Para Alpine skier Bailley Unahi is urging people to take part in the Get Started in Para Sport online event ©PNZ

New Zealanders are set to be given the chance to discover a variety of Para sports and interact with Paralympians thanks to an online event.

Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) and community partner ACC will run the first "Get Started in Para Sport" sessions, scheduled to be held virtually on May 6 and 7.

Fiona Allan, chief executive for PNZ, believes the two-day online event will be a "great evolution" of the organisation’s in-person open days which have attracted thousands of participants.

"We are really excited about the opportunity to deliver information and valuable content for anyone who would like to explore Para sport opportunities within New Zealand," said Allan.

"The online event allows future Para athletes, their families and support networks from all around the country to join the sessions and hear from experienced Para athletes and Paralympians."

Bailley Unahi developed a love of Para Alpine skiing after sustaining a spinal cord injury in 2016 when the balcony she was standing under collapsed.

"I used to play rugby, netball, basketball and touch before the accident," said Unahi.

"For me sport was always a big part of being social, being fit, and it was a big part of growing up and my identity.

"And that kind of got taken away from me.

"It was a big shock because I couldn’t really play the sports I used to play.

Bailley Unahi dreams of representing New Zealand at the Winter Paralympic Games in the future ©PNZ
Bailley Unahi dreams of representing New Zealand at the Winter Paralympic Games in the future ©PNZ

"Para Alpine skiing has helped me get that side of my life back."

Unahi is now a member of the high-performance development programme with Snow Sports NZ. She is up on Cardrona Ski Field three days a week with a coach and working out at the programme’s Wanaka gym as she bids to represent New Zealand at the Paralympic Winter Games.

"I would encourage all New Zealanders with disabilities to make the time to join the Get Started in Para Sport online event to find out more about Para sport," said Unahi.

"By getting involved in Para sport you will meet some great people and enjoy the benefits of being active."

The Get Started in Para Sport online event is set to feature experiences from Para athletes, Paralympians, coaches, and experts as well as information about a range of Para sports and opportunities to interact with speakers through question and answer sessions.

Registration is due to open on April 6 along with the release of the full two-day programme.

"Through our work with clients like Bailley, who have had life-changing serious injuries, we see how important Para sport can be in their rehabilitation, both physically and socially, and helping them get back into their community," added Scott Pickering, chief executive of ACC.

"The Get Started in Para Sport event will be a great opportunity for everyone to learn about Para sport.

"We’re proud to be supporting an event that could inspire someone and change their life for the better."