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Joan Fairhall

Joan Fairhall is currently on sabbatical in Australia but this hasn’t stopped her involvement in Special Olympics New Zealand. She is in regular contact with the Special Olympics North Harbour team and continues to provide valuable guidance, and counsel on sporting and administration matters.

Joan’s son Tim began training with the Special Olympics North Harbour aquatics team in 1990. Within two weeks Joan was involved assisting two volunteers to coach the team. Her enthusiasm for the sport, and Tim’s dedicated training resulted in him competing at the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China.
Over the past 20 years Joan has taken an active role in Special Olympics North Harbour and worked tirelessly as its coordinator and chairperson, to the point of giving up full-time employment to focus on the Club’s growth. Between 2003 and 2010 the Club doubled its athlete numbers, increased its sport offerings from four to nine, recruited more volunteers, and increased the number of athletes participating in two or more sports. 
She retired from the position in 2010 and by all accounts has been greatly missed on the Club Committee. Joan continues to fundraise for Special Olympics North Harbour, and has used her business connections both here and in Australia to mobilise support for the Club and Special Olympics New Zealand.
Over the years Joan has been applauded in the community for her work with Special Olympics North Harbour including being named Sports Administrator of the Year at the Massey University Sporting Excellence Awards in 2008 and the Regional Sports Administrator of the Year in the Auckland Region Sports Awards 2008. She also received Rotary International’s Paul Harris Fellowship for her services to the community through Special Olympics in 2008. Despite these accolades Joan maintains her best award is “the achievement, enjoyment of the athletes, and the wonderful relationships I have with them.” 
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