Tonight in Auckland, Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) celebrated the success of the New Zealand Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Team by bringing together 23 of the 31 Rio 2016 Paralympians in the presence of New Zealand Prime Minister, the Right Honourable John Key. Just over 130 guests were exclusively invited to the celebration at the Langham Hotel by long-time PNZ partner, Adecco New Zealand.
The celebration comes just over two months after the New Zealand Paralympic Team marched into Maracana Stadium for the Opening Ceremony of what would become New Zealand’s most successful Paralympic Games ever. The Team secured a stunning 21 medals– 9 gold, 5 silver and 7 bronze – beating its pre-Games target of 18 by 3 medals. The New Zealand Paralympic Team placed 13th on the medal table, its highest placing in history, and defended its title of number 1 in the world per medals per capita.
The Rio 2016 Paralympians were thrilled to share this moment with the New Zealand Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Team of Corey Peters, Adam Hall and Carl Murphy. The trio of winter Paralympians will be joined by upcoming winter Para-Athlete Aaron Ewen as they depart New Zealand in the coming weeks to commence their Northern Hemisphere competition season and the start of the road to the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
During the evening, New Zealand’s most decorated Paralympian Sophie Pascoe; Rio 2016 flag bearers Liam Malone and Holly Robinson; and Sochi 2014 silver medallist and PyeongChang 2018 medal hopeful Corey Peters were invited to the stage by Paralympian Dan Buckingham. The Paralympians shared with the guests their Rio experiences and Corey, shared his hopes and plans for the journey to PyeongChang.
Fiona Allan (Chief Executive, Paralympics New Zealand) said, “The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games were hugely successful for Para-Sport in New Zealand. The team performed exceptionally both on and off the field of play and the New Zealand public fully embraced and celebrated their achievements. There is no doubt that New Zealand Paralympians have inspired many and have whilst doing so increased awareness, understanding and acceptance of disability in society. Preparations are underway for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games only 16 months away and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
Liam Malone said: “The success that the team had in Rio really brought Para-Sport into the mainstream for the first time and we saw so much amazing support from New Zealanders. I look forward to being one of many New Zealanders that will again show their support as the winter Para-Athletes start their journey to qualification and hopefully selection to the New Zealand team at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.”
Corey Peters said: “It was amazing to be able to watch our summer Paralympians in action in Rio. They made all Kiwi’s immensely proud and their achievements have certainly spurred me on. I am really excited about starting the next step in my Paralympic journey and starting competition in the Northern Hemisphere.”