A community event in Hamilton on Thursday evening celebrated 18 New Zealand Paralympians who have represented Kiwis with pride over the years.

Paralympics New Zealand chief executive, Fiona Allan (left) and New Zealand Paralympian Tiffiney Perry at The Celebration Project Community Event. Photo / Michael Bradley/Getty Images
Paralympics New Zealand chief executive, Fiona Allan (left) and New Zealand Paralympian Tiffiney Perry at The Celebration Project Community Event. Photo / Michael Bradley/Getty Images

The Paralympians, families and friends, Paralympics New Zealand commercial partners and business leaders came together at Ebbett Toyota with Waikato Chamber of Commerce to celebrate over 50 years' of Paralympic history in New Zealand acknowledging the 209 Paralympians who have represented New Zealand.

It was the third community event as part of The Celebration Project, where over the next 12 months in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020, the achievements of New Zealand's 209 Paralympians since Tel Aviv 1968 will be officially recognised and celebrated.

Since 1968 New Zealand Paralympic Teams have shown determination, heart, courage and success. Paralympians have brought home a total of 221 medals, inspiring Kiwis to think differently about disability.

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New Zealand Paralympian Paul Leefe signs the official 50-year celebration poster at Ebbett Toyota. Photo / Michael Bradley/Getty Images for Paralympics New Zealand
New Zealand Paralympian Paul Leefe signs the official 50-year celebration poster at Ebbett Toyota. Photo / Michael Bradley/Getty Images for Paralympics New Zealand

The 18 people honoured in Hamilton join an elite group of Paralympians who have now received their official numbered Paralympic pin and certificate.

This group totals 44 following the Celebration Project events in Auckland and Whangārei last month.

The Paralympic 'number' is given once a Paralympian has competed their first Paralympic Games. Athletes are then ordered alphabetically within each Paralympic Games.

New Zealand Paralympian Nikita Howarth signs the official 50-year celebration poster at Ebbett Toyota. Photo / Michael Bradley/Getty Images for Paralympics New Zealand
New Zealand Paralympian Nikita Howarth signs the official 50-year celebration poster at Ebbett Toyota. Photo / Michael Bradley/Getty Images for Paralympics New Zealand

PNZ will stage nine more community events around the country. The project has been funded by the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, New Zealand Chambers of Commerce and Toyota New Zealand.

Paralympian #191 Richard Dodson met this week with Fiona Allan, Chief Executive, PNZ, and was presented with his official Paralympic pin and certificate.

Richard made his Paralympic debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Para sailing with crew mates Chris Sharp and Andrew May competing in the three-person keelboat event (Sonar) placing fourth.

He was the onboard strategist with Team New Zealand when they won the 1995 America's Cup in San Diego, and again during the Team's 2000 defence.

Guests check out the 50 years of Paralympics display at The Celebration Project Community event. Photo / Michael Bradley/Getty Images for Paralympics New Zealand
Guests check out the 50 years of Paralympics display at The Celebration Project Community event. Photo / Michael Bradley/Getty Images for Paralympics New Zealand

The 18 Paralympians honoured in Hamilton and their unique numbers are:

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55: Patrick Cooper 1988(w), 1992(w), 1994(w) Para alpine skiing, Hamilton.
90: Jayne Craike 1996, 2000, 2004 Para equestrian, Papakura.
97: Paul Leefe 1996, 2000, Wheelchair rugby, Rototuna, Hamilton.
100: Peter Martin 1996, 2000, 2004, 2012, Para athletics, Hamilton.
123: Ross Flood 2000, 2004, Boccia Dinsdale, Hamilton.
150: Perry Tiffiney 2004, Wheelchair tennis, Hamilton.
153: Daniel Sharp 2004, 2008, 2012, Para swimming, Chartwell, Hamilton.
163: David Klinkhamer, 2008, Wheelchair rugby, Rototuna.
179: Nikita Howarth 2012, 2016, Para swimming, Para cycling, Cambridge
181: Danny McBride, 2012, Para rowing, Tirau.
186: Rachel Hughes (nee Stock) 2012, Para equestrian, Tuakau.
190: Amanda Cameron, 2016 Para cycling, Cambridge.
193: Jason Eales 2016 Shooting Para sport, Flagstaff, Hamilton.
194: Emma Foy 2016 Para cycling, Cambridge.
202: Jacob Phillips 2016 Para athletics, Dunedin.
203: Byron Raubenheimer 2016 Para cycling, Cambridge.
207: Fraser Sharp 2016 Para cycling, Hairini, Tauranga.
209: Hannah Van Kampen 2016 Para cycling, Cambridge.