INSPIRATION is one of the themes in my poetry work. I draw inspiration from different people, surroundings and aspects of life which speaks truth to my poetry. In addition, some of my pieces set out to inspire readers to strive to the best of their capabilities. The story that I am about to share with you is about my 10 year old niece who is a huge inspiration to many people, including myself. She makes me so proud.
Tupou Neiufi is a Tongan student at Sutton Park Primary School in Mangere, South Auckland, New Zealand. She is partially physically disabled due to a hit-and-run accident back in 2004 when she was at the age of 2 years. It was a traumatic event. Doctors had ruled out the possibility of Tupou being able to walk again.
Over the years, I have seen Tupou’s parents, Rose (aka Lose) and Fineasi Neiufi, work considerably hard to support Tupou’s physio therapy treatments and her personal growth. It has been an emotional journey for Tupou’s parents but just like other parents, they want what is best for their child. Over time, Tupou was able to walk again despite the medical opinions that had suggested otherwise. Watching Tupou walk was a huge progress and so Rose and Fineasi decided to enrol Tupou into a swimming programme to assist with Tupou’s physical growth and development.
Today, Tupou is currently a member of the Howick Pakuranga Swim Club. Furthermore, Tupou has recently been selected for Paralympics New Zealand’s Xccelerate 2 Xcellence swimming programme which identifies and supports athletes who display the potential to win medals for New Zealand at the Paralympic Games. Paralympics New Zealand supports and encourages opportunities for disabled people to participate in sports, from regional, national and international levels. For more info please visit: www.paralympics.org.nz
On Saturday 5th November 2011, the Paralympics New Zealand Nationals in swimming took place in Hamilton, New Zealand. I had the pleasure in travelling to Hamilton with Tupou and her parents to support Tupou as she was one of the swimming competitors to represent Auckland. It was a truly inspiring day! Rose, Fineasi and I had watched all the competitors and especially Tupou strive at their best. Tupou competed against National representatives and champions. The disabilities were prevalent amongst the competitors but they each had a positive spirit and they were adamant in putting forth their best. Rose, Fineasi and I went teary eyed as the competition advanced and we were ecstatic for the winners during the awards ceremony.
At this competition for Paralympics Nationals New Zealand in swimming, 10 year old Tupou won 1 GOLD and 2 SILVER medals which is a huge accomplishment. This day was a day of victory for Tupou and her parents considering all the challenges that they have faced. An update of Tupou’s progress will be made in June 2012.
I believe in nurturing the younger generation and in particular our own family members. As adults, we are the first teachers and first role models for our younger family members and we must take responsbility for their well-being, their growth and their future. 10 year old Tupou continues to demonstrate that despite her disability, she can still work hard and thrive in school and in her sport. I admire Tupou and her parents, Rose and Fineasi, for their inner strength, their ability to rise above obstacles and their faith in God. Tupou’s zest for life is apparent and she is an inspiration indeed!
“If I can do it, so can YOU!” ~ Tupou Neiufi ♥