior Kilometre TT Champion in 1983) breaks Taylor’s under 17 500 TT record on Hataitai with 34.83 seconds, it held until Sam Webster broke it on the Invercargill velodrome in 2007.

March 1982Another Wellington under 17 Ian Ellis wins bronze in the 500m TT at the National Track Champs held at Denton Park in Christchurch.

1984Trevor Rice in the lead (above). Trevor was one of the most prolific local athletes to compete on Hataitai, winning a huge amount of Wellington Centre medals and a number of elite national track titles. He also had a successful road career, racing in the Dulux Tour and representing New Zealand.

1985/1986The Marlborough and Nelson regions leave the Wellington Centre to form Tasman, taking many quality riders with them.

1992-1995: Track closes due to the duckboards at the bottom of the track becoming unsafe.

1995Repairs made to the boards and some grinding work is done to smooth out some of the slabs however track racing languishes and soon ceases altogether.

Early 2003: Kevin Smith brings a group of local cyclists together to revive racing at the velodrome including, Rachel Anderson-Smith, Olympian Robyn Wong, Christian Wrengler, Aaron Stagg and Gary Gibson.

November 2003: Track repaired and racing resumes on Tuesday nights.

December 2003: Official re-opening meeting takes place with Sarah Ulmer cutting the tape and dozens of riders in attendance.

2007: Long time PNP club member Garry Humpherson wins individual pursuit gold at the World Masters Track Championships.

2008: Wellingtonian Paula Tesoriero wins Paralympic Gold at the Beijing Olympics in the 500m Time Trial, following up from her World Championship victory in 2006.

2008: Lizzie Clements and Hayley Giddons win Wellington’s first medals in a National Track Championship since the reopening.

2010: uniors Ele Pepperell, Gaby Peach and Beth Balmer win medals for Wellington, the first at an Age Group National Championship since the reopening.

4 November 2012: First Speed League race meeting held – click to read archived news article.

March 2014: George Jackson becomes the first male to win a medal for Wellington at the National Track Championships since the 1980s when he takes bronze in the under 15 Points Race.

11 March 2014: New Hour Record for the track established by Nick Warren who rode 41.135km. The mark is broken just over a year later by Steve Bale with 41.974km.

October 2014: First junior representing NZ to win a medal at the Oceania Games (Adelaide) since the track reopening. Ione Johnson wins silver in the under 19 women’s points race.

6 May 2015: Harry Kent honoured at the opening of the Avantidrome’s new Walk of Champions in Cambridge.

Many thanks to Gary Gibson, Chris Taylor, Ian Ellis and Trevor Rice for their help putting this page together.