Blindness no barrier to conquering limits

By Talisa Kupenga
  • Wellington

In an effort to show that New Zealand's blind population can live a life without limits, seven visually impaired people have undertaken a week-long adventure challenge of the same name to mark this year's Blind Week. From white water rafting to running marathons, these individuals are showing the world that blindness is no barrier to achieving extraordinary things.

Seven days of challenges and 700km later, the Blind Foundation's super seven finally reach the Wellington finish line.

Hamish Tahana (Te Atihaunui a Paparangi) says, “Oh it was a bit hard to think! We were going at a pretty fast pace, I'm not used to that, the body is not used to doing a sprint like that."

To mark National Blind Week, seven visually impaired people braved the elements, rain, hail or shine, as part of the Blind Foundation's Life Without Limits challenge. They climbed mountains, conquered waters, leaving no terrain untouched.

"My two favourites would be the rafting and the canoeing down the Whanganui river but that's because I'm a water person really,” says Jo Froggatt (Ōtautahi)

"Definitely going down the Whanganui because I'm from there and my family is from there and also learning a little bit more about my ancestors,” says Tahana.

"Summiting Mt Tongariro is a great highlight for me,” says Peter Jones (Tokoroa).

"I don't do running so that was really really concerning me, but I'm really suprised about how well I got through it all,” says Petronella Spicer (Ōtautahi).

The group ranged in age and fitness levels and became a close-knit unit.

"It showed each of us that when we push ourselves we can go beyond what we thought we could do,” says Tahana.

"Life's limitless. Anything you want to achieve it's very much possible,” says Spicer.

Next up for these adrenaline junkies is a hot meal, a quick rest and then a plane flight home.

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