By Daniel Etchells

Paralympics New Zealand is on the look out for Rio 2016 volunteers ©PNZParalympics New Zealand (PNZ) has launched a volunteer programme ahead of Rio 2016, giving individuals the chance to take up roles as National Paralympic Committee (NPC) assistants at the Games.

As part of the role, volunteers will be the "eyes and ears" of the New Zealand Paralympic team, of which they will become a key part during the Games, as well as meeting some of the country's biggest Paralympic stars, including swimmers Sophie Pascoe and Mary Fisher and cyclist Phillipa Gray.

PNZ is looking for committed and proactive individuals who value teamwork, diversity and inclusion, and are energetic and responsible.

"We ideally want to offer opportunities to locals from Rio with New Zealand heritage or connections to ensure they have an affinity to our team," said Fiona Allan, PNZ chief executive.

"International volunteers are also welcome, however, they will be responsible in full for their own travel and accommodation arrangements and costs."

Carol Tyrrell and Elizabeth Sheenan, NPC assistants at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, believe it's an extremely rewarding role.  

"I would recommend anyone to go for it and go prepared to do anything and ready to think on your feet," said Tyrrell.

"It surely is something where the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

"It was wonderful to share the successes of all the inspirational athletes and to have a real "hands on" part in what must be one of the greatest shows on earth.

"I'd do it all again at the drop of a hat."

Volunteers will have the opportunity to meet Sophie Pascoe, a six-time Paralympic gold medallist, among other stars from New Zealand ©Getty ImagesVolunteers will have the opportunity to meet Sophie Pascoe, a six-time Paralympic gold medallist, among other stars from New Zealand ©Getty Images

Sheenan, who had been visiting New Zealand each year to see her family before being selected, added: "Being part of the team with the New Zealand athletes was amazing - the buzz of the Paralympic Village, Opening Ceremony and seeing the athletes giving their all."

The application process for New Zealand NPC assistants is due to close on October 31.

Applicants must be aged 18 or over by February 2016, be competent in English and ideally be able to speak Portuguese.

They must also be available from August 31 to September 21 2015.

Once selected, individuals are required to commit to a Rio 2016 selection and training process.

For more information on the volunteer programme and to register, click here.

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