Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) is pleased to announce appointments for two newly created roles within its successful High Performance team. These two roles replace the previous single role of Talent Identification Manager. The increased resource will ensure PNZ can continue to develop Para-Sport in New Zealand, with interest expected to grow significantly in future, triggered by the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games this September.
Dr. Melissa Wilson has been appointed as Para-Sport High Performance Athlete Development Manager. She will be joined by Kieran Wall as Para-Sport Community Development Manager.
Melissa comes to PNZ with in-depth theoretical knowledge of athlete development and high performance sport, having completed her doctorate specific to the development of sport expertise. To compliment this knowledge, Melissa comes from a strong practical background in developing athlete development pathways through her role as Senior Consultant (Talent Identification and Development) with the Australian Institute of Sport and more recently with Australian Canoeing as National Pathway Manager.
The Para-Sport High Performance Athlete Development Manager role will lead and manage the PNZ Talent Identification and Athlete Development Programme in collaboration with PNZ members and key sector partners. The role is designed to build and support the pool of future talent that will lead to PNZ meeting or exceeding its medal targets at future Paralympic Games.
Melissa will initially work with PNZ targeted Para-Sports to review existing pathways, programmes and training practices while also developing an evidence based talent transfer system. She will help PNZ member Para-Sports develop sport specific pathways and coordinate a range of initiatives, including talent identification activities with the goal of increasing Para-Athlete numbers in Para-Sport.
Melissa has recently moved from Sydney to Auckland and commenced with PNZ on 29 March.
Kieran Wall will commence with PNZ on 7 June and brings a huge enthusiasm and vision for Para-Sport at the community level. His wealth of Para-Sport knowledge has been developed in both New Zealand and the UK. Kieran is currently employed as Sports Manager at Parafed Otago, the regional organisation tasked with attracting and involving new people into Para-Sport at a grassroots level.
Prior to moving to New Zealand, Kieran worked towards his ‘Sports Coach UK: How to Coach Disabled People in Sport,’ qualification and volunteered on the ’Playground to Podium’ scheme (UK). The scheme predominantly focused on working with young physically disabled athletes, giving them the opportunity to participate in a new range of sports. This established links with coaches and sector leaders to identify potential elite Para-Athletes in the build up to the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The Para-Sport Community Development Manager role will lead and manage the PNZ Para-Sport Community Development programme in collaboration with PNZ Members and key sector partners. The role will play an integral role in generating awareness and creating opportunities for disabled people to access and develop skills through the Para-Sport network. It is envisaged Para-Athletes with sporting talent will continue along the sporting pathway into the PNZ Talent Identification Programme and beyond, meaning that Kieran will work hand-in-hand with Melissa Wilson.
Malcolm Humm (High Performance Director, PNZ) said, “We are delighted with the appointments of Melissa Wilson and Kieran Wall. Combined, they both bring to PNZ a strong mix of theoretical and practical knowledge regarding community Para-Sport, Para-Athlete and coach pathways, talent identification and talent transfer systems. We believe that the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will drive awareness and great excitement for Para-Sport in New Zealand, both amongst potential Para-Athletes and the public. These newly created roles will ensure new Para-Athletes have a seamless progression through Para-Sport pathways, that Para-Athletes and coaches understand what each Para-Sport pathway entails and that Para-Athletes are provided the best possible opportunity to become medal winning Paralympians.”
Melissa Wilson (High Performance Athlete Development Manager, PNZ) said, “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining Paralympics New Zealand at such an exciting time for Para-Sport in this country. I am really looking forward to building on the success of past talent identification and development programmes and enhancing opportunities for emerging Para-Athletes. I can’t wait to get to work with our member sports and organisations to strengthen capacity and capability in the areas of Para-Athlete pathway planning, emerging Para-Athlete development and talent identification. Together, I am confident we will find New Zealand’s Paralympic medallists of the future.”
Kieran Wall (newly appointed Community Para-Sport Development Manager, PNZ) said, “I am really excited at the prospect of joining the Paralympics New Zealand team. It’s an amazing opportunity to add value to the disability sector and to provide new and exciting pathways for disabled people, enabling them to reach their physical potential. I am hopeful that we will be able to drive participation numbers upwards and continue to develop wider awareness of Paralympics New Zealand and disability sport in general. It’s an incredibly exciting time for the Para-Sport community with the Paralympic Games just around the corner and I cannot wait to be increasingly involved in the successes of Paralympics New Zealand over the next few years.”