Freemasons New Zealand put their weight behind Special Olympics athletes
9 May 2021
A unique partnership between Special Olympics New Zealand and Freemasons New Zealand will support thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete at the National Summer Games from December 8-12.
Special Olympics New Zealand CEO, Carolyn Young says that the confirmation of Freemasons New Zealand as the naming-rights partner for the National Summer Games in Hamilton is another huge milestone as the games reaches it six-month countdown mark.
“We are all about participation and giving our athletes and our clubs the best games experience, so we are extremely grateful to have Freemasons New Zealand on board to support us to do that.”
The National Summer Games is the pinnacle event that athletes with intellectual disabilities work towards every four years. Hamilton can expect over 1,750 athletes and coaches, who will compete in 11 sports across eight venues, supported by many more family and friends.
Freemasons New Zealand Grand Master Graham Wrigley said the sponsorship reflects the organisation’s long-held commitment to supporting community-focussed events and initiatives, especially those that involve or benefit groups like Special Olympics athletes.
“Freemasons is, first and foremost, a charitable organisation and our key values are all around helping local communities. Through our charity we fund a variety of organisations to the tune of around five million dollars a year.
“But our Brethren also want to get hands-on, and we enjoy supporting organisations and initiatives by actively working alongside them and participating with them to help them achieve their goals.
“In supporting Special Olympics New Zealand and the 2021 National Summer Games, we get the best of both worlds, and we hope everyone involved in the games, from the coaches, to the athletes and the administrators and volunteers and family supporters, will derive some benefit from what our Brethren can offer,” says Mr Wrigley.
Carolyn Young says that Special Olympics New Zealand and Freemasons New Zealand share many common values around inclusion, respect, courage, are both underpinned by local clubs and lodges working at a grassroots level and both want to improve local communities and the people in those communities.
“We are incredibly grateful for the financial support from Freemasons New Zealand to help us stage the National Summer Games, but we are just as excited by the prospects and opportunities of a long-term partnership.
Both organisations have active groups in every corner of New Zealand, and we hope to create a long-term relationship in which Special Olympics clubs might tap into the expertise their local Freemason lodges may have for fundraising, administration or organisational skills to help out the mum and dads who are too busy with coaching and running events,” says Ms Young.