About US

What is Special Olympics Otago?

Special Olympics New Zealand was founded in 1983. It is a registered Charitable Trust and provides a year-round programme of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Currently over 7000 Special Olympics athletes are training and competing throughout New Zealand. Each year our organisation runs over 200 events in more than 40 towns and cities around the country. Athletes have the opportunity to compete at a number of different levels – from local, regional, national and international competitions – each with their own training and qualifying requirements. Through sport, athletes learn important skills that they can use in other parts of their life – like team work and socialising as well as improved health and fitness and maintenance of mobility. 

Special Olympics Clubs

Through an affiliation process, Special Olympics Clubs are tasked with delivering programmes at community level. These programmes are led by volunteers and supported by Regional Sports Coordinators. Clubs are open to anyone with an intellectual disability. Club programmes are the mainstay of Special Olympics New Zealand.  There are currently 44 active Clubs in the organisation’s seven regions, each maintaining the structure mandated by the rules of Special Olympics.

  • Athletes aged 8 and older can join a Special Olympics Club. Younger athletes can train with a Club, but they can not participate in competition. There is no upper age limit for members of a Club.
  • Secondary School-aged athletes can join both a Club and participate in the School Programme.
  • The kind of sports offered by Clubs depends on the athletes and volunteers involved. Some Clubs specialise in one or two sports and others offer a range of sports.

Check out this years events for Special Olympics Otago by clicking the button below


Special Olympics School Programme

One of the goals of Special Olympics New Zealand is to hook students on Special Olympics sports when they are young. Through participating in sport, athletes with intellectual disabilities make friends; they gain confidence; they get to be part of a team. As athletes develop physically and emotionally, they learn that they can achieve not only on the sports field, but in the community. At the secondary school level, Regional Sports Coordinators work with teachers and others to encourage in-school sports training and deliver sports events every term.  School athletes can also join their local Club; and the transition programme helps athletes stay involved in sport as they prepare to leave school.


Volunteer Opportunities

Do you want to transform lives, create friendships and change the way people think? Be a volunteer for Special Olympics and you can do all that and have fun at the same time! Volunteers are the backbone of Special Olympics – they come from all walks of life and different backgrounds, some are coaches who commit many hours each year, other give an hour or two when they can. Opportunities exist in: Sport coaching, Sport officiating, Administration, Fundraising, Event management and Team management. Free online coaching courses are provided and coach development is encouraged and supported. Whatever your interest, sign up and be a volunteer!

Special Olympics Otago

Jo Torrance
Phone: 0274716162

Email: otago@specialolympics.org.nz

Sports offered in Otago:

  • Swimming
  • Basketball
  • Bowling (tenpin)
  • Football (soccer)
  • Golf
  • Indoor bowls
  • Powerlifting
  • Snowsports
  • Indoor Rowing