'We try to give back' - Kiwi Olympians team up with new charity to help communities here and Japan

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced a new partnership with a new charitable organisation that will benefit both Kiwi and Japanese communities.

Slalom canoeist Mike Dawson appeared on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning to discuss the partnership alongside Sir John Key who is a patron for the charity teaming up with them, ISPS Handa.

Sir John said the partnership with the Japanese organisation made sense with the 2020 Olympics being held in Tokyo.

"Part of the money they put in can be used to support the team and part of it is to support charitable activities that athletes like Mike do in the community in Japan or New Zealand."

Dawson said the charitable activities are one of the most impactful parts of being a New Zealand Olympian.

"We are a team that tries to give back when we go to the Olympic Games and the partnership means we can do that in Tokyo.

"There's already heaps of talk amongst the team about what those opportunities are going to look like and how sport is going to be used for social good."

Dawson added it's not the first time the Kiwis have gone out to meet and support locals during an Olympics with the 2016 event in Brazil a prime example of their efforts.

"Rio was quite an interesting one because it's such a diverse city. When you go there as an athlete, you get to take so much - they build the stadiums you get to compete in - but there's this whole undertone in the city where there's a lot of poverty and social problems.

"NZOC did a great project in the favelas where they gave away around 7,000 pieces of clothing and sports gear to create a legacy. It's cool to be part of that, for sure."

Sir John said the Olympic team can also do things locally.

"We can help support the athletes to go out into the communities and talk to young kids... there can be some stuff there as well."

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    Sir John Key discussed NZOC’s partnership with ISPA Handa on TVNZ1’s Breakfast today. Source: Breakfast

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