Posted on Monday 15th May, 2023
  • Paralympics New Zealand has announced the first cohort of 42 Para athletes and coaches for the Para Sport Collective.
  • The Para Sport Collective is for those in the pre-High Performance stage of the Para sport pathway, where a need was uncovered for greater support and community.
  • The cohort will participate in 3 national in-person camps, with the first camp next week, and bi-monthly virtual connections over the coming 12 months.

Twenty fabulous coaches and 22 phenomenal Para athletes have been selected for the first cohort of the Para Sport Collective.

Paralympics New Zealand set up the Para Sport Collective based on consultation with Para athletes and coaches. An opportunity was uncovered to better support pre-High Performance Para athletes and coaches. The need was for a like-minded community, which may not be available at locally or within a Para sport, as Para athletes and their coaches are dispersed around the country. The community and learning which the Para Sport Collective provides support and builds connections, confidence and knowledge.

One of the selected coaches, Steve O’Kane explained:

“I have coached in Para athletics for 5 years with athletes from 5 years to 52 years of age basically by myself. I have struggled to find information and guidance on all the challenges for my athletes, from training programmes, support services like physio, strength and conditioning, equipment support e.g., mechanics for optimising racing chairs, etc. The network provided by the Collective will be invaluable to myself and my athletes.”

The cohort of 42 individuals announced today represents a massive 14 of the 28 recognised Para sports, and participants’ hometowns range from Whangārei to Invercargill. They come together for the first-time next week (27-28 May) at AUT Millennium in Auckland for the first of three in-person camps. There, they will gain skills, share experiences and build relationships.

To be considered for the Collective, the Para athletes and coaches had to be nominated by their National Sport Organisation, based on meeting criteria such as demonstrating high performance potential. Each individual then submitted an application explaining why they wanted to be part of the Collective and their future sporting ambitions. The applications were reviewed and selections made by Paralympics New Zealand.

The Para Sport Collective is supported by ACC, with CE Megan Main sharing her passion for the project:

“Best of luck to these determined and talented individuals. Sport has the power to improve lives and minimise the impact of injury – something we believe in strongly at ACC. That’s why I’m so thrilled that ACC is supporting this pre-High Performance stage of their journey.”

The selected Para athletes and coaches include:

NameRoleResidesPara sport
Matt MillCoachChristchurchBoccia
Scott PalmerCoachWanakaPara alpine skiing
Steve O'KaneCoachAucklandPara athletics
Chris KnightCoachInvercargillPara athletics
Michelle AuCoachAucklandPara badminton
Marianne LohCoachHamiltonPara badminton
Zac FranichCoachAucklandPara canoe
Gavin ElmigerCoachWhangapar?oaPara canoe
Jack CooperCoachCambridgePara cycling
Jason AllenCoachChristchurchPara cycling
Jody HartstoneCoachRaglanPara equestrian
Ben CloseCoachChristchurchPara swimming
Lin TozerCoachPalmerston NorthPara swimming
Mark PageCoachNg?ruaw?hiaPara table tennis
John TukiCoachTakaniniPara table tennis
Rob DallimoreCoachAucklandPara triathlon
Frank SchlaffmannCoachAucklandShooting Para Sport
David DewhirstCoachDunedinWheelchair rugby
Gavin RoltonCoachWaikanaeWheelchair rugby
Rene RuaheCoachAucklandWheelchair tennis
Alisha MillPara athleteChristchurchBoccia
Troy RobertsonPara athleteWhang?reiBoccia
Naqibullah AlizadehPara athleteAucklandGoalball
Jayden GlentworthPara athletePalmerston NorthPara alpine skiing
Jaden MovoldPara athleteAucklandPara athletics
Milly Marshall KirkwoodPara athleteInglewoodPara athletics
Charli Gardiner-HallPara athleteWaiukuPara athletics
Corran HanningPara athleteWellingtonPara athletics
Carrie WilsonPara athleteChristchurchPara badminton
Siobhan TerryPara athleteRotoruaPara cycling
Ben WestenbergPara athleteTaurangaPara cycling
Louise DuncanPara athleteLevinPara equestrian
James HaydonPara athleteAucklandPara swimming
Millie LongPara athleteChristchurchPara swimming
Rawiri Tristram-BrownPara athleteLevinPara swimming
Guy HarrisonPara athleteNapierPara swimming
James GouldingPara athleteAucklandPara table tennis
Keegan JacksonPara athleteInvercargillPara table tennis
Kurt PetersonPara athleteAucklandPara triathlon
Kiranjit SinghPara athleteAucklandShooting Para sport
Nathaniol TairiPara athleteAucklandWheelchair rugby
Jacinta RichardsonPara athleteDunedinWheelchair rugby