The Get Started in Para Sport online event is your chance to discover what Para sport is all about. Hear from Paralympian Sophie Pascoe, Para athletes and Para sport experts, and connect with Para sports opportunities in your region.

This free and accessible online event was live on 6 May and 7 May 2021. Watch the recording of the live event and an outline of the programme is below.

Watch event here

Day 1

Day 2


Day 1

Time in recordingSession
0.00 -
Welcome by hosts, including gold-medal winning Paralympian #142 Dan Buckingham and presenter Laura McGoldrick.
6.40 - 37.18Session 1: Hear from Paralympian #166 Sophie Pascoe about her journey to Para Sport, the challenges she has faced, what she loves about it, and her tips for getting started.
39.15 - 1.10.24Session 2: The Road to the Paralympic Games – from community level to high performance Para sport. Find out what the pathway is all about from the people who know and case studies from different Para sports.
1.12.00 - 1.49.00Session 3: Classification - the process demystified. What is Classification, why it is essential within Para sport, what is involved in the process and an opportunity to have all your questions answered. Join Paralympian #164 Cameron Leslie to learn all about it and ask any questions you may have.

Day 2

Time in recordingSession
0.00 -
Welcome by hosts, including Gold-medal winning Paralympian #142 Dan Buckingham and presenter Laura McGoldrick
4.01 -
Session 4: The importance of mental wellbeing in Para sport and high-performance preparation – an interview with Para cyclist Nicole Murray and PNZ Performance Psychologist Rod Corban.
38.01 - 1.01.10Session 5: Hear from our incredible Para athlete panel as they share their different experiences of getting started in a range of Para sports.
1.03.00 - 1.30.00Session 6: Where can you take part in community Para sport ? Find out what’s available in your region.
1.31.00 - 1.54.00Session 7: Get active now! Join our fun, adaptive, online sport session. Michael from FAM (Functional Adaptive Movement) will lead you through some strength and conditioning movements. No equipment needed!

Key speakers

Laura McGoldrick

Laura has worked in radio and television in NZ for over ten years. She has spent a large portion of that time being involved in sport – which she loves. Cricket, golf, Olympics, Paralympics – she loves how sport brings people together. It has also led her to be a proud ambassador for the Halberg Foundation, which sees her get to host our biggest night in sport, the Halberg Awards. You can also listen to her on the Hits radio station where the busy Mum of 2 hosts the 3pm Pick Up with Laura McGoldrick. We are excited to have Laura as one of the hosts for this online event.


Paralympian #142 Dan Buckingham

Co-hosting, we have Dan Buckingham. Fracturing his C6/7 vertebrae in a rugby scrum when he was 18 years old, Dan was introduced to Wheelchair rugby while in the spinal injury rehabilitation unit. Dan went on to become a member of the gold medal winning NZ national Wheelchair rugby team, the Wheel Blacks, at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, captaining the team at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. Currently the Acting CEO at Attitude, Dan worked as a researcher and reporter, and has managed the Post Production and Digital areas of the business.


Sophie Pascoe portrait

Sophie is New Zealand’s most decorated Paralympian and has the strength of character well beyond her years. She has cemented herself as a hugely influential role model in both New Zealand and across the globe. Sophie as been an inspiration to many young people all over the world, but places heavy emphasis on the work she does in her local community. Sophie has competed at 3 Paralympic Games and won 15 Paralympic medals, including 9 gold medals. She has recently been selected to be compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as part of the New Zealand Paralympic Team. Sophie will share her story and give advice on how to get started in Para Sport during Session 1 on Thursday 6 May at 6.05pm.


Born and raised in Whangarei, Cameron took up swimming aged 10 but after he was soundly beaten on his debut international appearance in 2006 he “nearly gave the sport away“ only to be persuaded to carry on by his parents. And as they say, the rest is history as Cameron is now a 3-time Paralympic gold medallist and world record holder. He won the 150m Individual Medley SM4 event at the Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in world record time. Cameron is also a member of the Wheel Blacks, the NZ Wheelchair rugby team. He currently balances training for both sports, working full-time for Swimming New Zealand. Cameron will demystify the role of Classification in Para sport and answer all your questions as part of Session 3 on Thursday 6 May at 7.20pm.


With a background of being a swimming instructor for children with disabilities when she was 16 years old, to becoming a qualified Physiotherapist, Paralympics New Zealand Para swimming classifier, Ruth McLaren’s experience and skills were just right for the role. Ruth has now been classifying Para swimming in NZ for 15 years, and internationally for 9 years. Learn from Ruth about the process of Classification in Session 3 on Thursday 6 May at 7.20pm.


Paralympics New Zealand Performance Psychologist, Rod Corban, has over 30 years experience as an academic in the field of psychology and has worked in high performance sport in NZ since 2004.  He has attended Olympic and Paralympic Games as a psychologist for the last three cycles and will be the Games Team Psychology Lead for the New Zealand Paralympic Team at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. He specialises in supporting athletes, coaches and all individuals in high performance programmes to pursue the things they care about. Hear from Rod about the importance of mental wellbeing in Para sport and high performance preparation and have your questions answered in Session 4 on Friday 7 May at 2.05pm.


Nicole is a Para cyclist from the Waikato. She won her first international medal at the UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships 2018 in Rio de Janeiro winning a silver medal in the 3km Individual. Nicole is an arm amputee since age 5 when she lost a fight with a lawnmower. In addition to her intense Para cycling training in Cambridge, Nicole is also a cave guide in Waitomo. Nicole will talk about the importance of mental well-being in Para sport with PNZ Performance Psychologist Rod Corban as part of Session 4 on Friday 7 May at 2.05pm.  


Jaden is a 16 year old T54 wheelchair racer from Auckland.  Born with spina bifida he has faced numerous physical challenges including having endured 31 major surgeries. Despite this, he has never given up his pursuit of being an athlete. Starting from a young age he would try everything and eventually became a competitive Para swimmer, Wheelchair basketball player and Para triathlete.  It wasn’t until 2019 when he discovered his passion for wheelchair racing where he competes in all track events from 100m to 1500m and currently holds numerous Auckland and NZ age-group records. Hear from Jaden as he shares his experiences in Para sport in Session 5 on Friday 7 May at 2.30pm.


Louise Duncan competed in Equestrian dressage from childhood, receiving national recognition. Louise contracted meningococcal meningitis aged 17 suffering strokes and other cognitive issues. She was able to return to riding in her early 20’s and achieved considerable success but struggled with dexterity and physical and mental fitness. Louise will let you know how she got started in Para sport as part of Session 5 on Friday 7 May at 2.30pm. 


Louise Duncan competed in Equestrian dressage from childhood, receiving national Anna made her international debut in Para cycling in 2018 at the UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships in the Netherlands. High performance sport was not new to her however, having previously competed in the sport of rowing. While studying at Oregon State University on a sport scholarship, Anna was selected to the exclusive All American Rowing Team. On her return to New Zealand, Anna had a severe disc prolapse that compressed her spinal cord. Anna attended her first Para Cycling Camp in January 2018 and has progressed through the sport since then. Hear from Anna in Session 5 on Friday 7 May at 2.30pm.


Bailley’s spine was severed almost five years ago. She can’t walk, but she can ski, cycle, drive, travel, study, live independently – and so much more. Bailley’s in the high-performance development programme with Snow Sports NZ. She’s up on Cardrona ski field three days a week with a coach and working out at the programme’s Wanaka gym. Learn more about Bailley’s story during Session 5 on Friday 7 May at 2.30pm.


Yann is the CEO at Disability Sport Auckland (previously Parafed Auckland), leading the team to enable more disabled Aucklanders to participate in sport and recreation. Listen to Yann in Session 6 on Friday 7 May at 3.00pm as he brings his expert knowledge in coaching and marketing to talk about where you can take part in community Para sport in your region.


Casey is the Education and Programmes Manager at Blind Sport New Zealand. Her role is focused on the growth and development of blind and low vision sport opportunities throughout New Zealand, including supporting club, regional, and national sport organisations to ensure accessibility of their sport to participants with a visual impairment. She brings a range of experience and knowledge, and has completed a Bachelor of Business and a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation. Casey connects with a number of organisations and can help you find Para sport opportunities during Session 6 on Friday 7 May at 3.00pm.


Michael is the CEO and Founder of FAM (Functional Adaptive Movement), a strength and conditioning social enterprise for all people with different abilities. His personal family experience inspired him to start the FAM program, working closely with related specialists, adopting an athlete-centred wholistic approach. Michael is a competitive martial arts athlete who has represented South Africa. He is a certified CrossFit Level 2 trainer and has a 1st Dan in traditional Jiu Jitsu. Join Michael as he brings the energy and leads you through a fun, active session (no equipment needed!) in Session 7 on Friday 7 May at 3.30pm.