Pupil in­spired by hero­ics

Tak­ing on chal­lenge

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.

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