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New Zealand’s Olympians and Paralympians inspire through latest Toyota campaign

Dame, Lisa, Cameron, Emma-960x540

With the Paris Olympics and Paralympics just a few weeks away, three experienced Olympians and a Paralympian who are also Toyota Brand Guardians are sharing their unique journeys with New Zealanders as part of the Toyota Let’s Go Places brand vision.

Toyota's Brand Guardians Dame Lisa Carrington, Emma Twigg and Cameron Leslie embody the core values that define Toyota as a brand, both now and into the future. As part of the latest campaign, each is sharing a compelling and personal insight into how they’ve arrived where they stand today, and how Toyota has helped them along their journey.

“Let’s Go Places is about celebrating the stories of how Toyota is taking New Zealand and its people forward. We’re excited to share these stories from our awesome brand guardians, who embody all things Toyota, and who are out there every day driving stronger communities, and who we just think are great people doing amazing things” says Susanne Hardy, Toyota New Zealand’s Assistant Vice President Customer Group.

“From their passionate advocacy for diversity, mentorship of young Kiwis, and active participation in sustainable endeavours, these three remarkable individuals excel in every way. We’re proud to partner with them on their journey, as they build up to the Olympics and Paralympics,” Susanne says.

Dame Lisa Carrington became our nation’s most decorated Olympian after Tokyo 2020, picking up three golds to bring her total medal tally to six – five of which are gold. Named in the Kiwi canoe team headed to Paris this summer, Lisa is ready to take on the pressure that comes with her success.

“Sometimes I don’t think I notice pressure until I am in a tight spot,” she said on being named in the team in April. “I feel so privileged to do what I do. I grew up next to the ocean and I am in the water six days a week. We have an amazing environment here in New Zealand and we’re so privileged to have such a beautiful country,” she adds.

“Respect and passion for the environment drives me to want to look after it. Doing what I do is not always about winning – it has to be more than that. I have philosophy of ‘millimetre by millimetre’ – it’s about trying every day to do something a little bit better. I have the same approach to sustainability – if we try to do something, a little bit everyday – recycling, composting, driving a little more efficiently – if we add up all the small things, it amounts to something big.”

Emma Twigg is an Olympic Gold medallist after winning the women's single scull event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Paris will be her fifth appearance at the Olympic Games. Emma has been a Toyota Brand Guardian since 2018.

“From a young age I wanted to be an Olympic champion and 20 years later I was able to live that dream,” Emma says.

“I have a sense of deep pride and it’s all about who was there with me, those that believed in me and instilled such self-confidence. When I was young, I had amazing role models and to be in that position now, to be that person, that role model for someone else is truly special. I love it that now there is such a diverse array of people that can be inspirational to young kiwis and I love that I am now part of that.

“Athlete well-being is something that I’m hugely passionate about and that has come from lived experiences in sport. I have been passionate about the Athlete’s Cooperative, which supports athlete voice in sporting organisations. When I leave the sport and look back, I hope I can leave the sport in a better place than when I started.”

Cameron Leslie became a Toyota Brand Guardian in 2023. Cameron has dominated Para sport since first splashing onto the scene as a young swimmer. He won gold medals in Beijing, London and Rio Paralympic games, and smashed world records in his specialised Men’s 150m Individual Medley SM4 event. Cameron has also been a Wheel Black.

As Disability and Para Swimming Participation Manager at Swimming New Zealand, Cameron is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of Para athletes.

“Having a disability brings a unique perspective, one that benefits the world around us. My whole life has been based on me wanting to live an active and normal life. Sport was a normal part of what we did growing up.

“Learning how to swim was difficult; everybody was focused on what I couldn’t do rather than what I could do. My three Paralympic gold medals are my way of showing that my life was not going to be what the medical model told me it was going to be – a depressing story really. Sport has been my vehicle to prove people wrong,” he says.

Susanne Hardy says Toyota is excited to share these stories with everyone and to celebrate “our brand guardian’s successes on their journey leading into the Paris Olympics and Paralympics”.

Toyota is proud to have been a major partner and official vehicle supplier of Paralympics New Zealand since 2017. Globally, Toyota has partnered with the international Paralympic committee as the Worldwide official Mobility Partner since 2015.

Toyota became the official worldwide mobility partner of the Olympic Committees in 2015 for the 2017-2024 period. The term covers the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang 2018 and Beijing 2022; and the summer Olympic and Games of Tokyo and Paris this year.

Three videos featuring Cameron Leslie, Emma Twig, and Dame Lisa Carrington are now live on the Toyota website and digital platforms: Brand Guardians | Toyota New Zealand - YouTube