Twelve-year-old Angus is on a mission to bring powerchair sports to his new hometown of Dunedin. Angus and his parents, Anna and Adam, have recently moved back home to Dunedin after 20 years in Australia.
Angus, who Anna describes as “having a big personality,” is passionate about powerchair sports. Powerchair sports are sports played by players using electric wheelchairs. Angus previously played powerchair sports for a club in South Melbourne and was disappointed to not find something similar in Dunedin. But with the support of his dad, he is well on his way to setting up a brand-new club. After two successful “have-a-go days,” they have players who are keen to play. The Dunedin Dragons league will play soccer, rugby and hockey. They are also supported by Parafed Otago, the leading sport and recreation organisation in the Otago region for those with a physical disability. The next challenge for Angus and his team is finding funding for the sports chairs.
Angus is also passionate about music and has a wide range of favourite bands, including the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the Beatles. Anna described his music tastes “as all over the show!” He also plays the ukelele. Due to his right sided weakness, he does find the guitar and ukelele a bit challenging, but enjoys playing and has taken lessons.
Anna and Adam have found the process of moving from the Australian system of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to the New Zealand funding and support system to be relatively easy. Anna said, “We haven’t found it too much different. We still have to go out and find our support workers because we are self-managed here like we were in Australia. But the funding came through a lot quicker than in Australia.” The family have really appreciated the flexibility of Adam being able to be the funded carer for Angus as they transitioned to their new lives in Dunedin.
Anna said, “That has really helped us. It has been great for Adam to be home as I juggle working full time and Angus starting school.”
Tony, Angus’ Community Facilitator, also supported the family with building connections in their new community. “Tony was really helpful; he helped guide us on where to start with Parafed and wheelchair sports.” Tony also sent the family some DJ links to help Angus get started with his brand-new DJ deck. He’s excited to learn more about how to use the DJ deck system from a family friend.
What’s next for Angus?
Angus will go back to school soon and the family feel it is probably the right time to begin looking for support outside of the family. Anna is planning to try to find a support worker when the University goes back.
Angus is also planning on joining the manual wheelchair rugby team. He had a go with the team before Christmas and really enjoyed it, even though he found self-propelling for that long quite challenging!
The big next step for the family is getting the Dunedin Dragons powerchair sports league going. The family are looking at lottery grants and finding second hand chairs to get the league going. Anyone interested in powerchair sports, or looking for more information about the Dunedin Dragons check out Dunedin Powerchair Football Club | Facebook.