Posted on Thursday 30th April, 2020

In May 2019 Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) launched The Celebration Project  officially ‘numbering’ and acknowledging New Zealand’s 209 Paralympians and protecting the heritage of the Paralympic Movement in New Zealand for future generations. The desired outcome is to positively influence community perceptions of disabled people and promote diversity and inclusion.

As of 18 May 2020 and thanks to the support of the NZ public we now only have 9 New Zealand Paralympians to find (or their family if they passed away) and we would greatly appreciate your further assistance with this.

Please contact Laure Gruffat, PNZ Events and Digital Coordinator at lgruffat@paralympics.org.nz if you have any additional information on those Paralympians.

Paralympian #1 Norman Brown

Norman immigrated from England with his mother. He made his Paralympic debut at the Tel Aviv 1968 Paralympic Games, as a member of New Zealand’s first ever Paralympic team. Norman was a talented Paralympian competing in a variety of Para sports including Para archery, Para swimming and Para table tennis. In Israel, Norman finished 6th in his heat of the 25m breaststroke. In Para table tennis, he lost his first round 0-2 in the singles against the English team with his partner Philip Read.

It is early Paralympians such as Norman that have paved the way for future Paralympians to succeed today and in the future. Norman has now passed away. His mother lived in Hillsborough in Auckland and she passed away before Norman. To date, we have no information about Norman’s family.

Paralympian #5 Rex Fattorini (1941 – 2017)

Rex made his Paralympic debut in Tel Aviv 1968 Paralympic Games as part of the first ever New Zealand Paralympic Team. He competed in Para athletics, throwing the javelin and in Para weightlifting in the Featherweight class. Rex pressed 87.5 kilos and placed 11th from 12 competitors. He was a wheelchair user. Rex passed away suddenly with family by his side in ICU at Christchurch Hospital in 2017, aged 76 years.

Paralympian #6 Bill Flood

Bill lived in Australia and moved to Auckland to work on the construction of the Auckland Airport. Bill was hit on the head buy a large piece of clay that fell from the back of a dump truck, causing his paralysis.
He became the captain of the New Zealand’s first Paralympic Team to compete at the Paralympic Games in 1968. The team was composed of 16 Kiwi Paralympians. Bill competed in several Para sports in Tel Aviv: Para archery, Para athletics, Bowls, Wheelchair fencing and Para table tennis. Bill was a wheelchair user.
Mr. Flood died in approximately 1971, he was survived by his wife Betty. She returned to Australia but passed away a few years later. To date, we have no information about his family.

Paralympian #9 Doug McDonald

Doug McDonald was known as Colin McDonald. He was said to live in Papatoetoe, Auckland. Doug was part of the 1968 New Zealand Paralympic Team. In Tel Aviv, he competed in Para table tennis. Doug passed away more than thirty years ago. He was survived by his wife Lyn who remarried some years later.

Paralympian #11 Bill Plessius

Bill lived in the Waikato region, in Ngaruawahia. He was selected to be part of the New Zealand’s first Paralympic Team to compete at the Paralympic Games in Tel Aviv 1968. Bill specialised in throwing events in Para athletics. He competed in Israel in the club throw where he placed 28th, javelin finished 21st and discus 13th place. His best achievement was in shot put where he missed the bronze medal by 3cm. Bill passed away in 2013 and has a son, named Robert.

Paralympian #21 Chris Nicholls

Chris was part of the team of 10 Kiwi Paralympians who represented New Zealand at the Heidelberg 1972 Paralympic Games in Germany. Chris competed in a number of events across Para swimming, Para athletics and Para archery. He just missed the podium in the 50m Freestyle 3, finishing 4th in the final. Chris was a paraplegic. Chris has passed away. His family may still live in Christchurch.

Paralympian #39 Dave Tarrant

Dave is a New Zealand Paralympian and competed at the Arnhem 1980 Paralympic Games. Dave competed in Shooting Para sport. He won the bronze medal in the Mixed Air Pistol 2-5. Dave has passed away. To date, we have no information about his family.

Paralympian #41 Denis Butler

Denis made his Paralympic debut at the Innsbruck 1984 Paralympic Winter Games along with 7 other Kiwi Para alpine skiers. Denis competed in the Downhill, Giant Slalom and Slalom events in the LW2 class. Denis is a single above the knee amputee. He lives in the USA, Winter Park Colorado, with his wife Diann Butler (nee Greis). Denis still has family in Southland that he visits from time to time.

Paralympian #67 Tui Te Rupe

Tui Te Rupe is a New Zealand Paralympian from Papakura. Tui is visually impaired and runs international marathons with his guide Paul Ryken. Tui was named to represent New Zealand at the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games. He won the Maori Sports Award ‘Male athlete with a disability’ in 1993. Tui ran more than 100 marathons with a personal best of 2h53. He still holds New Zealand record for the 5000m in the T11 class, a record he set in 1982.

Thanks to the incredible support of the New Zealand public, we have now been able to get in touch with the following Paralympians or their families:

Paralympian #2 Len Campbell

Len was a member of New Zealand’s very first Paralympic Team competing at the Tel Aviv 1968 Paralympic Games. Len competed in the Para sports of Para athletics and Wheelchair fencing. He lost in his fencing preliminary round after meeting 2 of the final medal winners in this round. He finished 5th in the discus with a throw of 18.83m, just behind fellow Kiwi Paralympian Leo Close. Len is living in Northland and has a daughter. 

Paralympian #19 Dennis Miller

During his impressive international career Dennis competed at four consecutive Paralympic Games. He represented New Zealand at Heidelberg 1972, Toronto 1976, Arnhem 1980 and New York and Stoke Mandeville 1984 Paralympic Games. Dennis was competing in Para athletics and Para table tennis. He has also a remarkable medal tally with 4 gold and 1 bronze medal, all in the Men’s slalom or 60m races. His last known address was in Labrador, Queensland.

Paralympian #20 Doris Heneti Morgan

Originally from Paraparaumu, Heneti (Tina) Morgan had a motor vehicle accident resulting in her quadriplegia. Heneti competed in the Heidelberg 1972 Paralympic Games along with 9 other Kiwi Paralympians. She took part in Para athletics and Para swimming events. She won the bronze medal in the 25m Backstroke 1B. Heneti passed away in 1987 at the age of 48. Her son still proudly displays her bronze medal in his home.

Paralympian #22 Paul D. Chambers

Paul is a two-time Paralympian. He made his Paralympic debut at the Toronto 1976 Paralympic Games in Para athletics and Para swimming. Paul won a bronze medal in the 50m Breaststroke 4 event. He then qualified for the Arnhem 1980 Paralympic Games where he achieved success claiming gold this time in the 100m Breaststroke 4. Paul has a wife and children and lives in Clive, Hawkes Bay.

Paralympian #26 Doug Moore

Doug made his Paralympic debut in Canada at the Toronto 1976 Paralympic Games. He was part of a team of 12 Kiwi Paralympians. Doug competed in Para athletics and Para table tennis. Doug passed away and his family live in the Bay of Plenty region.

Paralympian #30 Greg Cochrane

Greg competed at two consecutive Paralympic Games for New Zealand. He made his debut in Arnhem in 1980 where he competed in Para athletics and Para swimming. He then went on to New York and Stoke Mandeville 1984 Paralympic Games and competed this time just in Para athletics. Greg now lives in Te Awamutu.

Paralympian #37 Ken Raymond

Originally from Wanganui, Ken represented New Zealand at the Arnhem 1980 Paralympic Games in Holland. Ken competed in Para athletics and Para archery. Ken has passed away. To date, we have no information about his family.

Paralympian #52 Michael O’Callaghan

Michael was part of the New Zealand Paralympic Team of 13 Kiwi Paralympians who competed at the New York and Stoke Mandeville 1984 Paralympic Games. Michael was very successful, winning 2 silver medals out of the 3 events he competed in. It was in Para athletics in the 1500m A6 and the 5000m A6. Michael lives in Ashburton, Canterbury.

Paralympian #58 Janette Cordery

Janette competed at the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games in two different Para sports. She entered the shot put C4 event and finished in 4th place. But it was in Para swimming that Janette excelled with a bronze medal in the 100m breaststroke C4. Janette still holds the Discus F56 New Zealand national record that she set in 1992 and the Para swimming 200m breaststroke SB6 since 1996. Janette lives in Whangarei.

Paralympian #59 John Davies

Popular member of the Manawatu bowling centre in Palmerston North and later the Foxton Beach Bowling Club, John was selected to represent New Zealand at the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games. Along with fellow Paralympian Peter Horne, they won the bronze medal in the Para lawn bowls Pairs LB2 event. John and his wife Beverley moved from Palmerston North to live at Foxton Beach in 1999.

Paralympian #60 Brent Gibson

Brent Gibson represented NZ at the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games in Para swimming. The Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games were a huge success for Brent with 3 Paralympic medals: a gold in the 200m freestyle 3 and 2 bronze in the 50m freestyle 3 and the individual medley 3. A few years later, Brent has moved to the USA and competed at the Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games, this time under the Star-Spangled Banner. Brent now lives in Australia.

Paralympian #70 Stuart Graham

Stuart made his Paralympic debut in France at the Albertville 1992 Paralympic Games along with 6 other Kiwi Paralympians. Para alpine skier, Stuart competed in the Downhill and Slalom events. Stuart still live in the Auckland region but travel to the USA for work.

Paralympian #108 Thomas Simeon

Thomas (Tom) was the first New Zealand representative to compete in Boccia, alongside Paralympian Henk Dijkstra at the Paralympic Games. He competed at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games in individual and pairs Boccia events. Tom lives in the Auckland region.

Paralympian #118 Tanya Bradley

Rotorua’s Tanya Bradley made her Para athletics international debut in 1998 in Birmingham at the IPC Athletics World Championships where she won a bronze medal in the high jump F20. In addition, she then represented New Zealand at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games along with 41 other Kiwi Paralympians. Tanya qualified for the T20 200m, T20 100m and F20 High jump finals, just missing out the bronze medal.