Meet our 2019
I am training towards nationals in July with my first national development camp run by Paralympics NZ and Halberg Disability Games in October and lots more training!
Hiya, my name is Siobhan Terry and I am a competitive para swimmer.
I was born in Rotorua in 2000, moved to Australia in 2002, returning back to Rotorua 2014 for school and family.
I was born with a clubfoot which, has meant that I have had to learn some things differently to others.
All throughout my schooling, I have participated in every event such as cross country, athletics and swimming.
When I was in primary school I placed in the top four for cross country with the next two years competing in the inter-schools athletics.
Around the time, I also competed in school swimming sports or attended swimming lessons. On swimming sports days I would constantly place first or second in every race. However, having to go through operations, which meant casts, swimming was more of an on-off thing that I did whenever possible.
A couple of years passed after kind of falling out of swimming and cross country I moved back to Rotorua. In 2015, I started getting back into cross country more competitively.
In June 2016, I competed in the NZ secondary schools cross country and placed first in a para classified race. This was the first event I had competed in as a para-athlete. However, I began obtaining injuries to my leg and had to stop cross country.
After talking with my mum about it for a long time, I got back into my swimming at the end of 2016.
At first it was just training, training, training but only eight months after starting, I qualified for my first long course nationals.
I began with small competitions and then short course national’s months later.
To date, I have competed in 8 swimming competitions. All competitions ranging from big to small, getting personal bests, gaining experience and winning some medals.
For the near future, I am training towards nationals in July with my first national development camp run by Paralympics NZ and Halberg Disability Games in Oct and lots more training!
I hope from my training, I wish to one day make it further and aim for the Paralympics or Commonwealth Games.
Blind Sports Ambassador
I started the Bay of Plenty Blind Sports Club because I was frustrated with the lack of adaptable sports being offered in Tauranga for the blind community - it was pretty much just cups of tea for old people!
I managed to con a few people to come along to see how sports can be altered for the blind. My brother is also visually impaired and plays a lot of sport in Auckland so he bought a few friends down one weekend to show us how things could work.
I have 3% sight in my field of vision, which means I can only see clearly about the size of a pin-head straight ahead. I have reading glasses because just like everyone else, that 3% degenerates as I get older too.
As I walk my eyes move all over the place because I’m trying to scan the area and take everything in. I’m sure it looks unusual because I don’t use a cane and don’t have a dog, people wouldn’t realise I have anything wrong with my eyes.
My parents took me to get my eyes checked when I was about three because I was just so clumsy, I was tripping over everything. My brother has the same condition as both our parents are carriers of a specific gene.
People that I’ve worked with for years didn’t even know I was blind until I started fundraising in the office to raise money for blind sports. I don’t really tell anyone because I’m pretty independent and stubborn; I try my best not to let it limit me too much.
If I could educate the general public on anything it would be that there are so many different types of blindness, not all blind people have guide dogs, or use white canes and not everyone is completely blind.
One of the biggest limitations is that of course we can’t drive, so we are very reliant on other people and on public transport, which isn’t that great around here. We understand that getting out and doing things can take so much effort that its often easier to stay home. But by getting involved with Blind Sports and meeting other people, we can work together to solve these problems.
It’s helpful to catch up with other blind people because often you don’t hear about different funding or support that may be out there. There’s a lot of help out there if you know where to go.
There are lots of people doing amazing things despite their blindness or low vision. I know I really like meeting people like this, it helps me to overcome more obstacles. It’s easy to wrap ourselves in cotton wool, and for others to wrap ourselves in cotton wool, but just like everyone else, we can do so much more than we think! I walked the Tongariro Crossing recently it was an awesome achievement to do that!
Sometimes it can be hard for parents to let their kids go as they want to protect them. Once they see that are sports are all totally adapted for the blind they soon start to let go of the apron strings and let the kids do things by themselves. Sports can give kids such independence…….whether you’re visually impaired or not!
We encourage anyone with sight issues to get in touch. We are really open to new ideas. Call us!
Powerchair Football Ambassador's
I enjoy playing powerchair football as it's fun and competitive sport I can play.
I love getting out on the court to kick and pass the ball to teammates and enjoy a game.
I get to meet new players and create new friends.
I feel exhilarated as I feel the rush of speeding after the ball, or scoring a goal while playing, I feel a part of the team and that I finally fit in somewhere.
I'm Tyrone Cook, I am 39 years old and a powerchair Football player for the Waikato Wasps.
I play because it is a challenging and competitive game. As I am also legally deafblind, I have to concentrate more than the rest of my teammates, on the ball and learning when to move for the ball and when to pull back.
I also play, because so far Powerchair Football is the only game that is available just for us, where others are either played in manual chairs like Wheelchair rugby or multi-abled like Boccia.
I feel exhilarated as I feel the rush of speeding after the ball, or scoring a goal while playing, I feel a part of the team and that I finally fit in somewhere, where growing up, I was never allowed to play sports because of my vision and missing Sternum (chest bone).
"I was hooked by the thrill that comes when you have a good lean on your boat, sails filled and you are flying through the water…"
My love of sailing came when I was in my teens, on a Yacht, a Carpenter 29, with my family; being able to explore different places, discovering beaches, swimming from boat to beach, then back again and seeing wild dolphins up close.
I was hooked by the thrill that comes when you have a good lean on your boat, sails filled and you are flying through the water…usually with your legs and feet in a good place to keep you well balanced.
These good times have stayed with me into adulthood.
I discovered Sailability Tauranga in early 2017. I came along, signed up as a sailor and never looked back. I was born with a right sided Hemi Paresis.
My right side of my body is weaker than my left. I do my best each and every day, to not let my disability define me. I have had the opportunity through Sailability Tauranga to compete in three regattas; Lake Ngaroto and Waitara 2017/18 and now the Hansa Nationals for 2019 at TYPBC. I just enjoy being out on the water. I am in a unique place where I can be both participant and give back as a Volunteer.
Currently I fill the role of Volunteer Coordinator for Sailability Tauranga.
Wheelchair Rugby Ambassador
There are many ways Wheelchair Rugby has reinvigorated Hale, "I like the physical aspect of it. I like the training as well and knowing that you actually have to train hard. It's quite a tiring game and it works a lot of muscles that you wouldn't normally use. "
In September 2018 Paul was interviewed by Maori Television, here's what he had to say:
Despite only playing for six months Ngāti Porou's Paul Hale is on his way to the top of wheelchair rugby.
There are many ways Wheelchair Rugby has reinvigorated Hale, "I like the physical aspect of it. I like the training as well and knowing that you actually have to train hard. It's quite a tiring game and it works a lot of muscles that you wouldn't normally use. So it's been really, really good."
Hale says people involved in the Bay of Plenty Wheelchair Rugby scene had been trying to convince him to have a go at the sport, but he wasn't motivated to do so. He attended an open day however and his attitude towards the game, and life changed.
He began training and playing locally in the Bay of Plenty.
"I got scouted out at one of the bash tournaments we had and got invited to the Wheel Blacks training camps and that was a real blessing for me because it got me out of my little town and got me out and about and got me out of my comfort zone," he says.
Hale acquired his spinal cord injury 14 years ago, at first he thought "that was it", but says many things have changed since then and now that he is playing Wheelchair Rugby "there's purpose, and there's hope now." Hale looks forward to his future and is hoping Wheelchair Rugby has a role to play in it.
In 2019 the Wheel Blacks will participate in tournaments in Japan and Paralympic qualifying tournaments for Tokyo 2020, and Hale would love to be involved.
"It's a memory that I can carry into my life, and it's something that I can wear and something that I can really say that I've done and especially travelling the world, wow that's going to be something pretty cool."