New Zealand’s Olympic and Commonwealth Games athletes have gathered to mark the success of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The New Zealand Team 2022 Olympic Gala was hosted this evening in Auckland and brought together more than a hundred athletes from across the three history-making teams for a night of celebration.

Speakers reflected on an extraordinary two years of Olympic and Commonwealth Sport which began with the Tokyo Olympic Games becoming New Zealand’s most successful ever Olympic Games with the team winning 20 medals.

Just over six months later the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games followed, with the New Zealand Team winning New Zealand’s first ever Winter Olympic gold medal. The team wrapped the campaign with two brilliant golds, as well as a silver.

Mid-way through 2022 the Birmingham Games became New Zealand’s most successful ever offshore Commonwealth Games with the team winning a staggering 49 medals, including 20 gold.

Each of these three Games took place during the global pandemic, and New Zealand’s athletes drew on unprecedented determination and commitment to overcome the challenges they faced.

Among those in attendance at the Gala was Dame Lisa Carrington who won three gold medals in Tokyo.

"It feels like a lot of time has passed since Tokyo so it's really nice to be here tonight to celebrate and to be reminded of that period and how amazing it was," said Dame Lisa.

Outgoing NZOC President Mike Stanley was also acknowledged for his significant contribution to the Olympic movement. Stanley, Olympian #504, has been NZOC President since 2009 and will finish his term next month. He received a pounamu gift and was given a standing ovation. 

“I’m incredibly proud of the NZOC, the team culture of manaaki we’ve grown, and our athletes and the way they represent New Zealand both on and off the field of play,” said Stanley.
“I’m now looking forward to being our games teams’ biggest supporter and celebrating the ongoing success of the NZOC, our member sports, and their athletes.”

While the focus of the evening was Tokyo, Beijing and Birmingham, the evening also provided an opportunity to present Kanah Nahu Andrews with a bronze medal from the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, awarded post-Games, following the disqualification of the original gold medallist.   

The New Zealand Olympic Gala also marked the shift in focus to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, where more than 200 New Zealand athletes are expected to compete. 

The Paris 2024 Games will see the best athletes from around the globe go head-to-head, as the equivalent of 30 world championship events take place in one of the world's most vibrant cities over an intense 17 days of competition from July 26th to August 11th.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist, high jumper Hamish Kerr was in attendance and says Paris can’t come soon enough.

“It’s pretty exciting now that we’re under the two-year mark,” said Kerr.

“Everything I’m doing now is in preparation for the ultimate goal of Paris and I can’t wait to get back on that Olympic stage and show the world what I’m capable of.”

NZOC CEO Nicki Nicol said the Gala Dinner is a crucial fundraising event, with all proceeds to go towards getting the New Zealand Team to Paris 2024. 

"It’s a big financial undertaking to get a team to the Olympic Games and make sure they are prepared and with everything they need to take on the world's best,” said Nicol.

“We couldn't do it without the support of our generous sponsors, partners, benefactors and the people in the room tonight so I'd like to thank them for everything they do for the New Zealand Team." 

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