Pupil inspired by heroics
Taking on challenge
A Porirua boy is living the white-knuckle life in a new reality television show.
Paremata 12-year-old Devon Wineera is the only local to take part in Operation Hero, a programme in which six Kiwi kids complete physical and mental challenges inspired by heroes like SAS soldier Willie Apiata VC and Rob Hewitt, a New Zealand navy diver who survived being lost at sea off Mana Island for four days in 2006.
The 10-part programme was created in partnership with the Defence Force to showcase the kind of challenges people face in the army, navy and air force.
Meeting kids from across the country and being faced with personal challenges were Rangikura School pupil Devon’s highlights from his time on the show.
‘‘Meeting new people and doing things not many 12-year-olds could say they have done.’’
His favourite hero was the subject of the show’s first episode: Nancy Wake, the Wellington-born French resistance fighter who recently died at aged 98.
‘‘ Doing the skydiving at night she could have got shot or she might have got tangled up in the parachute. And she was risking her life,’’ Devon says.
The Operation Hero kids did a cycling challenge to commemorate Nancy’s epic 800 kilometre bike ride mission during the war.
Devon proved himself a team player, completing laps for a team member who could not finish the challenge.
However, a 3600-metre aeroplane parachute jump on the same episode proved too much for Devon, who is afraid of heights. He had no trouble abseiling in Te Papa’s lofty entrance hall for the recent launch party for Operation Hero though – ‘‘I thought that was easy because we know our feet are on something solid’’.
The keen sportsman, who subs for Aotea College’s 2nd XI hockey team, he is considering a career in the navy or, despite his vertigo, the air force.
Watch Devon in Operation Hero on Sunday nights, 5pm on TV2.
The height of bravery: While filming new TV show Operation Hero, Paremata boy Devon Wineera was faced with a range of physical and mental challenges inspired by the lives of heroes.