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From a coping mechanism to representing NZ: Taranaki pair make para waka ama team


Taranaki para paddlers Jo Beverland and Ben Hekenui, and NZ Para Waka Ama elite team co-manager Nathan Tuuta, are getting ready for the IVF Va’a World Sprint Champs in the UK.

LISA BURD/Stuff

Taranaki para paddlers Jo Beverland and Ben Hekenui, and NZ Para Waka Ama elite workforce co-manager Nathan Tuuta, are preparing for the IVF Va’a World Dash Champs within the UK.

Two Taranaki athletes who turned to sport of their restoration from horrific accidents are set to characterize New Zealand on the opposite aspect of the world.

Jo Beverland and Ben Hekenui, are off to the waka ama (outrigger canoe) world championships in the UK in August.

Hekenui and Beverland will be part of a squad of 12 para paddlers.

LISA BURD/Stuff

Hekenui and Beverland shall be a part of a squad of 12 para paddlers.

They are going to be joined by fellow Taranaki paddler Nathan Tuuta, who’s heading alongside for the primary time because the NZ Para Waka Ama elite squad’s co-manager.

Will probably be the fifth time Beverland has been a part of the squad, and the primary for Hekenui – who has additionally performed for the NZ Wheelchair Basketball workforce.

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The pair agree that sports activities have been an enormous a part of their restoration – Beverland has learnt to stroll once more after being paralysed from the chest down, and Hekenui is a double amputee.

“While you’ve bought an damage like this, it’s out,” Beverland stated. “It’s my pleased place.”

“I used to be simply making an attempt to select my life as much as the place I used to be earlier than the accident,” Hekenui added. “Sports activities have been an enormous a part of that.”

The trio head off to the UK in August.

LISA BURD/Stuff

The trio head off to the UK in August.

The pair are a part of a workforce of 12 para paddlers from across the nation who will characterize New Zealand on the IVF Va’a World Dash Champs.

They’ll meet as soon as a month to coach as a squad, however in any other case head out on the water off the New Plymouth coast collectively.

Beverland, who’s initially from Taupō, has been paddling since she was in highschool, and continued when she moved to Australia.

While Hekenui has only been out on the water once, he’ll have plenty of guidance from Beverland and Tuuta, who has been paddling for years.

LISA BURD/Stuff

Whereas Hekenui has solely been out on the water as soon as, he’ll have loads of steering from Beverland and Tuuta, who has been paddling for years.

It was there that she turned disabled.

Beverland tore a calf muscle taking part in netball in 2013, and when a clot shaped she was placed on Warfarin, which is a blood thinner.

The remedy brought about a spinal bleed, which briefly paralysed her from the chest down.

She nonetheless has restricted feeling in her legs, and can’t sense ache or totally different temperatures.

“As time’s gone on I’ve bought stronger,” Beverland stated. “However there’s nonetheless components of me that don’t work.”

Training for the pair will be off New Plymouth’s Ngāmotu Beach, and once a month the entire squad will meet.

LISA BURD/Stuff

Coaching for the pair shall be off New Plymouth’s Ngāmotu Seashore, and as soon as a month the complete squad will meet.

She bought again into paddling for a para workforce in Australia, and continued when she moved to Taranaki.

It was a unique story for Hekenui – who first tried paddling in current weeks.

“I’ve solely had one go in the intervening time. It was fairly cool,” he laughed. “I assume I’ll both sink or swim.”

Hekenui, who’s initially from Taihape, misplaced each of his legs, one above and one beneath the knee, in a piece accident on the New Plymouth recycling plant on Katere Rd in 2008.

Within the years that adopted, he bought into wheelchair basketball, and labored as much as representing New Zealand for 3 years.

Tuuta stated Hekenui’s background in para sports activities and his drive was what landed him a spot within the workforce, regardless of having nearly no expertise in waka ama.

Whereas that is Tuuta’s first time going away because the workforce’s administration, he has been working with the paddlers for a while, and dealing to develop the game throughout the nation.

“I’m studying heaps from them,” he stated. “They’d destroy a few of the able-bodied groups I paddle with.”



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