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Regional Community Para Sport Pilots

In 2022, PNZ mapped Para sport activities around the motu, revealing geographical gaps where Para sport participation opportunities could be improved. To this end, in 2023, PNZ worked with other organisations to stage three regional community Para sport pilot programmes. The goal of these pilots is to increase the number of regular Para sport opportunities for disabled individuals in New Zealand and improve the involved organisations’ ability to offer inclusive and quality community Para sport experiences.

Gotcha Boccia Pilot

“Boccia is reaching new participants, including disabled people who have been previously inactive!”

PNZ collaborated with Boccia New Zealand, Disability Sport & Recreation Hawke’s Bay, Parafed Manawatū, and Parafed Taranaki to create a resource manual and a 6-week program called ‘Gotcha Boccia’ for people with physical, vision, and intellectual impairments. The programme recruited and trained nine activators and 38 participants took part – 45% of whom were new to Parafeds or similar organisations.

The programme allowed participants to play Boccia in ways that maximised their participation using adaptable spaces, activities, and equipment. Participants reported positive impacts, including being more active, improved task focus and new friendships. Organisers learned how critical it is to use marketing and communication to reach new participants and activators.

Adaptive Run Jump Throw Pilot

“Never thought I could do athletics with my vision impairment!”

PNZ took the learning from Gotcha Boccia and built on it for the Adaptive Run Jump Throw Pilot with Athletics New Zealand, Parafed Gisborne Tairawhiti, Parafed Northland, Inclusive Activity Murihiku, Athletics Hawke’s Bay Gisborne, Whangarei Athletics Club, and Athletics Southland.

This second pilot aimed to integrate non-disabled and disabled participants into athletics club environments safely and positively. The team reviewed health and safety policies and club processes and provided upskilling opportunities for club volunteers and activators.

The Adaptive Run Jump Throw programme overcame challenges from unseasonal weather affecting outdoor facilities in Gisborne, Invercargill and Whangārei. Despite these obstacles, participants relished their experiences, and the project received positive engagement from Athletics Centres/Clubs.  Athletics New Zealand led the co-design of an Adaptive Run Jump Throw resource. This has enabled Club volunteers and activators to learn new ways to adapt activities for wheelchair users and participants with vision impairment. This means these participants can join in with running, jumping and throwing activities alongside non-disabled peers. The way clubs run sessions is beginning to change, going from an event focus to an activities focus to enable better inclusion.

Para Table Tennis Pilot

The Para Table Tennis Pilot is in the early stages of co-design and development. This pilot will leverage all shared learnings and best practices from previous pilots and will take place in Auckland, Canterbury, and Waikato.

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