Paralympics New Zealand and Harvey Norman announce Para Sport Champions
Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) is thrilled to announce the new Harvey Norman Para Sport Champions initiative. The initiative aims to change perceptions of disability through the lens of Paralympians, Para athletes and the Paralympic Movement. The initiative connects the group of Harvey Norman Para Sport Champions with organisations who want to hear their stories, including schools.
The first 12 Harvey Norman Para Sport Champions named today are:
- Para athlete Mitch Joynt (Para athletics)
- Para athlete Jaden Movold (Para athletics)
- Paralympian #200 Rory McSweeney (Para athletics)
- Paralympian #215 Corbin Hart (Para canoe)
- Paralympian #217 Barney Koneferenisi (Wheelchair rugby)
- Paralympian #225 Anna Taylor (Para cycling)
- Paralympian #211 Danielle Aitchison (Para athletics)
- Paralympian #192 Caitlin Dore (Para athletics)
- Paralympian #208 William Stedman (Para athletics)
- Paralympian #226 Mike Todd (Wheelchair rugby)
- Paralympian #183 Holly Robinson (Para athletics)
- Paralympian #213 Sarah Ellington (Para cycling)
(Click the links to see their bios.)
PNZ CE Fiona Allan explains:
“PNZ’s vision is ‘through Para sport, lives will be transformed.’ The Harvey Norman Para Sport Champions are incredible individuals who will challenge perceptions of disability through sharing their lived experience and Para sport journey while highlighting the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration, equality.”
Harvey Norman, PNZ Official Partner and long-time supporter of the Paralympic Movement, are excited to come onboard. Lisa Hickford, General Manager Bedding & Bed Linen at Harvey Norman New Zealand shares why it’s so important to the organisation.
“The Harvey Norman Para Sport Champions are our way of supporting Para athletes’ impact in the community. This programme connects these amazing role models and allows them to work as ambassadors with the communities who need to see them.”Lisa Hickford, General Manager Bedding & Bed Linen at Harvey Norman New Zealand
The announcement was made today at a special event at Harvey Norman Manukau where the first 7 Para Sport Champions came together for training delivered in partnership with Unitec. Renowned Kiwi mountaineer, double-amputee Paralympian #124 Mark Inglis spoke at the event, sharing his learnings and skills from over 20 years of delivering corporate programs focusing on the challenge and opportunity of change.
Paralympian #200 Rory McSweeney was at the launch event. He described the day as ‘motivating’.
“It’s been a fantastic day here. Harvey Norman have been great hosts – they really care about this programme. We’ve all been fired up by what we’ve heard from Mark Inglis and others here today. We’ve needed something like this for a long time. The part I’m most looking forward to is working with tamariki and teachers in schools.”Paralympian #200 Rory McSweeney
PNZ worked with its members including National Sports Organisations and regional Parafed organisations to help identify and recruit Para Sport Champions at different levels of the Para sport pathway.
In their inaugural year, the focus for the 12 new Para Sport Champions is to work with 20 selected primary schools around New Zealand. By telling their stories they will bring to life the Paralympic values, and challenge attitudes towards disabled people.
In the longer term, PNZ and Harvey Norman will look to expand the initiative to include more Paralympians and Para athletes.