At the age of 18, I was young, strong and fit; my goal in life was to play professional rugby for New Zealand but on a Saturday afternoon in 1995 that dream came to a crashing halt when I fractured my neck in a rugby game. My injury is C4/5 incomplete and it changed my life in a split second.
I spent two weeks in the Tauranga Hospital before getting transferred to the Otara Spinal Unit where I spent six months. I’ve always looked at my injury as an unlucky accident, it was an open field play and I got tackled and rolled over my neck, no scrum involved, it was just unlucky.
Now, I’m an Artist with Contemporary Maori Art being my focus. Art for me started as a way to fill in my days with something to do, but the more time I put into art it quickly became my passion and my new goal in life. With my Art "What you see is what you get".
Recently I have started a new business called Cravass T-Shirts, specialising in custom made and designed t-shirts. The Rugby Foundation helped me out with my business by giving me a grant which I used to upgrade my out of date machinery and I have just launched my new website, Click Here.
With no formal training I taught myself how to paint, it began as a form of rehab by training myself on how to use my hands and arms again. I eventually transitioned into graphic design, learning my skills via the school of “Google”.
Even though I got injured playing rugby my injury never changed my love for the game, I’ve coached my family’s rugby club “Judea” senior side for four seasons all up and loved it. The only issue I had with coaching rugby was sitting in a wheelchair in the middle of winter freezing my ass off and in the pouring down rain is no fun no matter what angle you look at it, but would I change a thing? No.