New Zealand has started administering COVID-19 vaccinations to athletes ahead of their departure for the Tokyo Games, the country's Olympics chief said on Wednesday. "We’re really satisfied the government was able to put us in that category of national significance, so that’s now underway and athletes have been worked through according to when they might be departing,” New Zealand Olympic Committee Chief Executive Kereyn Smith told reporters in Auckland. More than 200 athletes are expected to represent New Zealand at the July 23-Aug. 8 Games.
New Zealand Rugby has granted conditional approval for two Pacific Islands teams to join an Australia-New Zealand Super Rugby tournament beginning next year. Moana Pasifika, a team of players of Samoan and Tongan heritage, likely will be based in South Auckland while the Fiji Drua will be based in the Fiji capital Suva. New Zealand Rugby in November confirmed the teams as its preferred Pacific partners subject to their meeting certain financial criteria.