Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) has today received a $550,000 increase in funding from High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ), taking core investment up to $2.250m in 2017. This represents a 32% increase from a $1.7m annual core investment, 2014-2016. HPSNZ has also signalled to PNZ its long-term intention to invest in Para-Sport throughout the 4-year Games cycle.
The core investment decision follows a successful Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, during which the New Zealand Paralympic Team beat its pre-Games medal target of 18 by 3 medals, with a total of 21 (9 Gold, 5 Silver, 7 Bronze). New Zealand finished 13th on the overall medal table, its highest place ever (previous: 16th). It easily defended its London 2012 title of number 1 in the world for medals per capita, whilst it also added the title of number 1 in the world for Gold medals per capita. The exceptional feats of New Zealand Paralympians captivated the nation, with 52% of kiwis actively tuning into the free-to-air broadcast and content delivered by Attitude, TVNZ, ACC and NZ on Air.
Alex Baumann (Chief Executive, HPSNZ) complimented the success: “This increased investment is a direct result of Paralympics New Zealand continuing to deliver a world leading high performance programme and demonstrating the ability to win multiple gold medals for New Zealand. The performance of the New Zealand Paralympic Team in Rio, and the outstanding levels of interest that New Zealanders have shown in their achievements, has elevated Para-Sport to an incredible level.”
Fiona Allan (Chief Executive, PNZ) said, “Paralympics New Zealand is thrilled to have received this commitment from High Performance Sport New Zealand. It is a huge endorsement for our high performance plan and personnel. To complement this government investment, we will continue to concentrate on public fundraising, grants and commercial partnerships to assist us in covering the remainder of our Games operational costs and to achieve the goals set out within our Towards 2020 organisational strategy, including the growth and development of Para-Sport at a community level.”
Malcolm Humm (High Performance Director, PNZ) said, “Paralympics New Zealand is delighted to have successfully met and in many cases exceeded the key investment principles set out by High Performance Sport New Zealand. In addition, it is very gratifying to have received compliments for our forward thinking and strategic planning and for the way in which we have taken the lessons learned during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games campaign and implemented these already. New Zealand Para-Sport continues to be in a very strong position and we are incredibly excited about the future.”
PNZ will continue working to fund Paralympic Games operational costs and community and athlete development programmes through the Paralympics New Zealand Spirit of Gold® Initiative. This long-term programme was set-up just over a year ago, to help increase awareness and interest in Para-Sport, inspire public donations and attract investment from the business community. The support this programme generated, both in terms of public interest and funding, was integral to the success at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. PNZ is hopeful this support will continue for aspiring Paralympians on the road to the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The HPSNZ investment decision lands as Fiona Allan, Malcolm Humm and PNZ Games Campaign and Sports Manager, Lynette Grace, are on a site visit to Japan. The trio have joined the New Zealand delegation, which also includes members of the New Zealand Olympic Committee and HPSNZ, on a trip to assist strategic plans for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in four years’ time.
· The New Zealand Paralympic Team beat its pre-Games medal target of 18 by 3 medals, winning a total of 21 (9 Gold, 5 Silver, 7 Bronze) at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The only time that New Zealand has ever won more medals was the 25 secured back in 1984 (8 Gold). The 9 Gold medals won in Rio mean that in gold medal terms, Rio 2016 is exactly matched to Atlanta 1996 as New Zealand’s most successful Paralympic Games in its 48-year history. Added to this, New Zealand successfully defended its title of number 1 in the world for medals per capita, a title secured after London 2012, and it won the number 1 spot for gold medals per capita title for the first time ever. New Zealand finished 13th on the overall medal table, compared to 21st in London 2012. The highest place New Zealand has ever finished is 16th overall, following the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games. New Zealand set 11 Paralympic records and 3 World Records at Rio 2016.
· 2016 has seen New Zealand Para-Athletes with winning performances that resulted in 10 World Titles, 8 World Records and 27 international podium finishes.
· The success has in turn lead to a substantial growth in the number of Para-Athletes involved in Para-Sport. For example, in 2016 the Para-Athletics, PNZ Para-Cycling, Para-Swimming and Para-Shooting programmes have had a total of 35 Para-Athletes compete at international events.
· PNZ received $1.7m core investment from HPSNZ annually from 2014-2016, therefore today’s $550,000 increase represents a 32% increase for 2017.
· In addition PNZ will receive $150,000 annually as a contribution towards projected Games operational costs from 2017 to 2020 to ensure that Paralympians are best supported at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
· HPSNZ provides additional support directly to Paralympians and Para-Athletes by way of Performance Enhancement Grants (PEGs), Prime Minister’s Scholarships, HPSNZ Athlete Performance Support, and Innovation and Technology grants for special projects.
· This release follows the HPSNZ announcement this morning (Thursday 15 December).