The New Zealand Olympic Committee has begun its Earn the Fern campaign ahead of Tokyo 2020 ©NZOC

The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) has launched the Tokyo 2020 Earn the Fern campaign as part of the final year of preparations for the Games.

The campaign will feature across NZOC's social media channels and will feature a series of videos showcasing what it means for Kiwi athletes to represent the country on the world stage.

"Featuring elements of Japanese language, artistry and culture as well the symbols, languages and scenery of Aotearoa, Earn The Fern represents 100 years of New Zealand Olympic history and the pohonui (pride) and whakakoha (respect) we have for Aotearoa, our team and the host nation to which the New Zealand Olympic team will travel," NZOC said.

The Tokyo 2020 campaign follows on the back of the highly successful Earn the Fern public campaigns conducted for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

The year to go was marked on Auckland’s Piha beach with a celebration involving 12 New Zealand athletes from nine sports who worked with an artist to create a stylised silver fern on the black sand.

Chef de Mission Rob Waddell worked alongside the athletes.

Tokyo 2020 will feature new sports and disciplines, many of which are youth-focused, and Waddell believes these new events will ensure the Olympic Games inspires more people.

“There’s an opportunity for us to qualify athletes from surfing, BMX freestyle, 3x3 basketball, karate and more so it’s really exciting to have these new sports involved,” he said.

“With the addition of new sports, we’re expecting our biggest-ever team.

Rob Waddell, New Zealand Chef de Mission, says the largest-ever Kiwi team is expected at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
Rob Waddell, New Zealand Chef de Mission, says the largest-ever Kiwi team is expected at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

“Our previous largest was 199 athletes going into Rio 2016, made up of 100 female and 99 male athletes.

“One year to go is where the rubber really hits the road.

“In the year ahead of an Olympic Games, training, focus and preparation goes up a notch and the level of competition at World Championships and other qualifiers is intense.”

Rugby sevens athlete Tyla Nathan-Wong won silver at Rio 2016 and is looking forward to the challenge of Tokyo 2020.

“Today was a great opportunity to reflect on what’s just over the horizon,” he said.

“The Olympic Games is the pinnacle for us.

“It only comes once every four years, it's extremely competitive and we’re 100 per cent committed to the task ahead."

Waddell has travelled to Tokyo for a number of planning meetings and is expecting a well-run games.

“All the infrastructure and plans are progressing really well," Waddell said.

“Tokyo is holding 56 test events across the venues ahead of the Games to ensure everything will run smoothly, which is a great initiative.”

Selection for the New Zealand team will begin in March 2020.

Boxer and two-times Commonwealth Games gold medallist David Nyika is one of those chasing a spot.

“A lot of effort goes into an Olympic campaign and there’s a lot of work still to do between now and the Games,” he said.

“The next year of training and preparation is really where the medals are won and lost so I'll be working extremely hard and hope to make it over there.”