Dame Lisa Carrington DNZM is a world champion kayaker and New Zealand’s most decorated Olympian of all time. She has won six Olympic medals – five gold and one bronze – across three consecutive Olympic Games. Lisa, who is of Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki and Ngāti Porou descent, hails from Tauranga and spent much of her childhood in the small town of Ōhope Beach. Through surf lifesaving she discovered a natural love of and knack for paddling. In 2007 she switched her surf ski for a kayak, a move that marked the start of her record-breaking canoe sprint career.
Described by Sports Illustrated as “quietly humble yet furiously driven”, Lisa has 15 world championship golds to her name. Her total medal haul of 22 includes nine successive K1 200m titles.
In 2022 Lisa was appointed a Dame Companion to the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to canoe racing. She has won Sportswoman of the Year at the prestigious Halberg Awards four times, and in 2016 she added the Halberg Supreme Award to her name. In 2021, she was named Halberg Sportswoman of the Decade and the most influential Māori Sports Personality of the past 30 years.
She has a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Politics and Māori Studies, as well as a Graduate Diploma in Psychology, and is studying for a Masters in Psychology. Lisa is now based in Auckland with her husband Michael and dog Colin. A keen foodie and intrepid traveller, Lisa is passionate about sustainability, the environment, and her Māori heritage – all of which she strives to integrate into her everyday life. In her spare time, Lisa is often outdoors and loves to go surfing and fishing whenever she can.