AIMing for an inclusive New Zealand

Active Voice
with Cherryl Thomson
Disability Sport Adviser

He waka eke noa, mō Aotearoa whanui (We are all in this waka together, for all of New Zealand)

It's all happening this week! AIMS Games is in town, with the Opening Ceremony held at Waipuna Park, and this year two Para sports will be avaialble for Para athletes: Para athletics and Para swimming.

There are 11 participants in both Para sport codes, this year representing girls and boys in Year 7 and 8.

Para athletes, under two main classifications of intellectual and physical impairment, will compete on a 800m track at the Waipuna Park cross-country venue.

Para swimming will include Para swimmers provisionally classified by Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ). This meet will be utilised to record official NZ times by Para athletes.

We are excited to be working with AIMS event organiser Vicki Semple, Swimming BOP/NZ, Tauranga (Ramblers) Athletics and PNZ, to ensure disabled athletes can compete at the event.

As we know from previous experience, this is a fantastic opportunity for intermediate-aged athletes to represent their school and we predict year-on-year the number of disabled athletes will grow.

It is also Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori, a week which celebrates Maori Language and aims to incorproate more of one of the three official languages in New Zealand (Maori, English and NZ Sign Language).

The Halberg Disability Sport Foundation's vision for an Inclusive NZ includes diverse communities, especially Maori, and you will see more of Te Reo Maori within our work going forward. We are keen to work with all communities to ensure more physically disabled people have opportunities to be more active. Check out the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Facebook page for some Te Reo sport phrases.

For other physically disabled athletes throughout New Zealand, aged eight to 21 years, they will continue training for the Halberg Junior Disability Games, which is taking place at King's College in Auckland from 6-8 October.

The national sports competition for physically disabled young people is hosted by the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, and will see about 150 athletes compete in nine regional teams in more than 17 sports across three days.

There is healthy competition between the regions – including a team from the Bay of Plenty – at the event. An opening ceremony will begin the festivities, featuring a parade of the regional teams, lighting of the official Games' flame, reading of the Athletes' Oath and guest speakers, including Eliza McCartney and Paula Tesoriero.  

Anyone who wants to know more about our Inclusive Training course for teachers, coaches and trainers, the Halberg Junior Disability Games or how to represent your school at a disability sport event such as AIMS, are to contact Cherryl on cherryl@halberg.co.nz

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The Sun going down over the water @ Sulphur Point. Photo: Casey Fredericks.

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