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Celebration Project

Protecting, conserving and promoting the cultural heritage of the New Zealand Paralympic Movement since 1968

With Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) “turning 50” in 2018 and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games initially planned for 2020, a huge opportunity existed to celebrate our Paralympic cultural heritage, officially acknowledge the achievements of our Paralympians as being equal to that of Olympians; and protect this heritage for future generations.

The desired outcome was to positively influence community perceptions of disabled people and promote diversity and inclusion.


  • Acknowledge, celebrate and share the achievements of our 209 Paralympians and introduce the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic hopefuls
  • Positively influence community perceptions of disabled people and promote a more diverse and inclusive society
  • Promote Para sport to the wider community and identify future Para athletes
  • Raise funds to further the growth and awareness of Para sport in the community and support the New Zealand Paralympic Team

Community receptions

From May 2019 to March 2021, 11 community events were held in association with Toyota NZ, the NZ Lottery Grants Boards and the New Zealand Chambers of Commerce. They took place in:

An additional event acknowledging two Paralympians was held in Bonn, Germany, headquarters of the international Paralympic Committee.

These events were to recognise all 209 Paralympians by inviting them (or their families if they had passed away) to be presented with their official numbered Paralympic pin and a certificate signed by the President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Chair of PNZ. A total of 161 Paralympians were recognised.

The events introduced local Tokyo 2020 prospective Paralympians to their communities, showcasing the continuing growth of Para sport. Memorabilia and stories were incorporated into each event and local media were invited to profile interesting historical stories from among Paralympians being recognised.

The project is ongoing, with visits to celebrate those who were unable to attend the events, together with acknowledgement of the 18 new Paralympians since the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Para Sport Pop-Up

A one stop shop for Para sport! The 20-foot container was located in prime public spaces through out New Zealand for 48 hours supporting the Community Receptions. The Para Sport Pop Up told NZ Paralympic history through displays and video; promoted Para sport to the NZ public through ‘have a go’ experiences and provided Para sport resources and connections to local providers. Read more about the Para Sport Pop Up.

Para athletes in front of Para Sport Pop Up

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