New Zealand’s first participation in sports events for people with disabilities was in 1962 when an Auckland paraplegic attended the British Commonwealth Paraplegic Games held in Western Australia.
In 1965, Auckland established the first disability regional association and in 1966 a team comprising of nine Aucklanders and one Dunedin competitor were selected to attend the Commonwealth Games in Jamaica.
Christchurch held the first inter-regional games in 1966. In 1968, the first National Disabled Championships were held with 29 competitors. The Otago-Southland association was formed shortly after this event, followed by another in Wellington.
Also in 1968, the New Zealand Paraplegic & Physically Disabled Federation was formed as the National Sports Organisation for people with disabilities, to enable an official team to represent New Zealand at the Paralympic Games in Israel. 16 Para athletes competed and returned with one gold, two silver and one bronze medals.
In January 2007, the New Zealand Paraplegic & Physically Disabled Federation changed its name to become Paralympics New Zealand. This was to gain greater public awareness and raise the profile of disability sport by focusing on its most prestigious event - the Paralympic Games.
1968 New Zealand Paralympic Games Team