In August 2022 the Special Olympics New Zealand Foundation was officially launched with a successful event held at the Grand Hall at Parliament Buildings.
The Foundation was delighted to have over 70 people in attendance including athletes, their families, SONZ officials and supporters, several special guests including the Mayor of Wellington, Andy Foster and the German Deputy Ambassador, Michael Feiener, and several Members of Parliament including host Greg O’Connor MP for Ohariu and the new Minister of Disability Issues, Hon. Poto Williams.
Souella Cumming, Chair of the SONZ Foundation, warmly welcomed everyone and introduced Greg O’Connor who gave a very personal and heartfelt introduction setting the scene as to why we are all here, supporting SONZ and the SONZ Foundation. Supporting Greg was Poto Williams, Minister of Disability Issues, who spoke about the new Ministry, Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People, along with the plans for the implementation of the New Zealand Disability Strategy and Enabling Good Lives initiatives.
Carolyn Young, CEO SONZ, spoke about what having the SONZ Foundation will mean for SONZ and the work that it does to enrich the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through sport and ensuring that people with intellectual disabilities are valued in Aotearoa.
The speech of the night had to go to Sarah Dalton, SONZ Special Olympian. She gave a very entertaining, illustrative and personal speech that not only captivated the audience but also confirmed why everyone was present.
Following the formal part of the evening Michael Holdsworth, who has been part of SONZ for more than thirty years, entertained those present, while they mixed and mingled, with his beautiful piano playing.
The Special Olympics New Zealand Foundation would like to thank everyone for their support. The Foundation is here to ensure the long-term sustainability of Special Olympic activities in New Zealand. To do this the Foundation needs to raise funds. Funds needed are used for both short-term operational funding of SONZ and longer-term endowment investments for the benefit of Special Olympics New Zealand.
Once again, we thank you for your interest and support in Special Olympics New Zealand and the SONZ Foundation, we hope to see you at another SONZ event soon.