Paralympians officially welcomed home by Prime Minister
New Zealand’s triple medal-winning Paralympic Winter Games Team was officially welcomed home by Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, during a special event at AUT Millennium in Auckland yesterday.
Joining her in offering congratulations on behalf of all New Zealanders was the Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Disability Issues and almost 100 invited supporters, including High Performance Sport New Zealand, Snow Sports New Zealand and Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) partners and suppliers. Of note were the production and support teams from TVNZ and Attitude Pictures, who had worked so hard to deliver live and free-to-air coverage of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games on DUKE.
Adam Hall, Corey Peters and Carl Murphy were visibly moved by the congratulations offered during the event. The three Paralympians had an exceptional Games. Para skier Adam Hall returned with a gold in Slalom and bronze in the Super Combined, sit skier Corey Peters took out a bronze in the Downhill and Para snowboarder, Carl Murphy delivered exceptional performances that saw him finish once in the top 6.
“I feel like New Zealand has really been behind me all the way through PyeongChang, I think the broadcast coverage on DUKE has been amazing and I have had so many people contacting me on social media to say they are watching. I’ve had to turn my notifications off so that I can sleep!” said Hall.
He continued: “It was great to meet the Prime Minister and to hear her talk about how much impact our performances have had in New Zealand and how proud she is of what we have achieved.”
Just prior to the start of the event, a private meet and greet was arranged, during which the Prime Minister and Minister for Disability Issues were formally introduced to the PyeongChang 2018 Team. But also, PNZ was thrilled to be able to introduce members of the Geilo 1980 Team, New Zealand’s first team to ever attend a Paralympic Winter Games and also, the three gold, silver and bronze medallists from the Innsbruck 1984 Team, New Zealand’s first team to win medals at a Paralympic Winter Games.
Vivienne Gapes (nee Martin), New Zealand’s first ever Paralympic Winter Games gold medallist, said: “It was an amazing event. We’re all so excited to come back together with the winter community and to celebrate with the Prime Minister. Hearing about PyeongChang brought back a whole lot of memories!”
Adam Hall, Corey Peters and Carl Murphy all returned home yesterday to spend time with family and friends, before flying back to join the ACC Paralympics New Zealand Open Days in Tauranga this Sunday, 25 March and in Dunedin in two weeks’, on 7 April. The team hope a new generation of Para skiers and Para snowboarders will have been inspired to come out and find out more about Para sport.