Latest News

Back to Latest News back


New Zealand innovation to take centre stage at Special Olympics World Games

New Zealand innovation to take centre stage at Special Olympics World Games
June 14, 2023

Inflatable bocce courts developed in New Zealand will grace the stage of the world’s largest inclusive sporting event this month when they are used at the Special Olympics World Games in the German capital of Berlin.

The World Games will attract 7,000 athletes from around 170 countries - including 39 athletes from New Zealand - for nine days of competition from this Saturday (17th June).

The ‘Packabocce’ courts designed by Wellington-based Packaworld will be used for the World Games’ bocce competition, played at the Messe Berlin exhibition grounds. Bocce - a sport with similarities to bowls but played within a walled court - is enjoyed by more than 400,000 people in Special Olympics globally, making it the third most played sport, behind only football and golf.

Delighted to see courts used at the pinnacle of Special Olympics competition, Packaworld Chief Executive, Peter Roberts stated "when we developed the courts back in 2013, we had no idea of how popular they would become.

"It’s fantastic to see them becoming the global standard for bocce competitions and helping to grow a sport that truly does cater for people of all abilities.”

The Packaworld courts are 18.3 metres long by 3.65 metres wide and include wheelchair accessible gates to allow access for any athletes with mobility issues. Unlike traditional bocce courts made of wood, the Packabocce courts are lightweight and can be inflated or deflated in minutes, making them easy to transport and setup, and simple to store.

The courts debuted at a local Special Olympics bocce competition in Wellington in 2013 and have since hit the big time, being used as the court of choice for many Special Olympics State Games in the USA, National Games across Europe and the Asia-Pacific, and Regional Games in Latin America.

Today, hundreds of Packabocce courts are sold annually, including to Special Olympics event and programme organisers, schools, clubs, social leagues, festival and event organisers, and even cruise ship companies.

Roberts added "seeing the difference the courts make is humbling. Business growth is fantastic, but seeing the way the courts are helping to bring bocce to people and communities that wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to play is what really drives us. Sport is a big part of growing up in New Zealand and it’s fantastic to be able to play a small part in sharing that sporting lifestyle with the world.”

Roberts will be at the Special Olympics World Games as part of its Honoured Guest Program to observe the event and cheer on the athletes from all nations.

The Special Olympics World Summer Games are held every four years. This year’s event will feature 26 sports and will be supported by a cohort of more than 20,000 volunteers.

Click here to contact Packaworld International Limited via their entry in the Australasian Leisure Management Supplier Directory.

Images: Packabocce courts at the Special Olympics Florida State Games in 2018 (top), Peter Roberts alongside a Packabocce court at the 2017 Latin American Special Olympic Games (middle) and Packabocce courts at the Special Olympics Florida State Games, USA in 2018 (below). Credit: Packaworld.

Related Articles

5th June 2023 - City of Casey secures 2023 Special Olympics Victoria

9th March 2023 - Special Olympics and IHRSA partner to promote inclusivity within the fitness industry

9th October 2022 - Christchurch secures hosting rights for 2025 Special Olympics National Summer Games

16th September 2022 - Launceston to welcome athletes competing in 2022 Special Olympics Australia National Games

6th May 2022 - Perth’s bid for 2027 Special Olympics attracts support

19th November 2021 - Stavros Niarchos Foundation awards US$8,500,000 to Special Olympics to advance inclusivity for youth

25th October 2021 - Tennis Australia partners with Special Olympics Australia to become more inclusive

11th August 2021 - Packaworld International launches temporary indoor line markings for sport and recreation centres

11th October 2020 - Portable goals help Auckland’s young handballers develop their skills

15th March 2019 - Special Olympics World Games open in Abu Dhabi

28th February 2019 - Packaworld helps make New Zealand’s first ever ocean water polo event possible

9th March 2017 - Packaworld innovation breaks down barriers at Special Olympics

Support our industry news service
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

As an independent publisher, we need reader support for our industry news gathering so ask that - if you don't already do so - you back us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine and/or our online news.

Click here to view our subscription options.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Advanced Aquarium Technologies

Advanced Aquarium Technologies (AAT) is a world leader in the design, construction, and operation of landmark public aquariums. Led from Queensland, AAT has delivered aquarium projects in over 25…

read more

Attractions / Consultants / Design / Parks / Zoos


Augmented Creative

Augmented Creative is an open organization of like-minded and highly dedicated, creative people who conceive, plan and execute visual solutions. We pursue new and innovative visual ideas to help…

read more

Arts / Attractions / Consultants / Design / Tourism



revolutioniseSPORT is the emerging market leader in online club management in Australia. Whether it is memberships, registrations, events, online sales or governance tools - revolutioniseSPORT is the…

read more

Recreation / Sport / Technology



Quayclean are a national cleaning and waste services partner with proven results in the understanding and delivery of cleaning needs and challenges faced by facilities including; major venues and…

read more

Aquatics / Hospitality / Surfaces / Venues



BODY BIKE® International is a leading manufacturer of indoor bikes with a 20-year track record of creating the best indoor bikes. Stay connected with Body Bike Australia…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness


HIB Insurance Brokers Pty Ltd

HIB Insurance Brokers - Experts in Leisure and Amusement Insurance With over 20 years specialising in the Amusement and Leisure industries, we have the experience to understand your operations and…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Insurance / Recreation / Safety



Hidroplay welcomes you to the exciting world of children's Playscapes, waterslide's and Water Attractions. Appealing to families, Hidroplay increases patronage in your facility during those…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Recreation


TicketSearch Pty Ltd

TicketSearch is focused on providing businesses, organisations, and venues with affordable, efficient, and powerful self-managed ticketing solutions. The organisation has offices in Australia, New…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Technology / Ticketing / Venues


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business