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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.


    Goalball now available in Wellington

    dsport is pleased to announce Goalball is now available in Wellington.

    Goalball is a Paralympic sport for Para athletes with vision impairments. The sport consists of three players in each team and two goals. Each game involves two halves of 12 minutes each.

    Para athletes use blackout masks to ensure equality on the playing indoor court, as the severity of Para athletes’ impairment may differ. The object of the game is for players to throw the ball so that it rolls towards/into the opposite goal, while opposing players try to block the ball with their bodies to avoid conceding a goal.

    The rubber ball has a bell inside it to orient players, indicating the direction of the on-coming ball. While play is in progress, complete silence is required in the venue to allow the players to hear and instantly react to the ball.

    Training for goalball is held at Queen Margaret College gym on Saturday mornings (9am-11am) on a fortnightly basis in March, then moves weekly from April to August. For training dates check out our Events page


    2021 Award recipients

    2021 Award recipients named

    Congratulations to our dsport 2021 Award recipients for their sporting successes in 2021. These award winners were announced at the Annual General Meeting last night.

    Athletics Cup for outstanding achievements in Athletic events to Corran Hanning

    - NZ Para athletics ranking for U18/Youth 1st in shotput, discus, and hammer

    - Wellington Sports Awards Disabled Sportsperson of the Year

    - College Sport Wellington Disabled Sports Athlete of the Year – Boys


    Caltex Novice Trophy awarded to athlete from any sporting code to Ben Fisher who reached quarter finals at Boccia National Championships

    Carlyle Trophy for the most input to dpsort from non-committee member for coaching, mentoring and support to Sarah Barry, Wheelchair Rugby Team manager


    Boccia Cup for outstanding achievements in Boccia to Hyran Daymond who won Silver in BC3 Individual at National Championships and is ranked # 2 in BC3 in NZ


    Swimming Cup for outstanding achievements in Swimming to Erin Knox

    - 2021 National Age Groups - 2nd 50m Free, 100m Free, 100m Back

    - 2021 North Island Secondary Schools - 1st 100m IM, 50m Back, 50m & 100m Free, 50m Fly

    - College Sport Wellington Disabled Sports Athlete of the Year – Girls

    - Wellington Swimming Disabled Athlete of the Year

    - Junior Sportsperson of the Year for Heretaunga College


    Parafed Wellington Trophy for outstanding sporting achievement and representing NZ internationally from any sporting code to Gavin Rolton who was selected to represent NZ at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Wheelchair Rugby.



    Sports Awards celebrate dsport member's successes

    Congratulations to dsport members

    Mid year is the season for celebrating the successes of our athletes from the previous year. This year, we have a number of athletes who have either recently received awards or have been named finalists for awards. Congratulations to you all, the recognition of your successes is well deserved.


    Blind Sport New Zealand

    Corran Hanning has recently been awarded the Emerging Talent Award.


    Wellington Sport and Recreation Awards

    Gavin Rolton, Erin Knox, Hyran Daymond and Corran have been named finalists for the Disabled Sportsperson Award.

    Corran has also been named a finalist for the Emerging Sportsman award.

    dsport supporter, PNZ Board member and IPC Vice President Duane Kale has also been named a finalist for the Trish McKelvey Leadership Award.

    The awards will be presented in July - hopefully in person this year.


    Hutt Valley Sports Awards

    Hyran and Erin are finalists for the Hutt Valley awards which will be held later this month.


    2021 Annual Report

    Looking back on 2021 its hard to believe how different the last two years have been, how our world has changed and how we as an organisation has had to adapt to the rapidly changing Covid-19 impacted society we are now in.

    The last two years has shown how resilient our community is and how, even when faced with adversity, we can come together and celebrate our successes -  such as Gavin Rolton, Wheelblack, who  competed for New Zealand at the Paralympics in Tokyo 2020, our boccia players or our Youth Group participants.

    To read more of the 2021 Annual Report




    We’re 15% of the world.

    People with disabilities are 15% of our world.


    WeThe15 is sport’s biggest ever human rights movement to end discrimination. We aim to transform the lives of the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities who represent 15% of the global population.


    WeThe15 will campaign to break down barriers

    Launching at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, WeThe15 plans to initiate change over the next decade by bringing together the biggest coalition ever of international organisations from the world of sport, human rights, policy, communications, business, arts and entertainment.

    At a time when diversity and inclusion are hot topics, the 15% who have a disability want effective change to remove the inequality and inactivity. Like race, gender and sexual orientation, we want to have a movement all persons with disabilities can rally behind. A global movement that is publicly campaigning for disability visibility, inclusion and accessibility.

    WeThe15 will shine a light on 15% of the world’s population. It will build greater knowledge of the barriers and discrimination persons with disabilities face on a daily basis at all levels of society. By doing so we will break down these barriers so all persons with disabilities can fulfil their potential and be active and visible members of an inclusive society.

    Get Involved


    Paralympic Classifications Explained

    Paralympic Classifications Explained

    Ever wondered what the Paralympic Classifications mean, well here's a simple guide.



    The International Paralympic Committee explain classification provides a structure for competition. Athletes competing in Para sports have an impairment that leads to a competitive disadvantage. The system in place to aims minimise the impact of impairments on sport performance and to ensure the success of an athlete is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus.

    Classification determines who is eligible to compete in a Para sport and it groups the eligible athletes in sport classes according to their activity limitation in a certain sport.

    The Paralympic Movement offers sport opportunities for athletes with physical, vision and/or intellectual impairments that have at least one of the 10 eligible impairments identified.

    1. Impaired muscle power

    2. Impaired passive range of movement

    3. Limb deficiency

    4. Leg length difference

    5. Short stature

    6. Hypertonia - an increase in muscle tension and a reduced ability of a muscle to stretch caused by damage to the central nervous system.

    7. Ataxia - uncoordinated movements caused by damage to the central nervous system.

    8. Athetosis - continual slow involuntary movements

    9. Vision impairment (VI)

    10. Intellectual Impairment

    Classification systems differ by sport and are developed by the International Federations (IF) governing the sport. 

    IFs decide which eligible impairments their sport will cater for. Some Paralympic sports are only designed for athletes with one eligible impairment type. Goalball, for example, is only open to athletes with a vision impairment. Other sports, such as athletics and swimming, are open to athletes with any of the 10 eligible impairments.


    What about sport classes?

    A sport class is a category which groups athletes depending on how much their impairment impacts performance in their sport. Therefore, a sport class is not necessarily comprised of one impairment type alone, but can be made up of athletes with different impairments. However, these different impairments affect sport performance to a similar extent. For example, you will find athletes with paraplegia and double above-knee amputation competing in the same sport class in athletics because their different impairments have a comparable effect on their ability to race 1,500m in a wheelchair using arm propulsion.

    In individual sports, athletes should compete against athletes in their own sport class to ensure the impact of impairment is minimised. In national events and smaller international competitions athletes in different sport classes may compete together for one medal, because there are not enough athletes for each sport class to create a competitive event. In these cases, and in some sports, athletes in different sport classes are given a ‘coefficient’ or correction score to account for the different levels of activity limitation.


    How is an athlete classified?

    A sport class is allocated through athlete evaluation by a panel of classifiers. Each International Federation trains and certifies classifiers to conduct athlete evaluation in its sport. Classifiers assessing athletes with the various physical impairments listed above either have a medical or paramedical background and/or are technical experts in their sport. Classifiers for athletes with a vision impairment have a background in ophthalmology or optometry. Psychologists and sport experts are responsible for the classification of athletes with an intellectual impairment.


    Want to know more, check out the IPC Explanatory Guide.


    Peter Horne - MNZM - Queens Birthday Honour

    Congratulations to dsport member Peter Horne who was award a Queens Birthday honour for services to bowls and Paralympic sport.

    Peter has been heavily involved with lawn bowls, para sport and disability sport in New Zealand.

    He is a gold-medal winning Paralympian and founder and President of New Zealand Disabled Lawn Bowls. He won gold in the Men’s Singles LB3 and bronze in the Men’s Pairs LB2 at the 1988 Seoul Paralympic Games, as well as a bronze medal at the 1996 Paralympic Games. He was selector, coach, manager and player for the New Zealand team at the 1993 Adelaide World Disabled Bowls. He has won several club and centre titles against the able bodied, alongside 10 World Disabled Bowls tournament wins. He was instrumental in the successful hosting of the International Bowls for the 2015 Disabled World Championships and organised and ran the 2018 Disabled National Bowls Tournament, raising more than $20,000 to fund the event. He visits local schools to speak about his disabilities, has coached hundreds of people over the years and works hard to provide opportunities for everyone to participate in sport.


    Peter is a longstanding memebr of dsport, an active member of the Naenae Bowling Club, the Hutt Valley Sports Committee and serves on the Committee’s judging panel for the Hutt Valley Sports Awards.


    Congratulations to Gavin Rolton, Wheelblack

    Congratulations to Gavin Rolton, Wheelblack

    Congratulations to Gavin Rolton, whose selection was announced today, as part of the Wheelblacks team to represent New Zealand at the upcoming Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

    Gavin has been a member of the dsport wheelchair rugby team for many years and has represented New Zealand at many international events, but Tokyo 2020 is the event he has been training hard for over the last few years.


    Sport Minister Grant Robertson has announced how $5.7 million investment into disability sport

    Sport Minister Grant Robertson has announced how $5.7 million investment into disability sport

    Last week Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced how $5.7 million will be allocated to create better quality experiences for disabled tamariki and rangatahi.

    Media Release

    The investment, via Sport NZ’s Disability Plan, will see $2.1 million provided to 15 Parafeds/dsport and seven National Disability Sport Organisations (NDSOs) over the next three years and $3.6 million for two new contestable disability funds.

    “More needs to be done to improve the range and quality of physical activity on offer for disabled people.

    “This investment will significantly increase Sport NZ’s investment in the sector to ensure disabled tamariki and rangatahi can participate in quality and equitable play, active recreation and sport of their choice,” Grant Robertson said.

    The two new Contestable Disability Funds will support national and regional organisations to deliver initiatives and programmes that increase the opportunities being provided to disabled participants.

    The funds will support the expansion of proven programmes, as well as the development of innovative new programmes. The two new funds will complement the investment being made through Tū Manawa which is providing opportunities for disabled tamariki and rangatahi to be active.

    To date just over $2 million of Tū Manawa funds have been approved by Regional Sport Trusts for disabled young people. 



    The commitment from the Government to make the lives of disabled New Zealanders better through sport and active recreation has previously been via the annual No Exceptions Investment. Now dsport and our colleagues around the country are receiving a 3-year commitment with increased investment. We thank the Minister and Sport NZ for recognising this need, and we look forward to continueing to deliver our programmes and services to our members.