The Herald has employed a complex system of statistics, rumour and hunches to compile a list of no less than 32 candidates capable of securing medals for New Zealand at the Rio Olympics.

The model was by no means scientific, but indicates this New Zealand team should triumph like no other in the country's Games history.

Only a patriotic fantasist could believe the country will return anywhere near 32, but it's a promising frame of reference.

High Performance Sport New Zealand have targeted 14 medals. In light of these predictions, that looks served with a generous dollop of modesty considering the addition of new sports with Kiwi medal prospects like rugby sevens and golf.

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According to the HPSNZ's Games media pack, the taxpayer has invested $175 million across the Olympic cycle to ensure elite sporting success is seen to "lead to both international prestige for the nation, inspiring the nation, and importantly, to an increase in participation among the masses."

New Zealand's previous best medal returns were 13 at Seoul in 1988 (three gold, two silver, eight bronze) and London in 2012 (six gold, two silver, five bronze).

The most gold medals collected was eight - all sitting down - at Los Angeles in 1984.

Some Kiwi athletes might be offended we don't rate them highly enough, or perhaps the expectations are too demanding, but evidence suggests many will succeed in some capacity.

Perhaps the most notable observation - and an insight into the state of gender equality in New Zealand sport - is that 18.25 of the 32 candidates are women (Jonelle Price is part of a four-person eventing team).

Rio could be just the second summer Games when medals earned by females outweigh those of males. In 1952, Yvette Williams won long jump gold, while Jean Stewart (100m backstroke) and John Holland (400m hurdles) earned bronze.

In the past three summer Games, women have secured as many or more golds than the men, but failed to win more gongs overall.

Athletics

Women's shot put: Valerie Adams

Cycling

Men's team sprint: Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, Eddie Dawkins
Women's road time trial: Linda Villumsen

Canoeing

Women's K1 200m: Lisa Carrington
Women's K1 500m: Lisa Carrington

Golf

Women: Lydia Ko

Rowing

Women's double sculls: Zoe Stevenson and Eve Macfarlane
Men's coxless pair: Eric Murray and Hamish Bond

Sailing

Men's 49er: Blair Tuke and Peter Burling

Rowing

Men's single sculls: Mahe Drysdale
Women's single sculls: Emma Twigg
Men's lightweight coxless four

Rugby sevens

Women

Swimming

Women's 800m: Lauren Boyle

Athletics

Men's shot put: Tom Walsh

Cycling

Men's team pursuit: Piet Bulling, Regan Gough, Dylan Kennett, Aaron Gate, Hayden Roulston

Hockey

Women

Rugby sevens

Men

Sailing

Women's 470: Polly Powrie and Jo Aleh

Rowing

Women's lightweight double sculls: Sophie Mackenzie and Julia Edward
Women's coxless pair: Rebecca Scown and Genevieve Behrent
Women's eight

Athletics

Men's 1500m: Nick Willis
Women's pole vault: Eliza McCartney

Cycling

Men's keirin: Eddie Dawkins
Women's team pursuit: Rushlee Buchanan, Jaime Nielsen, Racquel Sheath, Lauren Ellis, Georgia Williams

Equestrian

Individual and/or team eventing: Sir Mark Todd, Jonelle Price, Jock Paget, Clarke Johnstone

Rowing

Men's double sculls: Robbie Manson and Chris Harris
Men's eight

Sailing

Women's 49er FX: Molly Meech and Alex Maloney

Triathlon

Women: Andrea Hewitt