August 2023,

HPSNZ Update August 2023

From the Chief Executive

Kia ora tātou,

The 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris will begin exactly one year from today and this edition of HPSNZ Update celebrates the milestone with a Paralympics focus.

Looking back, the COVID-impacted Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games presented extra challenges for New Zealand’s Para athletes, who did the country proud to win a remarkable 12 medals and finish 4th in the world for medals won per capita. Looking ahead to Paris next year, it is exciting to see a mix of seasoned Paralympians and new talent performing on the world stage in a way that suggests even bigger and better things are possible in 2024.

This HPSNZ Update features a chat with new Paralympics New Zealand CEO and Secretary General Greg Warnecke who gives us his thoughts on the year ahead.

Congratulation to Raylene Bates MNZM, who been named to lead the New Zealand Paralympic Team as Chef de Mission for the Paris 2024 Paralympics. This appointment goes alongside Raylene’s countless honours and recognitions for her work in sport and we know she will be an outstanding leader in Paris.

Raylene has provided strategic and operational leadership for Para athletics in New Zealand since 2014, including at the recent World Championships, and in this HPSNZ Update reflects on what she describes as a “coming of age” performance for the NZ Para athletics team at that event.

We should also acknowledge New Zealand’s Para Cycling Team who showed they are on track for Paris with their medal haul at the World Championships in Glasgow last month, led by gold medallists Nicole Murray and Anna Taylor (pictured above) on the track.

This HPSNZ Update also puts the spotlight on Paralympian shot putter Ben Tuimaseve, who is balancing his Paris 2024 qualifying efforts with a Prime Minister’s Scholarship intern role at Te Karanga Trust to gain valuable experience as a youth development worker – a future career he is passionate about.

Moving on to the subject of women’s sport, I would like to congratulate the 11 wāhine who have been selected to take part in HPSNZ’s Women in High Performance Sport Residency Experience over the next 18 months.

And finally, a huge shout out to all those who played a role in the planning and delivery of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. Much has been said about how the event has captured the hearts and minds of viewers in New Zealand, Australia and around the world in a way we couldn’t have hoped at the beginning. Congratulations to the players and all those involved in the delivery of the event across months and years; mahi that will result in a range of legacies for our country.

Ngā mihi

One Year to Go until Paralympics 2024

Greg Warnecke smiling to camera

As the countdown to the Paris 2024 Paralympics ticks over one year to go, New Zealand Para athletes are hitting their straps on the road to qualifying for the Games.

Newly appointed CEO and Secretary General of Paralympics NZ, Greg Warnecke, shares his team’s focus for the Paris campaign and his priorities for the organisation over and above the pinnacle event.

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Big few weeks for Raylene Bates

Raylene Bates and Joseph Smith Paris

It’s been a big few weeks for Athletics NZ’s High Performance Para Lead, Raylene Bates, with her appointment as Chef de Mission for the NZ Paralympic Team at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games following hard on the heels of a “coming of age” performance from the New Zealand Para athletics team at the recent World Championships.

Described as a leader with an exceptional pedigree in sport, Raylene’s success as a high performance lead and coach has seen New Zealand confirm six Para athletics qualification spots for Paris 2024, an outstanding achievement with one year to go until the Games begin.

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One Team to Paris – Log your kilometres

The NZ Paralympic Team is asking all Kiwis to virtually come with them to Paris and back.

Together we’ll walk, wheelchair, run, swim, cycle, and ski to get to a total of 40,000km. Log your kilometres at Let’s see how fast we can get there!

Para athletes undertake a huge journey – physically and mentally – to compete at a Paralympic Games. But they couldn’t do it without the backing of New Zealanders. This joint journey of 40,000km is about solidarity with the Paralympic team in their journey. Everyone can contribute to Paralympic success, and a truly equitable New Zealand. Anyone can take part… One Team, One Spirit!

We’d love you to post on your social media channels from 7pm tonight, through to the end of Tuesday, sharing your support for the NZ Paralympic Team and One Team to Paris. Show us a video of you doing some kilometres and saying something like “I’ve done my 10km today in solidarity with the NZ Paralympic Team. Join the challenge and log a kilometre or 20 at

Check out the new NZ Paralympic team video clip released today.

Women in High Performance Sport Residency Experience participants confirmed

Three women sitting at a table

HPSNZ has completed the selection process for the 2023 intake of the Women in High Performance Sport (WHPS) Residency Experience programme.

The Residency Experience attracted 34 applications and 11 women have now been confirmed in the bespoke fixed term Residency Experience, which covers many aspects of high performance sport including coaching, coach development, pathways as well as high performance and event leadership.

The revamped Residency Experience provides flexibility for individuals looking for leadership opportunities in high performance sport through residency-based roles in NSOs.  Its key objective is to grow the talent pool of women high performance leaders and coaches in New Zealand.

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PM’s Scholarship ceremonies return

PM Scholarship logo

Ceremonies to acknowledge athletes, coaches, support staff and officials receiving Prime Minister’s Scholarships will resume next month following a four-year break due to COVID 19.

Prime Minister’s Scholarships provide tertiary and vocational education for athletes, and professional development for coaches, support team members and officials.

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Paralympian shot putter builds for Paris and a special career

Ben Tuimaseve shot putting

With his sights firmly set on qualifying for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, Paralympian shot putter Ben Tuimaseve is also making every post a winning post in progressing his career as a youth development worker.

We chatted with Ben about his Prime Minister’s Scholarship internship with Te Karanga Trust and its role in growing his skills and experience in youth development as he also targets Paris 2024 qualifying events over the next six months.

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Shooting benefits from Performance Pathways programme

Person aiming a gun to shoot at a competition

Shooting is a small sport with big goals and HPSNZ’s Performance Pathways programme is helping support the next generation of shooting talent.

As an aspirational sport, shooting has very limited resources and that is where the Performance Pathways team steps in.

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Trampoline world champ’s ambitious Paris goals with HPSNZ support team

Dylan Schmidt training in Auckland with coach Angie Dougal who has received a Prime Minister’s Scholarship through HPSNZ to enable her to bring Canadian trampolining coach Dave Ross to NZ. © image by Andrew Cornaga /

Trampoline world champion and Tokyo bronze medallist Dylan Schmidt is building towards Paris 2024 with a five month long programme based in the northern hemisphere.

We talked with Dylan about his goals and the role his HPSNZ performance support team plays while he’s in New Zealand and, importantly, while he is 12,000 miles away for such a long period of time.

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