Skip to main content

Latest News

We are not on the sidelines, we are in the team

dsport Manager Catriona McBean is recruiting research participants for her PhD research into disability sport. Catriona, through a University of Waikato Doctoral Scholarship is looking into young people with physical impairments' engagement in sport and active recreation.


We’re not on the sideline, we are in the team

Researching Young People with Physical Impairments engagement in sport and active recreation

95,000 young New Zealander's identify as disabled.

According to Sport New Zealand (Sport NZ) disabled young people are under-represented in participation in sport and active recreation

During my time working and volunteering in the sector, I have observed disabled young people missing out, but I have also seen some fully engaged in sport and active recreation. Through hearing from these Young People with Physical Impairments (YPwI) who are active and engaged, I want to find out how more opportunities can be provided to get more disabled young people involved in sport and active recreation.

Put simply, the purpose of her research is to identify what positive factors influence YPwI’s participation in sport and active recreation in New Zealand. What gets them involved and what keeps them involved.


A bit about Catriona

Catriona McBean and is a PhD candidate at the University of Waikato and also works for dsport.  

She has worked and volunteered in sport and active recreation for over 35 years. Herroles in sport include leading Swimming NZ, Sport & Exercise Science NZ, and Orienteering NZ. In active recreation she has worked for Water Safety NZ and held volunteer roles in outdoor multisport events.

Over the last decade Catriona has been actively involved in disability sport, including being a Paralympics New Zealand board member and a volunteer for the International Paralympic Committee in Oceania. In 2018 she was a volunteer at the Winter Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang and is hoping to be at the Tokyo games in 2021.


Why is this research needed?

While there is lots of research about inclusion in schools there is little that identifies the factors that contribute to the successful engagement of those YPwI who do participate in clubs and teams.  

One of the objectives of this research is to provide some practical outcomes for those wanting to become involved in disability sport provision. By identifying these arrangements and practices, illustrative case studies of what enables successful engagement can be articulated to sports organisations, as well as assisting in the development of future Government initiatives. Perhaps it will help support a move from ‘disability sport’, to a true sport for all system.

Ultimately, it is hoped the number of YPwI engaged in sport and active recreation in the future will increase, their participation rates improve, and that their experiences are positive and rewarding.


Research scope

The scope of this study means Catriona only have the capacity to meet with 4 or 5 Young YPwI to hear directly from them about their experiences in sport and active recreation.

To ensure she gets a range of perspectives and experiences, Catriona has created a nomination questionnaire. The questionnaire is in 2 sections. The first about the YPwI. The second about their family/whānau. 

The aim is to include disabled young people who are of different ages and gender, have different impairments, come from different areas and participate in different sports and active recreation.

Catriona also wants to hear from family/whānau and coaches/group leaders. If the YPwI you nominate is selected, you will also be able to help with this research.


How can you help?

There’s a number of ways you can help. If you are a:

  • sporting/disability organisation, please forward this to your members/regions/clubs/teams/coaches and promote through your social media (pdf and jpeg files attached)
  • family/whānau of a YPwI, talk to the YPwI in your household about this research. If they are interested in being part of this research or if you think they will be, please Nominate here
  • coach/group leader who has a YPwI in our club/team/group, feel free to forward this information to family/whānau of the YPwI.
  • friend or know a family with a YPwI who may be interested, please forward this information to family/whānau of the YPwI.


Nominations close Saturday 31 October

To find out  more about my research




Congratulations to Corran Hanning - Athletics Wellington Para Athlete of the Year

Congratulations to Corran Hanning to has been named Athletics Wellington Para Athlete of the Year (2019/20).

Last year Corran's performances included

  • NZ Secondary School Athletics Championships.  2 Golds + 1 Silver + 3 NZSSA records + 3 Athletics NZ National U17 F12 + 1 U20 F12 Para Athletics records
  • NI Secondary Schools Athletics.  3 Golds + 3 NI records
  • Wellington Sportsperson of the Year – Disabled Sportsperson Finalist
  • College Sport Wellington Sportsperson of the Year – Disabled Athlete
  • Hutt Valley Sportsperson of the Year – Disabled Sportsperson Finalist



2019 dsport Awards

Each year we have the pleasure of awarding our trophies in recognition of our members performances during the year the preceeding year.  This year due to Covid-19 we thought we would have to "present" the trophies online, but by delaying our AGM we were able to present these to most recipients in person.

Congratulations to all of our Award recipients

Wheelchair Rugby Cup - Chris Barry

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.        

Athletic Cup - Corran Hanning

For outstanding achievements in Athletic events.  Corran's achievements were:

  • NZ Secondary School Athletics Championships.  2 Golds + 1 Silver + 3 NZSSA records + 3 National U17 F12 Para Athletics Records +1 National U20 F12 Para Athletics record
  • North Island Secondary Schools Athletics.  3 Golds + 3 NI records.
  • Wellington Sportsperson of the Year – Disabled Sportsperson Finalist
  • Wellington College Sport Sportsperson of the Year – Disabled Athlete

Caltex Novice Trophy - Kate Olver 

Awarded to athlete from any sporting code. Kate's year included Silver and Bronze at the 2019 NZCAF National Schools Aerobics & Hip Hop Championships in Queenstown. 

Carlyle Trophy - Tina Kerr

Most input to the Association from non-committee member for coaching, mentoring and support. Tina is a Boccia ramp assistant for her son Jeffrey.

Boccia Cup - Hyran Daymond

Awarded for outstanding achievements in Boccia. This year Hyran won Gold in BC3 Pairs, and Bronze in BC3 National Championships. Hyran is ranked # 3 in BC3 in NZ.

Swimming Cup - Erin Knox

Awarded for outstanding achievements in Swimming.  Erin's achievements included 

  • AIMS Games – 3 Golds + 3 Para records.
  • Wellington Swimming Disabled Athlete of the Year
  • Qualified for Swimming NZ Open Championships

President’s Trophy - Denise Harrison

The President names the recipient for this award each year. Denise has provided support for Boccia and is a member of dsport committee.

Parafed Wellington Trophy - Kate Horan

For outstanding sporting achievement and representing NZ internationally from any sporting code within our Association. Kate won Bronze at the 2019 UCI World Para Cycling Track Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands.


Member Profile Series - Introducing ... Neil Tonkin

Neil's life changed at 4.30pm on Sunday 6 November 1977 when, as an 18 year old youth, something happened on the way home from work & he woke up in a fence on the side of the Haywards to Porirua road (SH58).  

He had multiple spinal injuries and a major dislocation between T11 & T12.  This meant Neil was a complete paraplegic.  

Neil's accident happened such a long time ago that the now Burwood Spinal Unit was simply called 13B at located at Christchurch Hospital.  Neil recalls hearing the rats running around the ceiling during the night, and13B being so primitive that you “graduated” from having your own room to sleeping in the ward laundry when they ran out of space. Neil is a good storyteller so we're not sure if this is fact or ficton! 

In the 40+ years ago since his accident, the improvements to care, treatment & equipment has been extraordinary. Despite the primitive & now obsolete systems at 13B, most of the patients (or gimps as Neil fondly calls them) have good memories due to a real camaraderie between the patients & the staff.  According to Neil, "Cos, the head physio, was as tough as nails & never took “no” for an answer.  She could be demanding but loved & cared for us all.  Gimps of my vintage all respected & loved her!"

Neil was always active & saw no reason why he wouldn’t stay that way after his accident.  While motor cycling & tramping were no longer possible most other things merely meant modifying how he went about it.  After five months in the spinal unit he came back to Wellington wondering what to do with his life.  

Through Parafed Wellington (now dsport), he got to know a number of other disabled people.  Eve Rimmer published her book “No grass between my toes” around this time & it convinced him that he wanted to be a disabled athlete.  Neil moved with my family to Christchurch. He was lucky to have three things in his favour.  Firstly, he had a supportive extended family that encouraged whatever ambitions he had.  Neil said "I cannot recall my family ever questioning the wisdom of any of my ideas or ventures".  Secondly, he joined Parafed Canterbury & was blessed to come under the wing of Paralympian Graham Condon whose first words are burned into his memory, “you’re a bit scrawny aren’t you.  Have you thought about wheelchair racing".  Neil never looked back.  Thirdly, he was accepted into the first ever degree in Receation Management at Lincoln University graduating in 1981.

Neil's advice is never underestimate the value of supportive mentors.  Without his whanau, without Graham and without the principal course lecturer Alan Taylor, he would not have started what was to become a successful career & life.  

Within a year, Neil was breaking national wheelchair racing records & “running” over 100km per week in his wheelchair, no sports wheelchair for him.  By 1981, he was NZ’s top wheelchair racer at every distance from 200m up to the marathon.  Fortunately, Neil also became involved in competitive wheelchair basketball & pistol shooting as wheelchair racing bcame a bit more challenging when he moved back to Wellington.

Despite the Wellington conditions, Neil built his own specialist racing chair, joined an athletics club and competed in regional athletic races at Newtown Park continually improving my times.  To get around training on dark & dangerous roads, he set up rollers in his garage and enjoyed the opportunity to train out there after a full day at work. 

But it turned out Neil's real passion was wheelchair basketball.  In the late 1980's there were enough players for Wellington to have a competitive league of four teams, played at the Porirua Recreation Centre every Monday night.  The highlight was winning the Nationals Championships in 1988 with the most disabled team in the competition's history.  In 1987, a number of players attended the World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Australia.  According to Neil, that was a revelation.  The chairs those guys used were almost science fiction in comparison with the chairs they played in.  

Two things stood out for Neil.  One was a Dutch player with CP. Despite his hands and arms constantly shaking, it took only one shot from him to see why he was there.  He was the Dutch 3 point shooter!  He was unbelievably accurate while seemingly looking in a different direction.  He was a great example of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”!  The other was the Yugoslav team whose equipment was primitive at best and every one of them seemed to a misfit.  They were brilliant!  They were a great team without any of the resources of the other 11 teams in the tournament yet came painfully close to reaching the semi-finals.  They showed adversity doesn’t mean you can’t succeed.  

Neil did regain his outdoor experiences, not by tramping but through whitewater rafting, including becoming a Grade 3 qualified Guide.  Rafting was a revelation as it gave himaccess to wilderness that was incredibly inaccessible even to able-bodied people.  Always an advocate for his region, Neil believes one of the finest rafting rivers in NZ is the Hutt River from Kaitoki to Te Marua!  While rafting isn't for everyone Neil loved it and it took him places that otherwise were simply unavailable to him.  

He considered myself “lucky” when in 1981, he was appointed as Porirua City Council's first Recreation Officer.  This was the beginning of Neil's professional career is recreation and sport management. After Porirua, I worked for the Hillary Commission (now Sport NZ) from 1989 to 1992, and then the Hutt City Council from 1992 until he retired in 2002.  

Today Neil still keeps active using a stationary hand cycle for exercise with up to five half hour sessions each week, as well as doing a lot of volunteer work using his professional experience & expertise. He also keeps busy propagating vegetable and NZ native seedlings, beekeeping and building horizontal hives for other disabled people to use, and keeping on top of his own gardening on his lifestyle block and managing/killing “pests” and enhancing native fauna.

In his own words, this is what Neil has learnt over his 40+ years:

  • Firstly, it doesn’t matter what you do if it’s enjoyable to you so long as it’s legal.  I loved the endless training when I was competitive despite it seeming to be incredibly boring.  Because I loved it, I did it!  Because I did it I got very good at it.  Find what pushes your buttons & you’ll never look back.  Try everything at least once.  You may be surprised at what does “push your buttons”.   
  • Secondly, don’t let others set your limits.  Set them yourself - just be realistic.  You can achieve way beyond what you may initially have believed possible!  Until I started rafting, it never crossed my mind that I could once again experience true wilderness.  I get frustrated at seeing great potential of so many people not being set free.  
  • Thirdly, a touch of mongrel is always helpful.  I am stubborn & I am opinionated but it works for me and what I’m involved in.  Don’t drift into the grey nothingness of neither victory nor defeat.  Fight for what you want.  Prove it to yourself!  Adversity is not a barrier it is merely a hurdle to overcome.  
  • Disabled people today have access to opportunities that were simply impossible even 20 years ago.  Take advantage of it & it will make you stronger, faster, more able and open doors for you including representing your region or nation if that’s what you want.  Just do it!

Member Profile Series - Introducing .... The Missing Paralympian and her Medal Muddle


Member Profile Series - Introducing .... Peter Horne "Hooks"

Member Profile Series - Introducing .... Peter Horne "Hooks"

dsport is celebrating some of our members who often fly under the radar.  We start our Member Profile Series - Introducing .... Peter Horne "Hooks".


Peter was born with a condition called  " Amniotic Band Syndrome (ABS)". He was born without all four limbs. This condition still occurs today. ABS occurs randomly. It’s not genetic, nor is it caused by anything a pregnant mother did or didn’t do during pregnancy

From a young age Peter was fitted with two artificial legs, a hook left arm and what they call an opposition plate on his right arm. That's why he is affectionately known as "Hooks".

One of four siblings he attended normal schools through to high school.

Through his life, Peter has worked mainly in engineering, but has also tried his luck forklift driving, being a garage manager, Mitre 10 staffer, mystery shopper, a signal man for Kiwi Rail, and these days a part time courier driver.

Peter has had a fantastic sporting life having played all sports at school, then pool, darts, table tennis, and indoor bowls. In the late 1970's he took up outdoor lawn bowls and soon found he was pretty good at it.  He joined the Taita Bowling Club and soon found was able to play with and against some of the best bowlers in NZ.  Peter soon found myself winning club titles then a centre title with his father Ron, with whom he had lots of success.

In 1988 Peter was selected to represent New Zealand at the Paralympic's in Seoul, South Korea.  Unlike today, Peter and his team mates had to self-fund to get there, but this was a great incentive to perform for my team of backers and club friends. And perform he did, winning Gold in the Singles and Bronze in the Pairs.

Peter is understand when he says "I have won many club and two more centre titles against the able bodied, plus 10 World Disabled Bowls tournaments". 

One real disappointment for Peter was having his team withdrawn from the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.

He is a founding member of NZ Disabled Lawn Bowls and their current President. In his 42nd season of lawn bowls Peter still loves the game.

High lights of his life include obtaining my drivers license, winning a centre title with my father, winning major tournaments with my friend Don Wadsworth and Rowan Brassey, and being a Hutt Valley Sports Legend.


Peter is not only a great bowls player, he's also a bit of a handyman around home, although not quite as successful as this funny story tells.

Peter was changing the filter on my DVS heat pump.  This meant going up in the ceiling. So Peter, being Peter, decided to do another job while up there - letting off some borer bombs.

Unfortunately for Peter, while he was in the ceiling the latter fell and he was trapped.  No way down, no one hearing his call for help and with no one else at home he was stuck. Thinking about his situation, Peter noticed some extension cord he had left in the ceiling and decided if he took is arm off, the one with the hook on it, he could tie it to the cord and try and lasoo the ladder.  Believe it or not, it worked and Peter as able to extracate himself from the ceiling, but he did get a bit of ribbing from his friends.  Next time Hooks, ask for help before you go up in the ceiling!


Erin Knox interviews Olympic Swimmer Lewis Clareburt

Erin Knox interviews Olympic Swimmer Lewis Clareburt

Wellington Para swimmer Erin Knox celebrates Youth Week by interviewing fellow Wellington swimmer Lewis Clareburt.

Lewis was planning on being in Tokyo in July for the Summer Olympics. With Covid-19 causing the Games to be deferred until next year, Erin took the opportunity to find out more about Lewis and how he has been coping without a pool in lockdown.

Join Erin and Lewis chatting about swimming, lockdown, and study.


2019 Annual Report


dsport AGM online on Sunday 19 April - Deferred


dsport Offices go Online

dsport Offices go Online

In response to the Covid-19 situation, Wellington City Council has closed all recreation centres, pools, community centres and libraries.

As the dsport office is located in the ASB Sports Centre, we are now working online out of the office.  Both Catriona and Kate are still available via email or Facebook. 

We'll still be working during this time.  Don't forget if you have any suggestions on the following consultation going on, please let us know.

1. Wellington City Council Parking Policy

2. NZTA Accessible Streets


Talent Development Squad announced

Congratulations to these 5 dsport members

Congratulations to these 5 dsport members who have been selected to be part of the dsport athletes in the Sport Wellington WCC Sport Talent Development programme.

Erin Knox, Mitchell Lang, Corran Hanning, Joel Flewellen and Johan Gouws.

9 sports (around 100 athletes) were chosen, including dsport. The other sports are basketball, climbing, football, golf, hockey, netball, rowing and swimming.

Athletes will receive personalised programme as well as access to Sport Wellington and High Performance Sport services to help them on their journey.

Paralympian Kate Horan will be overseeing the programme so these athletes will also be able to utilise all Kate's knowledge and experience.


Find out how you can help dsport fundraising by shopping online.

We have joined Rewardhub to help us fundraise.

Rewardhub lets us earn free donations every time you shop online, without costing you a cent.

All you need to do is go to Rewardhub and search for dsport, register and then start shopping online. 

There's over 100+ brands available as well as discounts and special offers.

The brand makes a donation to dsport at no cost to you.

Help us, just by shopping online.