Fash­ion­ista gifts Spirit of Gold paint­ing

Central Otago Mirror - - CLASSIFIEDS - MAR­JORIE COOK

Auck­land fash­ion­ista Robyn Hall had never met Par­a­lympian alpine skiers Adam Hall and El­itsa Storey be­fore, but de­cided three weeks ago to give them a present on their wed­ding day.

The manag­ing di­rec­tor of High So­ci­ety is a par­tially sighted, adap­tive alpine skier and no re­la­tion to Adam Hall.

As Adam and El­itsa shared their wed­ding vows at a Dunedin venue on May 4, Robyn Hall was at her Wanaka holiday home shar­ing the sun­shine with her pet al­pacas.

When she saw Par­a­lympic NZ’s Spirit of Gold ex­hi­bi­tion for sale on Trade Me about three weeks ago, she de­cided to buy Adam Hall’s por­trait.

Robyn Hall pre­vi­ously sup­ported an­other Par­a­lympian skier, Peter Wil­liams, who com­peted at the Van­cou­ver Par­a­lympics.

‘‘I am an adap­tive skier my­self and I just wanted to give back to the Par­a­lympics.

‘‘I de­cided to gift it back be­cause al­though it is of a per­son I don’t par­tic­u­larly know, I know of him and he has been an in­spi­ra­tion to me. When I heard his wed­ding was com­ing up I thought he won’t have money to spend on him­self . . . I thought it would be fan­tas­tic for him to have this in his mem­ory box,’’ Hall said.

So Hall gave the por­trait to Snow Sports NZ of­fi­cials, who ar­ranged to de­liver it to Adam and El­itsa Hall.

Adam Hall, 29, has com­peted at three Par­a­lympics and count­less world cham­pi­onships, clock­ing up one Par­a­lympic gold, two world cup golds and nu­mer­ous other achieve­ments and medals.

The Dunedin born ath­lete has been part of the New Zealand Dis­abled Ski Team since 2005 and is aim­ing to be se­lected for the 2018 Par­a­lympics.

El­itsa, 29, is a two-time Par­a­lympian skier from the United States and has re­tired from top level com­pe­ti­tion.

Adam Hall’s por­trait has been on ex­hi­bi­tion at a Par­a­lympics con­fer­ence at the Ry­dges Ho­tel in Queen­stown this week. Fairfax un­der­stands at least seven of the 12 por­traits have now sold.

Robyn Hall started ski­ing when she was 40 and her first ef­fort ended ter­ri­bly when she fell on ice and suf­fered a large haematoma on her back­side.

When she re­cov­ered she took lessons, but 10 years down the track, her eye­sight had changed dra­mat­i­cally.

She was di­ag­nosed with a neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tion called ble­pharospasm, that causes in­vol­un­tary eye twitch­ing and eye­lid clo­sures.

‘‘It got quite bad. Peter’s mother [Susie] is a girl­friend of mine and told me to learn to ski as a blind skier. So I learned in Canada,’’ Robyn Hall said.

For a while, guides had to call ev­ery sin­gle turn for her, but her con­di­tion has im­proved now so that all she needs to do is keep close to her guide’s heels.

Treat­ment has in­cluded bo­tox to con­trol the mus­cles, Alexan­der tech­nique and med­i­ta­tion, and Robyn Hall is re­lieved that the twitch­ing has ‘‘pretty much gone’’.

How­ever, she had suf­fered the dou­ble whammy of glau­coma and en­dured sev­eral surg­eries to ad­dress that con­di­tion.

‘‘I am de­ter­mined not to let it stop me,’’ she grinned.

Re­cently re­turned from a seven month trip to Italy, Robyn Hall is look­ing for­ward to re­turn­ing to Auck­land in about a month.

Robyn Hall has spent 53 years in the fash­ion busi­ness.

She re­cently stepped aside from full time work but is still the manag­ing di­rec­tor of High So­ci­ety, founded by her late hus­band Bill in the 1960s.

Robyn over­sees fash­ion la­bels Cat­a­lyst, Obi, Mo­saic and Cho­co­lat, in her role as manag­ing di­rec­tor.

The cou­ple built their holiday home on the out­skirts of Wanaka in 2004.

Bill Hall died in 2013.

MAR­JORIE COOK

Auck­land fash­ion iden­tity Robyn Hall at her Wanaka holiday home. The art work is by Martin Hill.

Am­ber Stephens’ Spirit of Gold por­trait of Adam Hall.

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