Les Mills
36th Mayor of Auckland City
In office
Preceded byCatherine Tizard
Succeeded byChristine Fletcher
Personal details
Leslie Roy Mills

(1934-11-01) 1 November 1934 (age 89)
Auckland, New Zealand
SpouseColleen Maree Mills (d. 2005)
ChildrenPhillip Mills
Donna Mills
Sports career
Height188 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Weight121 kg (267 lb)
Event(s)Shot put, discus throw
Sports achievements and titles
Personal best(s)Shot put – 19.80 m (1967)
Discus – 61.52 m (1971)[1][2]
Medal record
Men's athletics
Representing  New Zealand
Commonwealth Games
Silver medal – second place 1958 Cardiff Discus throw
Gold medal – first place 1966 Kingston Discus throw
Silver medal – second place 1966 Kingston Shot put
Silver medal – second place 1970 Edinburgh Discus throw
Bronze medal – third place 1970 Edinburgh Shot put

Leslie Roy Mills CNZM MBE JP (born 1 November 1934) is a retired New Zealand track and field athlete and politician. He represented New Zealand at the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games over two decades, competing in the shot put and discus throw. He won a total of five medals at the Commonwealth Games including gold in the discus at the 1966 Games.[1]

Mills opened his first gym in 1968,[3] giving his name to Les Mills International, a fitness-centric company founded by his son Phillip Mills.[4] Mills later went on to serve as the Mayor of Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, from 1990 to 1998.

Athletics career

Mills has trained New Zealand throwers including Beatrice Faumuina. His personal best for the shot put was a New Zealand national record for 44 years, until 16-year-old Jacko Gill broke it on 23 April 2011 with a throw of 20.01 m.[6]

Mayor of Auckland City

Mills served as the Mayor of Auckland City between 1990 and 1998.[7] His Mayoral term commenced with a by-election in 1990 after the resignation of Dame Catherine Tizard, who had been appointed Governor-General. The new council had been formed following local body amalgamation in 1989 which saw many of the district borough councils merged into one larger city. Mills' first term oversaw the merger of these many district boroughs into one city. The Aotea Centre was also opened at the beginning of his term. Other initiatives which commenced on Mills' watch as Mayor included the introduction of the green "wheelie bins", metered user charges for water use, council assets like golf courses were leased to private management, and the city also quit some assets that no longer were of priority, like its abattoir.

Other major events during Mills' tenure included work commencing on the America's Cup Village at the Auckland viaduct, the commencement and opening of the Sky Tower and Casino complex that now dominates the Auckland skyline, the redevelopment of the Civic theatre, and refurbishment of the Auckland Town Hall.

During this period, the 1998 Auckland power crisis occurred, which shut down most of the inner city. Mills' Britomart Transport Centre plans also came under some criticism as being too focused on property development and not enough on transport. His successor Christine Fletcher led plans for a scaled down Britomart Station without the large property development plans.

Mills was defeated in a three-way contest against businessman Richard Holden and eventual winner Christine Fletcher in 1998. Mills himself was absent for most of the election campaign, leading the New Zealand team at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, and mentoring the gold medal-winning discus thrower Beatrice Faumuina.

Honours and awards

In the 1973 Queen's Birthday Honours, Mills was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire, for services to sport.[8] In the 2002 Queen's Birthday and Golden Jubilee Honours, he was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to local government and sport.[9]

In 2022, Mills and his son Phillip and daughter-in-law Jackie Mills were jointly inducted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Les Mills". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020.
  2. ^ Leslie Mills. trackfield.brinkster.net
  3. ^ Les Mills International: History of Les Mills. lesmills.com
  4. ^ "Planet Fitness". Archived from the original on 4 December 2004. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  5. ^ a b Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "New Zealand". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Athletics: Jacko's massive throw an absolute thriller". nzherald. 24 April 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  7. ^ Orsman, Bernard (11 October 2004). "Race is over – now hard work begins". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
  8. ^ "No. 45985". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 2 June 1973. p. 6509.
  9. ^ "Queen's Birthday and Golden Jubilee honours list 2002". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 3 June 2002. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  10. ^ "Past laureates". Business Hall of Fame. Retrieved 19 February 2023.
Political offices Preceded byCatherine Tizard Mayor of Auckland City 1990–1998 Succeeded byChristine Fletcher Awards Preceded byHarry Kent Lonsdale Cup of the New Zealand Olympic Committee 1971 Succeeded byRod Dixon