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Who we are

1 in 4 New Zealanders identify as disabled.

Our passion is giving everybody, of every ability, the opportunity to reach their full potential.

We inspire disabled people to become involved in sport and active recreation by showcasing opportunties and pathways.

We enable by making it easy to become involved and by providing funding.

And most importantly, our members achieve.

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Sport Development Officer Vacancy

Sport Development Officer

Are you interested in Para and disability sport? This may be just the role for you. 

dsport is looking for a new Sport Development Officer based in Wellington. This role is key to providing our programmes and services to our members and the wider disability and sport community in the region.

Full-time 12-month fixed-term.

Located at Akau Tangi Sports Centre.

Position description


Applications close Fri 2 June. 

Include your CV and a covering letter to



Levelling the Playing Field

By William Sangster, Attitude Live

Catriona McBean has 20 years of experience in sport management. Currently on the board of Paralympics New Zealand, she recently completed her PhD in Disability Sport at the University of Waikato. She talks about her upbringing, her career, and the Paralympics. McBean also discusses her thesis, which details how disability sport is levelling the playing field.

    What is the difference between `Disability Sport’ and `Sport’?

    The answer is nothing. And if you have a problem with that, don't argue the point with Catriona McBean.

    “People who are involved in sport aren't disabled; they are enabled if they are participating. I'd only use the term disabled to describe those who are not involved in sport because the sports system, rules and infrastructures prohibit participation.”

    Catriona has 20 years of experience in sport and sport management. She has worked for Water Safety NZ, Swimming NZ, Sport and Exercise NZ, Orienteering NZ and dsport.

    “Working in sport is a huge privilege. I have had the amazing opportunity to be part of and witness gold medal-winning and record-breaking world performances at the Paralympic and Olympic Games and World Championships. But for me, this isn't my biggest highlight.”

    “It may sound like a cliche, but for me, the biggest highlight is the power of sport to transform lives. It doesn't matter if you are disabled or non-disabled, an elite athlete or a club player; your performances often defy your own beliefs. I have seen athletes, young and old, excel in their sport, bettering not only their own expectations but also redefining how they see themselves in the world.”

    Catriona, who is currently on the board of Paralympics New Zealand, recently completed her PhD in Disability Sport at the University of Waikato. Her thesis was titled `I forget I have a disability: Understanding young people's experiences in disability sport and active recreation in Aotearoa, New Zealand.’

    Now, take note; it is important to state that Catriona McBean doesn’t have a disability. 

    “I am not disabled, nor was I a young person with an impairment.”

    However, her father arguably did.

    “Unbeknown to me as a child, my father could have chosen to identify as disabled, but he did not. Injuries sustained during WWII while a navigator in RAF Bomber Command left him wearing a caliper (now referred to as an ankle foot orthosis or AFO) and walking with a stick. His aspirations to represent NZ, wearing the silver fern, as a runner ceased. Always active, my father did not let this injury define who he was. My Dad taught me several life lessons strength through adversity, perseverance, and never giving up on your dream.”

    So, why title her thesis `I forget I have a disability’?

    “I chose this title as it was actually what one of the young people I interviewed said. It really made an impression on me. It totally described what sport meant to these young people.”

    Catriona believes that being connected to sports can “transform lives”. Disability or not.

    “Being part of a team, having a sense of belonging, being able to challenge yourself both physically and mentally - these are just some of what sport has to offer.”

    “Disability sport is about equity. It provides opportunities for people to experience a sport which is better suited to their abilities. It also provides a more even playing field for comparing capability. It also provides a platform for education and understanding.”

    Catriona is heavily involved in the Paralympic Movement in NZ and is looking forward to the Paris Paralympic Games.

    “I am really, really excited about the upcoming Paralympic Games in Paris. It will be an amazing experience for everyone involved. I expect to see new athletes in Paris who will raise the bar on performances. Paralympic performances and records are now very, very competitive, and we're fortunate in NZ to have athletes representing us who will be leading this charge.”

    Catriona believes there’s a lot of room for improvement and that all sports in NZ can better serve the disability community.

    “The low participation rates of disabled young people was first raised in Parliament in 1937. It's now 85 years later and we still haven't seen much change. But it is really time for change to happen.”

    The priority is to get rid of ableism and discrimination in our sports system. 

    “The first step to getting rid of ableism and discrimination in our sport system is to recognise it actually exists in the first place. Most people do not recognise it. Unfortunately, sport is a reflection of society and as most disabled people will tell you, ableism and discrimination is inherent in everyday life too.”

    “Being able to understand what it's like to be disabled is difficult if you haven't had any exposure to it. Trying to explain to someone who does not feel like their lives are limited or constrained is hard.”

    She says change isn’t necessary or important - it’s imperative!

    “I want to see more disabled people being treated with dignity and respect. Being included in the conversations when decisions that affect them are being made, being welcomed into sport and active recreation, being provided with all the same opportunities non-disabled people have without the need to fight for this right.” 

    What ticks her off in the community? 

    “Where do I start! One thing that really annoys me at the moment is those who are making decisions - be it in government or local government - do not consider disabled people. Often decisions are made to benefit a small minority but have a huge impact on the disabled community. But disabled people aren't even thought about. When they are thought about, the consideration is often as an afterthought and sometimes quite patronising.

    She points out an example when speaking with some decision-makers about streets in Wellington. 

    “They asked, ‘where do disabled people go?’ as if there was a single answer. My response was a bit blunt and pointed ‘Well, where do you go?’ Disabled people will go where they need to go to get what they want, visit where they want to. Just like you and I do, and this may differ each time". So this continued belief that disabled people are different to non-disabled people across all aspects of their lives does tick me off.”

    Catriona intends to keep paving the way for the next generation. She believes that we can all do something to level the playing field.

    “Ask, don't presume. Give disabled people the opportunity to have a voice and be part of any decision-making. One size doesn't fit all. So don't expect every disabled person to have the same needs and wants as others. You don't expect this from non-disabled people, so why presume it for disabled people. Start, even if it's just small changes; just make a start.”

    As for the future, Catriona has a clear vision.

    “That sport and active recreation in NZ is truly sport for all. That there will be no need for dedicated disability sport provision because there are no other options available. Rather, I'd like to see disability sports provided as one of many options and opportunities, so disabled people have a range of sports and activities to choose from.”


    Photo credit: Paralympics New Zealand


    2022 dsport Award Recipients

    2022 dsport Award recipients

    Congratulations to our 2022 dsport Trophy recipients.

    We recognise the last few years have been a bit tough for our athletes competing in sport, but 2022 saw a return to competition and our athletes succeed.

    The 2022 recipents are:

    Parafed Wellington Wheelchair Rugby Cup      

    Most dedicated rugby player This cup is awarded to the person who plays or helps at wheelchair rugby.  This person goes that extra bit further for themselves and the team outside of normal training etc, but usually goes unrecognised.

    Johan Gouws


    Parafed Wellington Athletic Cup

    For outstanding achievements in Athletic events

    Corran Hanning

    1st Mens Discus Para Open and

    1st Mens Shot Put Para Open at National Championships.

    1st Boys Discus Multi Class Para Senior and

    1st  Boys Shot Put Multi Class Para Senior at NZ Secondary Schools Athletics Association Championships.

    New NZSSAA Para Shot Put record.

    Represented Wellington College for the McEvedy Shield and was Team Captain

    Caltex Novice Trophy

    Awarded to athlete from any sporting code

    Francis Schilder

    Wheelchair Rugby

    Carlyle Trophy    

    Most input to the Association from non-committee member for coaching, mentoring and support.

    Richard Galloway

    Powerchair football coordinator and coach.

    Parafed Wellington Boccia Cup

    Awarded for outstanding achievements in Boccia

    Hyran Daymond

    Silver in BC3 Pairs with Greig Jackson (Manawatu) and

    Bronze in BC3 Individual at National Championships

    Ranked # 2 in BC3 in NZ

    Parafed Wellington Swimming Cup

    Awarded for outstanding achievements in Swimming

    Erin Knox

    Para sportsperson at the College Sport Wellington Sports Person of the Year Awards.

    Hutt Disabled Sportsperson of the Year award.

    Heretaunga College Mary Fisher Cup for swimming.

    WPPDA President’s Trophy

    The Chairman of Parafed Wellington names the recipient for this award each year


    Andy Henderson

    Boccia dsport team manager

    Boccia NZ President

    Boccia national and international referee

    Parafed Wellington Trophy


    For outstanding sporting achievement and representing NZ internationally from any sporting code within our Association

    Karl Hobman

    1st Para Mixed V6 500,

    2nd Para Mixed V12 500,

    3rd  Para Mixed V6 1000,

    3rd Para Mixed V6 500,

    5th Para Men (VL3) V1 500 and

    6th Para Men (VL3) V1 250

    at the 2022 IVF Va’a World Sprint Championships, England.



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