Chen Palmer, New Zealand’s public and employment law specialists, congratulates one of its Principals, Leo Donnelly OMNZ, on becoming an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to karate. Leo received his insignia from the Governor General, the Rt Hon- Dame Patsy Reddy at an investitute ceremony in Auckland last week.
Leo has been involved with Karate New Zealand for 46 years as a participant, coach, administrator and mentor.
Mai Chen, Managing Partner of Chen Palmer, said, “Leo’s senior roles with karate for over four decades demonstrate his expert knowledge and understanding of the rules and bylaws of the sport. In a sport that has over 100 million participants in five continents and 192 countries in the world, Leo’s strategic leadership saw him draft the constitutions of Karate New Zealand, the Oceania Karate Federation, and the Commonwealth Karate Federation. Leo applies over 46 years of legal experience to his work to benefit Karate nationally and internationally, and we congratulate him for this significant recognition and for his success. We are very proud of him and his contribution.”
Leo was Secretary-General of the National Federation from 1991 to 2000 and National President of Karate New Zealand from 2000 to 2016. In 2020 he was elected as Chair of Karate Auckland. He has been General Secretary of the Oceania Karate Federation since 1995 and was General Secretary of the Commonwealth Karate Federation from 2011 to 2018. He helped establish and maintain relationships with Sport New Zealand and its predecessors SPARC, the Hillary Commission and the New Zealand Sports Foundation. He founded the Victoria University Goju Ryu Karate Club in 1975 and is a Life Member. He established the New Zealand Universities Karate Council in 1982 and continues to coach at club level in Auckland. Leo has coached voluntarily for 46 consecutive years in Wellington, the Kapiti Coast and Auckland, including athletes who have competed and medalled nationally and internationally.