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Rio Paralymics - Ngāi Tahu flag bearer leads NZ team

By Moana Makapelu Lee

New Zealand Paralympian Holly Robinson (Ngāi Tahu) is putting small town Hokitika on the map as she competes in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. Today the Opening Ceremony got underway with the 21-year old at the forefront of the NZ athletes carrying the national flag.

Shirley Crowley is the proudest grandmother in the country after watching her granddaughter Holly Robinson carry the NZ flag at today's Rio Paralympic Opening Ceremony.

“Oh it was just wonderful, it's just a dream come true.”

Holly first competed at the 2012 London Paralympics placing seventh. The Ngāi Tahu javelin thrower, who currently holds the world record, is pitched to bring home gold in her second run at the Paralympic Games.

“From about 7 or 8 she said, 'I'm gonna win everything I go in for' and that's what she's been sort of doing most of her life.”

Despite her age, the young javelin athlete already has an impressive list of achievements under her belt, winning silver in 2013 and bronze in 2015 at the IPC Athletics World Championships.

“She's had a lot of time put into her training and she just loves to train. She knew where she wanted to be and she's going to be there sometime.”

Māori Paralympians Emma Foy, Jacob Phillips, and five-time medallist and current world record holder, Cameron Leslie also joins Robinson at the games. Nana Crowley says Hokitika is all a buzz.

“Yeah it's just hyping up all of a sudden, because all of a sudden it's here and it's all hyping up, I've had lots of phone calls and emails and things so it's great!”

Tomorrow the Paralympics Games gets underway.

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