For the first time in New Zealand history, two athletes have been named co-captains of the New Zealand Olympic Team.

Olympic silver medallists and four-time world champion sailors Blair Tuke and Peter Burling were each presented with a traditional kakahu (cloak) by the New Zealand Olympic Team Chef de Mission Rob Waddell and Sir Jerry Mateparae.

The duo were celebrated by around 150 New Zealand athletes and a bateria (samba drumming group) from Rio de Janeiro's Mangueira community.

The sailers will have the honour of leading the New Zealand contingent in the Opening Ceremony tomorrow morning (NZ time).


Tuke, who hails from Kerikeri, was delighted by the honour.

"We are just so proud and, by sharing our experiences gained as a team, we hope we can inspire incredible performances here in Rio," he said.

"In our sailing campaign, and in life, we approach each day with the aim of improving, getting better at what we do. We know that everyone else on the New Zealand team has worked extremely hard to get here, and now the time has come."

"We are ready to put down a good performance and we know that everyone else on the kiwi team will be ready to do the same."

Burling will carry the flag as the official flag bearer.

Waddell said he is proud that they've named the two sailers as co-captains.

"The joint appointment is a step away from Olympic tradition but it acknowledges the importance of teamwork at the Olympic Games," he said.

"Pete and Blair have delivered exceptional performances as a crew over the past four years and have epitomised the values and culture of the New Zealand Olympic Team."

"Their focus on achievement is without compromise, but as proud New Zealanders and Olympic Ambassadors they also take the time to share their inspiring stories with youngsters. We know they will inspire through achievement and performance."

The event was a crucial team function plays a role in building a strong and unique New Zealand Olympic Team environment.

"Bringing athletes together is a key part of our Olympic preparation," said Waddell.

"We build a strong and secure team to have a positive impact on performance. It's a time to relax for a moment, but also reflect on who we are and what we are here to do."

Around 60 members of the New Zealand squad will march into Maracana Stadium tomorrow night.

The flagbearer is chosen by the New Zealand Olympic Team Chef de Mission taking into account a wide range of factors including past performances, ability to lead and inspire New Zealand athletes, competition preparation and performance standards.