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Lomu Leads Special Olympics Celebrity Cast

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

11 May 2004

Lomu Leads Special Olympics Celebrity Cast

All Black great Jonah Lomu is the headline act for the 21st anniversary celebrations of Special Olympics New Zealand, culminating in a gala dinner at the new SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre on 18 June 2004.

Jonah has agreed to offer one very lucky auction bidder on the night the opportunity to share time and lunch with him, two of the bidder's colleagues or friends and an equally fortunate Special Olympian athlete. This unique event will happen on 20 July 2004, Special Olympics International Day.

"I'm very pleased to be supporting Special Olympics New Zealand in this way," Jonah said. "The organisation has supported sporting programmes for the intellectually disabled throughout the country for over two decades. It's great to be able to acknowledge this achievement and contribute something towards Special Olympics New Zealand's future development and growth at the same time."

Jonah joins a long line of celebrities who are prepared to give their time as "Ultimate Mentors" or an auction item to the cause - Prime Minister Helen Clark, Sir Edmund Hillary, Peter Jackson, Tiger Woods, Colin Meads, Sir Brian Lochore, Sir Wilson Whineray, Grant Fox, the Evers-Swindell sisters, Stephen Fleming and several others.

"We feel very humbled that people of this calibre are giving us their valuable time or items," said Special Olympics New Zealand chairman Robin Sheffield. "This is an extremely important year for us as we start a campaign to double our already world-leading athlete participation rate by 2010."

Another star turn at the gala dinner will be renowned Special Olympics athlete and Ambassador Loretta Claiborne, who will be keynote speaker on the night and will also spend a week in New Zealand spreading the word about the good Special Olympics does in the community.

Notes for Editors: Special Olympics New Zealand (SONZ) is a registered charitable organisation which has operated throughout New Zealand since 1983. It is dedicated to providing sports training and competition for children and adults with an intellectual disability. SONZ emphasises participation for individuals at all levels of ability, achieving personal best performances, and regular coaching, training and competition for all athletes. Just under 3500 athletes currently participate on a regular basis. SONZ is supported by SKYCITY, SPARC and Provender.

Special Olympics was founded in the US in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver. There are more than 150 accredited national programmes world wide. The flagship events for the movement are the international Special Olympics World Games, which are held every two years alternating between summer and winter games. The last summer games were held in Dublin, Ireland, in June 2003. New Zealand athletes brought home 60 medals, including 20 gold. The next international event in which New Zealand will compete is the World Winter Games to be held in Nagano, Japan, in mid February 2005.

ENDS

SPECIAL OLYMPICS NEW ZEALAND

Itinerary for Loretta Claiborne and Alina Marone

11-21 June 2004

Accommodation

- SKYCITY Hotel, Federal Street, Auckland, (09) 363-6000

Friday 11 June

6.15 pm - Depart Newark on UA 9545, Terminal A

9.19 pm - Arrive LA, Terminal 7

11.30 pm - Depart LA on UA 9545, Terminal 2

Sunday 13 June

7.15 am - Arrive Auckland International Airport, Terminal 1

- Low key arrival; greeted by Robin Sheffield, Angus McLeod, Liz Carboon

8.00 am - Travel to SKYCITY

Remainder of day - Auckland tour, dinner with small SONZ group

Monday 14 June

12.30 pm - Lunch with small SONZ group

Remainder of day - (TBC - see also 16 June), another Auckland tour

Tuesday 15 June

10.30 am - 6 pm - Long White Cloud Productions conducting interviews for "Inside Out" documentary; Loretta to be interviewed briefly

12.30 pm - Lunch hosted by SKYCITY; to be attended by Robin Sheffield, Angus McLeod and Liz Carboon

Wednesday 16 June

6.30 am - Depart for Auckland Airport

8.05 am - Depart Auckland on QF 4009 (TBC)

9.05 am - Arrive Wellington

9.30 am - Arrive US Embassy

12.00 pm - Presentation - topic "Overcoming life's Barriers" - to Embassy staff, businesspeople, politicians and SONZ representatives, 45 minutes' duration including questions

12.45 - 1.15 pm - Refreshments served

1.30 pm - Lunch hosted by US Embassy; to be attended by a few SONZ representatives

6.15 pm - Travel to Wellington Airport

7.15 pm - Depart Wellington on QF 4054 (TBC)

8.15 pm - Arrive Auckland

Note: Flights for today dependent on Holmes television programme; interview may be held in Wellington rather than Auckland

Thursday 17 June

9.30 am - Depart for the Domain (weather permitting; if event cancelled this is a possible free day)

10.00 am - Attend schools 5-aside soccer tournament; recite Special Olympics oath and meet invited guests

11 am - Depart the Domain for free time

1.00 pm - Return to the Domain

2.00 pm - Award ribbons; offer encouragement to athletes

Remainder of the day is free unless media interview(s) arranged

Friday 18 June

This is a free day unless media interview(s) arranged

6.00 pm - Be available at SKYCITY Convention Centre for start of gala dinner

6.30 pm - Event starts: theme "Special Olympics New Zealand - 21 years of possibility"; audience businesspeople, sportspeople, SONZ representatives

7.45 pm - Loretta escorted to stage by Special Olympian Geoff Watson while

video introducing her is played

7.50 pm - Loretta's keynote address (20-30 minutes)

8.15 pm - Loretta Claiborne Award to SONZ founder Grant Quinn, who is accompanied by the 4 original Special Olympians; Grant is presented with 2 framed certificates

12.30 am - Event ends

Note - Full running sheet for the evening to follow when finalised

Saturday 19 June

10 am - SONZ discussion forum and welcome to Loretta, Crown Plaza Hotel, Albert St, Auckland

10.30 am - Loretta Claiborne awards to Upper North Island volunteers; about 8 certificates to be presented with informal congratulations to be offered

11.00 am - Loretta leaves this meeting

Remainder of this day is free unless media interview(s) arranged

Sunday 20 June

9 am - "Inside Out" programme screened

This day is free unless media interview(s) arranged; possible sightseeing tour out of Auckland

Monday 21 June

This day is free unless media interview(s) arranged

1.30 pm - Depart for Auckland International Airport

2.15 pm - Check in at airport

4.15 pm - Depart from Terminal 1 on UA 9544

9.10 am - Arrive LA, Terminal 1

1.00 pm - Depart LA on UA 82

9.21 pm - Arrive Newark, Terminal A


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