While I walk the South Island leg of Te Araroa I will beW3Schools fundraising for Hohepa Canterbury,  a charitable organisation set up to help those with intellectual disabilities, providing homes, day services, and residential care. Hohepa’s main aim is to provide the people they support with the opportunity to “live an ordinary life” and to experience and participate in life in as normal a manner as possible. Hohepa residents’ day opportunities include voluntary and paid work, polytechnic attendance, and community activities.

My Uncle Tone is a new resident in one of Hohepa Canterbury’s homes. Tone was born with an intellectual disability, but has managed to live a fairly independent and capable life. As a teenager, he worked hard to get his driver’s licence, and has had a lifelong love of cars. Tone worked for nearly 40 years operating a sock-pressing machine at Lane Walker Rudkin, retiring when the factory closed down a few years ago. For most of his life, Tone has enjoyed driving, walking, and cycling around Christchurch. Unfortunately, two years ago he was knocked off his bike by a truck, and suffered quite bad brain damage, which has affected him both mentally and physically.

It has been a long road to recovery for Tone, and although his balance still gives him some trouble with walking and moving around, and his memory isn’t what it used to be, he’s slowly getting back to normal (which means telling awful jokes and giving his minders trouble!). After a prolonged period of rehabilitation, Tone has finally moved into one of Hohepa’s homes, which has been absolutely fantastic for him. Tone loves his new house and flatmates (even though they call him Granddad!). There are four residents and one live-in carer. Every day they attend the Hohepa day centre down the road for various events and activities. On weekends they hang out, or go on outings, and generally have a good time.

Hohepa Canterbury are currently raising funds to build a boardwalk next to a tributary of the Heathcote River,  that runs through the Hohepa campus. This boardwalk will be walking-frame and wheelchair accessible, and no doubt popular with Tone and his friends. This fundraising effort is to contribute to that boardwalk – to help Hohepa add a little to the lives of its residents.

To donate, click on the ‘Givealittle’ icon above or to the right. All funds will directly contribute to the building of Hohepa’s Heathcote River board walk.