Traversing the Waters (for Tupou Neiufi)

Today is a special day! It is Tupou Neiufi’s 11th birthday YAY! As explained in a previous blog post, Tupou is partially physically disabled due to a hit-and-run accident back in 2004 when she was 2 years of  age. It was a traumatic event. Doctors had ruled out the possibility of Tupou being able to walk again but her parents were determined to do all that they can to support Tupou’s physical development.

Currently, Tupou is a member of the Howick Pakuranga Swim Club. She has 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:

On Saturday 5th November 2011, the Paralympics New Zealand Nationals in swimming took place in Hamilton, New Zealand. In this competition, Tupou won a gold medal, two silver medals and a bronze medal (as shown in the photo above and directly below).

More recently, Tupou competed in the National Independence games, a mini version of the Paralympics where children from the ages of 8 to 17 years old from all over New Zealand compete against each other in various sports. This year it was held in Auckland and she came first in the breast stroke heat (as shown in the photo below), 1st 100 metre freestyle, 1st 50 metre backstroke, 2nd 50 metre butterfly, and 3rd 50 metre freestyle.  Furthermore, in September 2012, she will travel to Wellington (capital city of New Zealand) where she has qualified to compete in the New Zealand Short Course Championship in the Athletes with a disability category. She is the youngest athlete with a disability to qualify for this event, and it is an open event which means she will be competing against older children and also adults. She is a young star!

HAPPY 11th BIRTHDAY TUPOU! We love you and we are so proud of all your efforts and achievements to date! Continue to be an inspiration to your younger siblings and everyone around you. As a surprise for your birthday, this poem was written specifically for you in celebration of how far you have come. Continue to work hard in all that you do. ‘Ofa lahi atu xox

Traversing the Waters (for Tupou Neiufi)

© Maryanne Pale, 2012

As your feet lift off the starting block

You dive into a pool of endless possibilities

Like a dolphin, your body moves swiftly through the clear waters

Leaving ripples of impossibilities behind you

You lift your head each moment to inhale

Counting each breath and making each breath count

You dip speedily in and out of the water time and time again

Proving that life is worth living

The swimming pool transforms into an ocean

As you navigate the waters of life’s uncertainties

Gracefully dancing near the surface water

Accentuating the butterfly as you tumble, twist with rhythm and speed

Each arm stroke moving forward and back in circular motion

Strengthened by your sheer determination

As the water laps at the edge

You extend your legs and kick into the glide

You traverse the waters fearlessly with power

And everytime you swim below the surface

Always remember to rise  back up

Above water

Above obstacles

Above fear

To conquer the impossibilities!

To live your life!

To inspire!

And to succeed!


I love you Tupou xox


      1. my pleasure — I think that the encouragement you give young people can change their lives. Hope is a tiny seed that when planted in a child can change the world. Coming from someone young and pretty makes it almost magical to a child.

      2. Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate the support and encouragement that I receive from you. It is always wonderful to hear from you and it reaffirms positive thinking on my part. Many thanks always xox

  1. What an inspiration! What a determined young girl she is to not allow a disability to hold her back. I’m so proud!! God bless her always.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY Tupou Neiufi!!!

  2. Thank you all for the birthday wishes, god bless you all.

    Hi aunty Meli thank you for my poem. I was surprised when my mum showed me. I feel really special that you wrote a poem for me, this has made my birthday even extra special. Thank you for always supporting me, I love you aunty Meli.

  3. Happy Birthday Tupou! Maryanne your poem has captured my thoughts and feelings for Tupou and the Neiufi family to a tee, it’s beautiful! ‘Ofa atu Pou and Maryanne xox

    1. Hi Yoongz, thanks for stopping by to wish Tupou a Happy Birthday. Thank you also for tagging me in the Lucky 7 Meme. I appreciate it very much. Have a wonderful week. God bless xox

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