The Celebration Project moves to the Waikato ‘numbering’ and acknowledging a further 18 New Zealand Paralympians
This evening Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) marked the third community event as part of The Celebration Project, where over the next 12 months in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020, the achievements of New Zealand’s 209 Paralympians since Tel Aviv 1968 will be officially recognised and celebrated.
In Hamilton, 18 New Zealand Paralympians, their families and friends, PNZ commercial partners and business leaders came together at Ebbett Toyota in partnership with Waikato Chamber of Commerce to celebrate over 50 years of Paralympic history in New Zealand acknowledging the incredible 209 Paralympians that have represented New Zealand. Since 1968 New Zealand Paralympic Teams have stunned supporters and competing nations with their determination, heart and courage and ultimately, success. Paralympians have contributed to New Zealand Paralympic Teams success by representing Kiwis with pride and dignity and bringing home a staggering 221 medals. Through this success they have inspired Kiwis to think differently about disability.
All 18 Paralympians were acknowledged and celebrated and joined an elite group of Paralympians that have now received their official ‘numbered’ Paralympic pin and certificate. This group now totals 44 following the Celebration Project events in Auckland and Whangarei throughout May. The official Paralympic ‘number’ is a unique number that is bestowed only once a Paralympian has competed at their first Paralympic Games. Athletes are then ordered alphabetically within each Paralympic Games.
Fiona Allan (Chief Executive, PNZ) said: “We were privileged to have 18 wonderful Paralympians and their families, friends and supporters, from New Zealand Paralympic Teams since Innsbruck 1988 come together in Hamilton tonight. There was Paralympian number 55 Patrick Cooper who competed as part of New Zealand’s 4th winter Paralympic Team in 1988, through to Paralympian number 209 Hannah van Kampen who has her sights set on the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.”
Jayne Craike (Paralympian #90) when asked about her memories of competing at the Paralympic Games said, “I have treasured memories that we [Jayne and husband David] are never going to forget. At the Sydney 2000 Paralympics I went into the arena the day I won gold, I had this surreal feeling — like in The Matrix movie where everything slows down. It was just like that. I could hear every footfall of the horse. It was a five-and-a-half-minute test and it felt like half an hour! I had so much time to adjust everything. When I finished and looked up, suddenly I saw there were all these thousands of people in the arena that I hadn’t even noticed when I came in, such was my focus.”
She continued, “That was a real moment. And then, to see my husband and mother in the crowd. It was so fabulous, and I’m so grateful to everyone who stuck by me. In your lifetime, you might have that three or four times – when you are able to have such focus that you can give everything in that moment, 100 per cent of you to the world. It was just the most amazing feeling. It really was so special. And it stays with you for life.”
PNZ has now staged 3 events (Auckland, Whangarei and Hamilton) and will stage a further 9 community events around the country, within the communities that have so openly supported their Paralympic heroes over the past 50 years. The project has been made possible thanks to funding and support from the New Zealand LotteryGrants Board, New Zealand Chambers of Commerce and Toyota New Zealand.
Paralympians who attended the event included:
Paralympian #55 Patrick Cooper (Hamilton)
Patrick is New Zealand’s most decorated winter Paralympian and on his Paralympic debut in Innsbruck 1988 he emerged as part of a new generation of Kiwi Para alpine skiers. Patrick won 6 medals across 3 Paralympic Winter Games, including a silver at Innsbruck 1988 and two spectacular gold medals at Albertville 1992. This was a feat he was to repeat at Lillehammer 1994 two years on, when he defended his 2 gold medals and picked up a bronze.
Paralympian number 90 Jayne Craike MNZM (Taupo)
Jayne is a pioneer behind the sport of Para equestrian in this country. Internationally she competed at three consecutive Paralympic Games: Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, performing with distinction at all three. Gold and silver medals in Sydney 2000, fifth spot in Atlanta 1996, and only just missing out on the dais in Athens 2004 with fourth places in each of her events. In NZ she dominated her grade with over 40 national & regional Championship titles to her name. As a rider, she retired only 2 years ago but continues to immerse herself in her beloved sport as a national Judge. Paralympian number 90 Craike Jayne.
Paralympian #97 Paul Leefe (Hamilton)
Paul was part of the first ever Wheelchair rugby team – the Wheelbacks – and competed over two Paralympic Games: coming third when it was a demonstration event in Atlanta 1996 and winning a bronze medal in Sydney 2000. Paul played with speed and finesse and was responsible of the growth of Wheelchair rugby in New Zealand.
Paralympian #100 Peter Martin (Hamilton)
A ‘small block’ farmer in Matangi, raised in the central north island and married to Anna Peter competed at four Paralympic Games, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and London 2012 in Para athletics. Over his four Paralympic Games, Peter gained 4 gold medals, 1 silver and 2 bronze and 3 world record performances. Today he remains the current Men’s Javelin F52 and Pentathlon P52/53 world record holder. Peter has been involved in a variety of Para sports including coaching the Wheel Blacks and participating in Wheelchair tennis. In 2017, Peter was presented with a PNZ Order of Merit for his outstanding contribution to the disability sport sector.
Paralympian #123 Ross Flood (Hamilton)
Ross competed in 2 Paralympic Games: Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. He returned from Athens 2004 with the first ever medal in the sport of Boccia for New Zealand. The team of four won a silver medal after beating world champions Spain. Hard work and belief in each other were the secret to the team’s success. Ross is also a dedicated writer for several magazines, always writing about disability with humour.
Paralympian #150 Tiffiney Perry (Hamilton)
Tiffiney competed at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games in Wheelchair tennis. She has since competed for New Zealand internationally in Para cycling from 2010 – 2015. In 2017 she won the female hand cycle division of the New York Marathon in 1.54.09 taking 9 minutes off her 2016 winning time and a full 20 minutes in front of her nearest competitor. Tiffiney is currently chairperson of Parafed Waikato, secretary of Wheelchair Tennis New Zealand, a board member of Life Unlimited Charitable Trust, and Trustee of the Brian Perry Charitable trust.
Paralympian #153 Daniel Sharp (Hamilton)
During an impressive 10-year international career Daniel competed at three Paralympic Games. At his first Paralympic Games in Athens 2004 he claimed bronze in the Men’s 100m breaststroke SB13. In his next two Paralympic outings, Beijing 2008 and London 2012, he claimed silver in the same event. Daniel has set four world records, a Paralympic record and six Oceania records.
Paralympian #163 David Klinkhamer (Rototuna)
David competed at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games as part of the Wheel Blacks wheelchair rugby team. His involvement with Wheelchair rugby has meant David has travelled the world and met many amazing people. David is part of the Waikato Wheelchair rugby team and works at Parafed Waikato as the Sports Officer.
Paralympian #179 Nikita Howarth (Cambridge)
In 2012, at the age of 13, Nikita became New Zealand’s youngest ever Paralympian. With gold and bronze medals in Para swimming, Nikita was New Zealand’s third most successful Paralympian in Rio 2016. In 2017 she decided to try Para cycling and less than one year after starting the sport she competed at her first World Championships back in Rio. In December 2018 Nikita broke the Flying 200m world record. Nikita has now retired from Para sport and is enjoying being in the work force.
Paralympian #181 Danny McBride (Tirau)
Danny is New Zealand’s first Paralympian to compete in Para rowing at the Paralympic Games. He did so at London 2012 winning the B final in the Men’s single skulls race. Danny was previously worked in the forestry industry – he likened the hours of solitude cutting down trees to the solitude of single skull rowing. Danny now runs a farm in Tirau and loves taking on his mates in a game of wheelchair basketball or tennis.
Paralympian #186 Rachel Hughes (nee Stock) (Tuakau)
When Rachel was selected as part of the New Zealand Paralympic Team to compete at London 2012 she, along with Anthea Gunner where the first Para equestrian athletes to represent New Zealand in 8 years. Rachel and her horse Emmerich competed in the dressage championship and freestyle grade events. She created history domestically winning every Para equestrian championship title in New Zealand during both the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 season.
Paralympian #190 Amanda Cameron (Cambridge)
Amanda was selected to the New Zealand Paralympic Team along with her sighted pilot Hannah van Kampen, making her Paralympic debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. In the heat and intensity of the velodrome the pairing went in the bronze finals ride off and come 4th in the 3km individual pursuit and 6th in the Kilo. Amanda along with current pilot Nina Wollaston will compete at the 2019 UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships in September. When not riding, Amanda works as a talented Architectural Technician.
Paralympian #193 Jason Eales (Hamilton)
Jason started on the international circuit only one year before the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. At the World Shooting Para Sport Cup in Sydney in 2015 he won a bronze medal and secured an extra athlete slot for NZ in Rio. Prior to this Jason had tried his hand at Para cycling and few other Para sports however he decided to pursue Shooting Para sport instead. Jason has now retired from the sport to focus on his career as a software engineer.
Paralympian #194 Emma Foy (Cambridge)
Emma experienced her first Paralympic Games in Rio 2016, with experienced pilot, Laura Thompson. The world class tandem pairing went on to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games winning two medals; a silver in the Women’s Individual B Pursuit and bronze in the Women’s B Road Race. This year, Emma was paired with sighted pilot Hannah van Kampen at UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships, where they won a World Championships title and set the fastest time recorded at sea level. Emma is also studying law at Waikato University.
Paralympian #202 Jacob Philips (Dunedin)
Jacob experienced his first Paralympic Games in Rio 2016, competing in both 100m and 200m after a late call up to the Team. Recently he was selected as part of the Athletics New Zealand team to compete at the Dubai 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in November. Jacob is currently studying a Bachelor of Physical Education at the University of Otago.
Paralympian #203 Byron Raubenheimer (Cambridge)
Byron has competed internationally in both Para snowboard and Para cycling. He made his international Para cycling debut in 2015 at the UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships, which saw him place in the top 10. His Paralympic debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games saw him achieve 10th and 11th placings across his two track events. Bryon also works as a building apprentice in Hamilton.
Paralympian #207 Fraser Sharp (Tauranga)
Fraser competed at his first Paralympic Games in at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Para cycling. And after a late selection he performed incredibly to place 8th and 11th in Road time trial and Road race. Most recently he competed at a UCI Para Cycling Road World Cup in Belgium last month achieving a 6th and 8th placings. Next up for Fraser is the 2019 UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships in September.
Paralympian #209 Hannah van Kampen (Cambridge)
Hannah is one of New Zealand’s most experience sighted pilots including having competed on the tandem with Amanda Cameron at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. After Rio, she competed with Emma Foy and just recently became a world champion at this year’s UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships. Emma and Hannah will compete together in September at the 2019 Para Cycling Road World Championships.
Paralympian #191 Richard Dodson meet this week with Fiona Allan (Chief Executive, PNZ) and was proudly presented with his official ‘numbered’ Paralympic pin and certificate.
Paralympian #191 Richard Dodson (Auckland)
Richard made his Paralympic debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Para sailing with crew mates Chris Sharp and Andrew May competing in the 3-person keelboat event (Sonar) placing 4th. He was the onboard Strategist with Team New Zealand when they won the 1995 America’s Cup in San Diego, and again during the Team’s 2000 defence. It was during this latest campaign that he was diagnosed with MS. When the opportunity arose to harness his undoubted talent in Para sailing he took some convincing he could campaign to the high standards he had set in the past. The rest is history and Rick is now a New Zealand Paralympian.