Learning & Information | Rukuhia Te Puna Mātauranga

Tiffiney Perry and Jack Harvey – Hamilton


“Lockdown was revitalising in a lot of ways. We slept in and we did a lot of exercise because the weather was good. We listened to Jacinda, we stayed home; we saved lives.

We saw a few neighbours and met up for a drink over the fence but everyone pretty much did their own thing. For us who are busy people, it was actually quite refreshing.

The only time Covid-19 really slapped me in the face was when we did go out for necessities and we saw all the plastic all over the doctors and the chemists. Our neighbours were kindly doing our shopping for us as supermarkets were a no-go zone for us. We didn’t want to be compromised any more than we are with our disabilities.

Luckily we have a few toys to keep us and Jack busy energy-wise. This was a big focus – trying to keep Jack busy as otherwise he can drive you nuts. Because we watched the news with Jacinda most days he was aware of what was going on. There were a lot of questions.

Jack would wake up most days and say the same thing: ‘Is it still here Mum’? meaning Covid.

And then it was all about making a plan for the day. Jack works well with a routine and so having no school gave us a big chunk of the day to fill in. At first, it was nice enjoying some free time but then it got a little monotonous. You just had to wake up, go for a bike ride, shoot some hoops, play some tennis, and go for another ride … best to tire Jack out early and then the Xbox would get a thrashing.

It’s (usually) quite hard to get Jack to watch the news on a general school night. He’d rather do other things, but it was one time in his life that he was like, ‘what’s that thing, how many today Mum?’ and stuff like that.


Jack mowed the lawns and washed the cars a lot. We see him doing a job like that one day. Setting up a car wash or mowing other people’s lawns. He would still need assistance as he does with most tasks.

Obviously, I’m surrounded by disability. But helping others is inbred in me from my mum and dad who always gave back. Philanthropy became a big part of the Perry way, and still is. Mum would often invite the ill and misfortunate into her life.

She wanted to save them.

Disabled sports are a great way to break barriers between able-bodied people and ourselves and the perceptions people have. They just think ‘be happy with what you have got and just sit there in the room and go stay in the corner and behave yourself in your wheelchair’, which is not us.

Jack is not unhealthy; he just has issues with how to process normal everyday life. It’s his cognitive skills that give him the most trouble. Other than that he is fit and strong as an ox and a big help to our family unit. If he was your normal teen, he would be out and about and not around much to help but luckily, we all have a lot of fun and do a lot of stuff together. Lockdown brought us all a bit closer, I think.

He needs a little bit of advice on what to wear and when to have a shower, when to go to bed, a little bit of direction. He’s on medication but other than that you normally can’t shut him up.” – 17 September 2020

  • This article appeared in Life in a Pandemic, a book about disabled and autistic people in Covid-19 Lockdown, 2020. © Life Unlimited Charitable Trust (now known as Your Way | Kia Roha).

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