Tamariki with disabilities embrace the opportunity to showcase their boccia skills

16 Aug

Collaboration between four organisations has given nine disabled tamariki from seven schools across Ōtautahi the opportunity to compete in sport and showcase their skills in the sport of boccia.

The Canterbury Primary Schools Boccia Championships (CPSBC) is now an annual event on the Primary Sports Canterbury calendar, and with the support of ParaFed Canterbury, Boccia New Zealand and the Halberg Foundation is getting bigger and better each year.

“The CPSBC is an excellent example of a collaborative and inclusive opportunity enhancing participation and competition of disabled tamariki (children)”, says Primary Sports Canterbury’s Michael Wilson.

Boccia (pronounced botcha), is a precision ball sport similar to petanque and bowls whereby athletes throw, kick or use a ramp to propel a ball onto court aiming to get close to a target ball (jack). 

For the nine students involved in this year’s event, which was held at the Bishopdale YMCA on Wednesday 28th June, the competition was an opportunity to compete in a modified format of the sport designed to create a fun and inclusive environment and to ensure a positive experience for everyone involved.

For St Martin School’s, László Walker, who was crowned this year’s champion, the CPSBC “provides an opportunity for him to participate in a regional school sporting competition just as many of his able-bodied peers do”.  For László, who is now in his third year competing, the CPSBC means “he has the chance to embrace a sport, put in the required practice, and then reap the rewards of enhanced self-esteem from his success, as well as receiving accolades and recognition from the school community for his achievements”.  

For the nine students to attend and compete in this competition requires support from school staff, volunteers, Parafed Canterbury, Boccia NZ, the Halberg Foundation and of course, Primary Sports Canterbury. ParaFed Canterbury’s Junior Sports Manager, Charlotte Pawson, emphasises “we are all involved for the same reason, we want to provide these students with an opportunity to represent their school and compete in sport”.

Feedback on this year’s event has been positive from teachers, parents, caregivers and volunteers alike, and anticipation is already building for the 2024 instalment of the CPSBC!

Boccia is a Paralympic sport with no Olympic counterpart and is designed specifically for athletes with a disability affecting locomotor function.

Boccia NZ’s General Manager, Scott Martin says, “The CPSBC provides an opportunity to promote and enhance awareness of the sport and to demonstrate boccia as a truly inclusive sport in which anyone can enjoy regardless of gender, impairment or ability”.


Want to learn more and get involved?

Primary Sports Canterbury

Website:          https://www.primarysportscanterbury.org.nz/home-1?em=0

Facebook:       https://www.facebook.com/PrimarySportsCanterbury

Contact Us:     info@primarysportscanterbury.org.nz


ParaFed Canterbury

Website:            https://www.parafedcanterbury.co.nz/

Facebook:         https://www.facebook.com/ParaFedCanterbury

Contact Us:       info@parafedcanterbury.co.nz


Halberg Foundation

Website:              https://halberg.co.nz/

Facebook:           https://www.facebook.com/HalbergFoundation

Instagram:           https://www.instagram.com/halbergfoundation/

Contact Us:         mitchell@halberg.co.nz


Boccia New Zealand

Website:                www.boccia.org.nz

Facebook:             https://www.facebook.com/boccianz

Instagram:             https://www.instagram.com/boccianewzealand/

Contact Us:           sportdevelopmentlead@boccia.org.nz