Sophie Pascoe and Will Stedman have been chosen as the Hāpai Kara of the New Zealand Paralympic Team.
The title of Hāpai Kara is significant.
A hāpai is a carrier or bearer, and comes from the whakataukī, ‘Te amorangi ki mua, te hāpai ō ki muri.’ Which basically means the priests in front, the bearers of provisions behind.
Kara can translate as a term of address to a friend.
The two have been given these titles because the New Zealand team will not be attending the Opening Ceremony and therefore there is no need for flag bearers.
The move to not attend the opening ceremony was made by the team, and the Chef de Mission Paula Tesoriero, to keep as safe as possible in light of growing Covid numbers in Tokyo.
Sophie Pascoe said that she was honoured and privileged to be named as Hāpai Kara.
“This is the first time that I have taken on a role such as this in the New Zealand Paralympic Team, and it is wonderful to have this opportunity here in Tokyo at my fourth Paralympic Games.
William Stedman’s first emotion was surprise.
“When I was first asked I was a bit surprised as I had not been expecting it but also very excited. It is great to be able to represent New Zealand in this way.
The Paralympic Games start today with the Opening Ceremony planned for 11pm.