Dick Quax

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Dick Quax
File:Dick Quax (1977).jpg
Quax in 1977
Personal information
Full name Theodorus Jacobus Leonardus Quax
Citizenship New Zealander
Born (1948-01-01) 1 January 1948 (age 71)
Alkmaar, Netherlands
Coached by John Davies
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 5,000 m – 13:12.87
10,000 m – 27:41.95
Marathon – 2:10:47

Theodorus Jacobus Leonardus "Dick" Quax (born 1 January 1948) is a New Zealand runner and former world record holder in the 5000 metres, and local-body politician. He 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 has been an Auckland Councillor since 2011.

Athletic career

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.[1] He did not compete in 1980 in Moscow due to the West's boycott.[1]

In 1977 at Stockholm he 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.[2]

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.

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. In 1980 he returned and won the race in a New Zealand record time of 2:10.47.

After retiring from competition, Quax established a career in sports management.

Personal bests

Distance Time Place Date
5000 m 13:12.87 Stockholm 1977
10000 m 27:41.95 NR London 1977


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 mayoralty. He is a member of the ACT Party, having stood as a list candidate in the 1999 and 2002 general elections.

On 13 October 2007 Quax lost his bid to become mayor of Manukau to Len Brown by 14,000 votes.[3] 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.

Auckland Council
Years Ward Affiliation
2011–2013 Howick Citizens & Ratepayers
2013–present 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.[4] He was re-elected unopposed in 2013.

During the 2013 Len Brown mayoral scandal Quax took the opportunity for political payback against Mr 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.[5]


Dick Quax tweeted[6] in January 2015 about his disbelief that anyone in the Western world would go shopping by means of a train or bicycle (or by bus, ferry, etc., presumably). Twitter users responded by creating the #quaxing hashtag, defined below.[7] The Public Address website voted quaxing as its word of the year 2015, followed by Red Peak and Twitterati.[8]

   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 [9]


   quaxer, n., one who quaxes.
   quaxable, adj., something with which one may quax.

Personal life

Quax and his family arrived in New Zealand from the Netherlands during the 1950s, and according to an interview in the New Zealand Listener travelled on the same ship as former Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.[10] Quax became a naturalised New Zealander in 1969.[11]

It was revealed on 27 November 2013 that Quax had been undergoing treatment for throat cancer which had been diagnosed in September that year.[12]

Quax married three times, his third marriage being to Roxanne in August 1991.[13] Quax has three children,Tania, Jacob and Theo.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Dick Quax". Olympic.org.nz. 2014-07-31. Retrieved 2015-05-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. [1] Archived 14 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Gay, Edward (13 October 2007). "New faces aplenty in local government shake-ups". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 28 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Quax wins Howick by-election". Stuff.co.nz. 27 May 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Auckland Mayor Len Brown censured in council meeting | Morning Report, 7:18 am on 20 December 2013 | Radio New Zealand". Radionz.co.nz. 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2015-05-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "By the Motorway – What in the world is #quaxing?". Bythemotorway.be. 2015-05-07. Retrieved 2015-05-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Johnston, Kirsty (12 May 2015). "'Quaxing' becomes byword in verbal battle over bike". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 12 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Ferguson, Susie (21 December 2015). "The Word of The Year: "Quaxing"". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 21 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "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. 2015-04-25. Retrieved 2015-05-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Joris de Bres (1997). "The Boat People". Debres.co.nz. Retrieved 2015-05-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "New Zealand, naturalisations, 1843–1981". Ancestry.com Operations. 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2015. (Subscription required (help)).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Olympian battling throat cancer". Nzherald.co.nz. Retrieved 2015-05-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Hewitson, Michelle (2 July 2011). "Michele Hewitson Interview: Dick Quax". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 26 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Preceded by
Belgium Emiel Puttemans
Men's 5000m World record holder
5 July 1977 – 8 April 1978
Succeeded by
Kenya Henry Rono
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Belgium Emiel Puttemans
Men's 5000m best year performance
1976 — 1977
Succeeded by
Kenya Henry Rono
Preceded by
John Walker
Lonsdale Cup of the New Zealand Olympic Committee
Succeeded by
Rebecca Perrott