Posted on Wednesday 22nd April, 2020

Highlights:

  • The Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) AGM today celebrated the many recent achievements within Para sport and the launch of The Celebration Project which at the conclusion of 2019 had acknowledged 63 New Zealand Paralympians by presenting them with their official numbered Paralympic pin
  • PNZ Order of Merit awarded to long serving Para athletics coach Raylene Bates MNZM.

The PNZ AGM today celebrated activity and achievements over a 12-month period (January 2019 to December 2019) within Para sport and of PNZ including the success of The Celebration Project in acknowledging and celebrating 63 New Zealand Paralympians. While there is much to celebrate within Para sport it does come at a time when Para athletes and support staff have experienced many changes within the Paralympic Movement including the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to 2021. New Zealand Para athletes along with all New Zealanders, are currently at home, staying safe in their bubbles.

During 2019 New Zealand Para athletes performed with distinction both domestically and internationally and PNZ congratulates every Para athlete and their support teams on their sporting success. Para athletes continue to engage with our partners and the community to share their stories and inspire others.

A highlight for 2019 included Sophie Pascoe and Adam Hall being announced as the winners of a new Attitude Award celebrating the New Zealand Paralympian of the Decade at the summer and winter Paralympic Games.

Following PNZ’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2018, and to further acknowledge and celebrate New Zealand’s 209 Paralympians, PNZ launched The Celebration Project in May 2019. PNZ hosted 7 community receptions in Auckland (Central and North Shore), Whangarei, Hamilton, Tauranga, New Plymouth and Palmerston North and 1 special event in Germany. 63 Paralympians have been acknowledged for their part of New Zealand Paralympic history and were presented with an individually numbered pin to recognise their achievements.

The PNZ Para Sport Pop Up was established in 2019 and has been following The Celebration Project events around the country as well as appearing at other community events. Supported by numerous volunteers the PNZ Para Sport Pop Up has been an amazing success helping to educate the public and school aged children about PNZ and Para sport. It has provided the opportunity for individuals to try Wheelchair basketball, virtual reality blind football, Boccia, and hand cycling. There has been an opportunity for school aged children to complete a Para sport quiz and have their photo taken with Someity, the Tokyo 2020 mascot, and to have interactions with Para athletes and Paralympians.

Dr Selwyn Maister (Chair) took the opportunity in today’s Annual General Meeting to thank PNZ Member organisations for their ongoing commitment to the growth of Para sport. PNZ acknowledges that collaboration is a must for Para sport to flourish. He thanked PNZ commercial partners and High Performance Sport NZ for their passion and support. Dr Selwyn Maister says “It is through these partnerships that PNZ continues to enhance its position as a global leader in Para sport whilst also contributing to a more diverse and inclusive New Zealand.” He continued to acknowledge the unprecedented times that we currently find ourselves in with the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games now being postponed to 24 August – 5 September 2021 due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

The PNZ Board was thrilled to announce the awarding of a PNZ Order of Merit to Raylene Bates. The PNZ Order of Merit was established in 2001 and recognises individuals who have given outstanding service to PNZ or Para sport. PNZ thanked Athletics New Zealand for the nomination.

Bates has had an amazing 40+ years of service and dedication to Paralympics New Zealand and Para athletics generally. She has contributed in many ways including as a competitor, administrator, official and coach in both voluntary and paid roles working with children to veterans. She has contributed at local, regional, national and international levels. 

Bates has transformed Para athletics in New Zealand. A key highlight being the results from the New Zealand Para athletes in the sport of athletics, led by Bates, at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in September 2016. Eight Para athletes competed in 15 events and won 9 medals, set 4 Paralympic records, 11 New Zealand records, and achieved 11 personal bests. Since 2016 Athletics New Zealand has seen a phenomenal growth in the number of Para athletes training and competing in their sport. Bates has worked tirelessly in her roles at Athletics New Zealand to offer increased opportunities for Para athletes and integrating Para athletics into numerous training camps, national and international events.

PNZ Order of Merit recipients can be found here. This is now an exclusive group of 29 members including newly awarded recipient Raylene Bates MNZM.

Annual Report and Financial Statements 2019 can be found here.

About the Board

The PNZ Board membership comprises a Chair and five members elected by the membership. The Paralympics New Zealand board comprises Dr. Selwyn Maister QSM (Chair), Mr Duane Kale ONZM (IPC Vice President), Mr Clive Power, Ms Catriona McBean, Ms Jana Rangooni, Mrs Jane Cotter, Mr Andre Lubbe and Ms Mary Fisher MNZM.

The Paralympics New Zealand board is a volunteer body and members are limited to 5 elected, 2 appointed, any current IPC governing Board member who is residing in New Zealand (by invitation of the Board) and 1 co-opted Board members for a term of 4 years from the date of their appointment or the date from which their election is notified.

Board members seeking election or appointment may be nominated by PNZ Members or appointed via public applications. The Board Appointments Panel is made up of Dr. Selwyn Maister, Mark Copeland and Marc Frewin who review all nominations and applications.