Bat­tling on, de­spite dis­abil­ity

Here’s a look at what made head­lines this week in Waikato com­mu­nity news­pa­pers.

Waikato Times Weekend - - AROUND THE REGION -

When he lost an eye four years ago, Norm Kete thought his ca­reer was over.

Dev­as­tated, Kete thought his seven years of ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with cranes would go to waste.

‘‘To tell the truth, I had no ex­pe­ri­ence in any­thing else,’’ the Taupo res­i­dent.

‘‘All my years, it was only cranes. Any­way, who would want to hire a blind guy?’’

The in­ci­dent that claimed Kete’s eye in 2013 didn’t hap­pen at work. It hap­pened on a night out in Taupo.

‘‘My wife and I were as­saulted while try­ing to catch a taxi home from town,’’ he said.

‘‘Overnight, my crane op­er­at­ing ca­reer was gone.’’

Dur­ing his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, ACC put for­ward a num­ber of low-skilled jobs for Kete to con­sider, such as a su­per­mar­ket cashier.

‘‘I was on ACC for a year-anda-half, but I re­alised I needed more up­skilling to work around peo­ple,’’ Kete said.

‘‘Lit­er­acy Taupo helped im­prove my com­puter skills and my pre­sen­ta­tion skills.’’

Kete soon gained an Oc­cu­pa­tional Health and Safety Na­tional Cer­tifi­cate.

His CV ended up on Ayla

Hut­ton’s desk, the op­er­a­tions man­ager at Safety ’n Ac­tion.

‘‘From the first look, we recog­nised that Nor­man had in­cred­i­ble po­ten­tial, a point of dif­fer­ence and so much to of­fer Safety ’n Ac­tion and our cus­tomers,’’ Hut­ton said.

‘‘But, that was only the start – Try­ing to con­vince Nor­man that we needed him and his skills [was dif­fi­cult] – he rang back sev­eral times just to make sure it wasn’t a joke,’’ Hut­ton said.

Kete now trav­els across the coun­try, train­ing peo­ple to load cranes safely and to op­er­ate them.

In 2016, Kete put 160 stu­dents through train­ing cour­ses.

Kete said his ef­fort doesn’t stop af­ter train­ing.

‘‘My stu­dents leave my train­ing ses­sions, know­ing they can con­tact me at any time for any fur­ther in­for­ma­tion they need to know,’’ he said.

In recog­ni­tion for this ded­i­ca­tion, Kete was named the Skills PTE Crane Trainer of the Year at the Crane As­so­ci­a­tion’s con­fer­ence in Ro­torua re­cently.

Be­ing safe al­ways comes first, Kete said.

‘‘The crane op­er­a­tor’s main job is to make sure every­one goes home at the end of the day,’’ he said.

Taupo Times

Tayla takes bull by horns

A rare op­por­tu­nity to com­pete in the Royal Mel­bourne Show Beef Cat­tle com­pe­ti­tion could not be passed up by young Tayla Hansen.

The 13-year old Taupiri res­i­dent was in­vited to lead Freshwater Creek An­nie, a sup­plied speckle park heifer which is the fea­ture breed of the event.

She al­most had to turn it down due to the as­so­ci­ated costs of get­ting to the Septem­ber show.

But mum Brenda Hansen said with Tayla re­cently be­ing di­ag­nosed with scle­ro­sis, they de­cided to fundraise the es­ti­mated $4000 for the pair to go.

‘‘We just thought, stuff it . . . do it be­cause it might never hap­pen again,’’ Brenda said.

The dis­or­der af­fects Tayla’s spine, caus­ing pain in her arms and back, mak­ing her more worn down than usual.

She wears a brace at night-time and will soon work her way up to wear­ing it 20 hours straight.

Even­tu­ally Tayla will likely have surgery with a re­cov­ery pe­riod of up to a year.

Brenda said it was dif­fi­cult hear­ing the news of her daugh­ter’s di­ag­no­sis, but she ad­mired Tayla’s pos­i­tiv­ity.

‘‘She’s taken it a lot bet­ter [than I have], Tayla just took on the at­ti­tude that it’ll be all right . . . she just doesn’t com­plain, she just gets on with it.’’

What keeps Tayla go­ing is her love for com­pet­ing which she’s done since the age of 5.

‘‘I have just had a pas­sion for them [cat­tle], I’m not go­ing to stop be­cause of a brace.’’

It’ll be her first over­seas event and will cer­tainly be a chal­lenge as she will meet the heifer for the first time upon ar­rival.

‘‘I think hope­fully it will give me a whole lot more ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing with cat­tle I don’t know and learn­ing about their quirks.’’

Com­pet­ing in the se­nior cat­e­gory this year, it will be a dif­fer­ent ‘‘ball game’’ and at the Mel­bourne show, there will be a much big­ger au­di­ence than she’s used to.

She ad­mits it’s nerve-rack­ing, but is con­fi­dent in her abil­i­ties to per­form just as well.

‘‘Tayla’s got quite a nat­u­ral way with an­i­mals, and as long as she goes in with the same re­spect, she will be fine,’’ Brenda said.

With count­less rib­bons stacked up from years of com­pe­ti­tion, she has also been named the North­ern Ju­nior Dis­trict Handler of the Year for the sec­ond year run­ning.

To win the ti­tle, she had to ac­cu­mu­late the most points through last sea­son’s events.

North Waikato News

Waipa builds ap­proved

New re­source con­sents to­talling

$21.5 mil­lion have been pro­cessed in an at­tempt to help con­struc­tion of new homes in the Waipa dis­trict.

The Waipa Dis­trict Coun­cil has been busy re­view­ing and is­su­ing con­sents in re­sponse to the 125 ap­pli­ca­tions for new builds, al­ter­ations and other do­mes­tic work.

The re­cent an­nounce­ment of the Gov­ern­ment’s $1 bil­lion Hous­ing In­fra­struc­ture Fund is ex­pected to put pres­sure on an al­ready stretched trade force in the Waikato as it grap­ples with build­ing new homes.

But fears of fall­ing land prices and in­creased build­ing costs due to lack of trades­peo­ple were dis­missed by the Prop­erty Coun­cil Waikato spokesman Brian Squair.

‘‘Depend­ing on the size of the com­pany, group hous­ing builders are de­liv­er­ing any­where from 25 to 100 houses per year each.

‘‘Right now, many of them are at ca­pac­ity work­ing across the re­gion,’’ he said.

‘‘Auck­land and Tauranga com­pa­nies are work­ing in Hamil­ton, with Hamil­ton com­pa­nies work­ing in Cam­bridge and Tauranga.’’

Squair said it has been the cost of land that has im­pacted prices more than the labour and ma­te­ri­als cost.

‘‘The key vari­able is tim­ing and, while the prin­ci­ple of sup­ply and de­mand is alive and well and will have in­flu­ence, the tim­ing of ‘de­vel­oper-ready’ land avail­abil­ity may govern the dy­nam­ics here.’’

Coun­cil has re­cently fast tracked the re­lease of some hous­ing land to cope with ex­pected growth in Cam­bridge and Te Awa­mutu.

Hav­ing three de­vel­op­ments in close prox­im­ity shouldn’t pose a prob­lem for Cam­bridge.

He said Cam­bridge and Te Awa­mutu were unique towns, al­most des­ti­na­tion towns, where peo­ple choose to live be­cause of their unique char­ac­ters.

‘‘Waipa, and specif­i­cally Cam­bridge, has some ca­pac­ity in that many de­vel­op­ers have ear­marked de­vel­op­ment sites al­ready.

‘‘It could be be­tween two and three years be­fore hous­ing on the newly ‘en­abled’ land in Hamil­ton is com­menced.

‘‘Cam­bridge may have the jump on Hamil­ton for build­ing re­sources,’’ he said, ‘‘due to the tim­ing and readi­ness.’’

Cam­bridge Edi­tion

Taupiri 13-yearold Tayla Hansen has taken up an in­vi­ta­tion to com­pete at the Royal Mel­bourne Show in Septem­ber.

Af­ter years work­ing with cranes, Norm Kete, right, now trav­els across the coun­try for Safety ’n Ac­tion, train­ing peo­ple how to load and op­er­ate them safely. In 2016, Kete put 160 stu­dents through train­ing cour­ses. He was re­cently named the Skills PTE Crane Trainer of the Year.

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