Hundreds of refugees take part in Olympic sport event

Hundreds of young refugees got a taste of Olympic glory in Auckland on Tuesday.

An Olympic Refugee sport event was held to jointly mark World Refugee Day (June 20) and Olympic Day (June 23).

Three-hundred refugees and students from a refugee background were invited to try new sports alongside some Olympic athletes, including windsurfing Olympic champion, Barbara Kendall.

"They've all been displaced from their countries, some of them are still in refugee camps," said Kendall.

"Sport, with the Olympic movement is all about making the world a better place through sport, through peace, through inclusion and this is a great example of what we're trying to do."

New Zealand has been taking in 750 refugees a year under a UN agreement, but that number is set to double in 2020.

And research shows sport has a significant and positive impact on refugees' well-being and integration.

Media Lutfi came to New Zealand from Kurdistan when she was young but still has memories of the camp she lived in in Jordan.

"Even though we had such rough backgrounds to come into somewhere and celebrate it, like something so traumatic, like being a refugee and coming together and celebrating it is really important to me," she said.

"This is really giving us an opportunity to find out what sports we enjoy."

Olympic Hockey player, Pippa Hayward was delighted by the level of enthusiasm, even though many had never played hockey before.

"They were great, they were so into it, they were energetic, I think quite competitive," said Hayward. "They're all noise, they're going for it, they don't hold back."

It doesn't matter where they came from, here in New Zealand they're now sharing the Olympic spirit, and maybe a dream of Kiwi stardom.