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WEEK 10: Paula Tesoriero MNZM

This week we welcomed Paula Tesoriero MNZM, Chef de Mission – NZ Paralympic Team & Disability Rights Commissioner, NZ Government

13.30 pm – 14.15 pm NZT, Friday 12 June 2020

A lot happened on 25 March 2020. New Zealand entered an unprecedented “Level 4 Lockdown” due to the COVID-19 and that same day, it was announced that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games would be postponed by 12 months. Training and preparation by Paralympians and Para athletes worldwide came to a sudden and unexpected halt, as everyone grappled with the postponement and became used to the restrictions on movement in their countries. With gyms, pools and other sporting facilities closed down all over the world, athletes went from intense daily training to limited fitness routines in their own homes. This week we talked to Paula Tesoriero, Chef de Mission for the New Zealand Paralympic Team to Tokyo, about what the postponement means for global athletes and the Paralympic movement as a whole. As New Zealand’s Disability Rights Commissioner, Paula is currently advocating for the creation of a more inclusive society during the recovery from COVID-19. We talked to her about what this means for disabled people and access to sport and recreation in future.

Paula Tesoriero is New Zealand’s Disability Rights Commissioner. It is her role to protect and promote the rights of disabled New Zealanders. Paula is Chef de Mission for the New Zealand Paralympic team heading to Toyko. She is also a Paralympic cycling gold medalist, a former lawyer, was a general manager at Stats NZ and at the Ministry of Justice, a life trustee with the Halberg Foundation, and has held a range of governance roles on various Boards, and is a mum.


This week’s moderator: Rachel Froggatt

Appointed Chief Executive Officer of Women in Sport Aotearoa,  Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa, in September 2018, Rachel has brought considerable global experience to the task of developing WISPA into a leading research and advocacy body for gender equity, and supporting opportunities for women and girls to be visible, valued and influential across all facets of New Zealand play, active recreation and sport. When New Zealand took over as host nation for the the International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport Secretariat & Conference 2018-2022 in October 2018, Rachel also took on the mantle of Secretary General. As such, Rachel is responsible for global coordination and implementation of the IWG Strategic Plan 2018-2022 and programmes, management of all IWG external and internal affairs, plus delivery of the 8th IWG World Conference, Auckland 2022. A senior commercial communications strategist, over the past 19 years Rachel has worked around the world, collaborating with numerous international sporting bodies. In 2012, Rachel undertook an activation programme during the London 2012 Paralympic Games. She often talks about being truly inspired by the experience, and it triggered her passion for and career redirection into sport for social development. Most recently, Rachel was commercial and marketing director for Paralympics New Zealand (2014 – 2018), with a brief to raise profile and income for kiwi Paralympians around the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. 

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