Sharyn Smart talks with Dean Probyn

“I don’t let my chair dictate my life.”

Dean close up 1Dean Probyn lives his ‘One Life, One Decision’ motto every day since a car accident in 1990 left him a tetraplegic.

In 1993 the New Plymouth local took an opportunity to “pay-it-forward” and share his story by speaking to school children, clubs and groups around the country.

He took his “pay it forward” a step further in 2013 and contacted the American Military to offer his skills as a motivational and inspirational speaker sharing his daily life experiences with the wounded soldiers.

After seeing such successful results from his one talk the military now want him back for a longer period of time to reach more soldiers.

“I wanted to do something to just say ‘hey thank-you’ to the soldiers and see if I could help in anyway.  I suppose it’s about paying it forward.  I’ve been blessed with friends, family, good mates and a good life.  So I got in touch with the American Military and got clearance to go in and give a talk.”

“I don’t pretend to understand what they’ve been through.  I talk to them about what I went through and what helped me get through things.  Your family, your friends, your mates, they are all important to you.  You have to be willing to talk about things because that helps.”

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Mountain emergency – Guy Vickers

Cold wait: Guy Vickers waits for the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter to rescue him off Mt Taranaki
Cold wait: Guy Vickers waits for the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter to rescue him off Mt Taranaki

My unexpected ‘flight’ while exploring Mt Taranaki

A year after a serious accident on Mt Taranaki Guy Vickers reflects on the accident that he feels could have easily cost him his life.

“This local hill (Mt Taranaki) got me back in the end.  I got caught out,” says the Stratford resident.

A very experienced mountain guide from the age of 20 Guy never thought he would receive such excruciating injuries while out tramping resulting in being winched off the mountain by the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter.

“I can’t thank the rescue crew enough, they got me out of a tough situation and they did it with such professionalism and efficiency.  I was beyond helping myself in the end and it was great knowing they are there when you need them, they were amazing.”

“The season was a bit later than normal.  They quite often say when you have an accident it is a combination of different things all coming together that just don’t quite fit together … and then something happens.  That’s pretty much what happened on that day.”

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A snapshot of Margaret Bake’s life

Pixels to Paint: Artist Margaret Bake displays her paintings alongside her photography. Photo by: Sharyn Smart
Pixels to Paint: Artist Margaret Bake displays her paintings alongside her photography.
Photo by: Sharyn Smart

Prominent retired Taranaki Photographer Margaret Bake proves that she has many strings to her artistic bow as she shows her work in an exhibition aptly titled “From pixels to paint” with friend and artist Derek Hughes.

“The idea for the title “From Pixels to Paint” is simply that I’m exploring the idea of doing some painting in a very amateur way while still having the passion for photography.

“Derek Hughes and I are sharing the Fitz Reuter Art Gallery in Inglewood.  He’s going to be exhibiting new photographic work and I’m going to be showing some photographic work and also some of my paintings because of the art that I’ve been attempting to do for the last 12 months.  We’re also going to give space to the Inglewood Photographic group to hang some of their work.”

Margaret explains her move from photography to oils as a “dabble” into the painting world.  She is certainly as capable with a brush as she is a camera.

“A year on I think I’m making a bit of progress.  I don’t how far I will take the painting or how long I will do it.  I always thought I would like to work with clay.  I’ve always wondered about pottery, ceramics and things like that. 

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Jaydene Nepia lifts gold

Weightlifting: Jaydene Nepia is easily lifted by her mentor Precious McKenzie.
Weightlifting: Jaydene Nepia is easily lifted by her mentor Precious McKenzie.

Jaydene Nepia power lifts a NZ record at first ever competition

After only a year in the sport Nelson’s Jaydene Nepia is taking the New Zealand weightlifting world by storm as she sets new records and wins gold.

In only her third competition the gutsy teenager reset the New Zealand junior clean and jerk record to 56kg while competing at the South Island weightlifting championships in June.  Jaydene broke her own previous NZ record by 1kg.

“I was stoked that I got a medal, it’s a huge achievement and my first gold.  I wanted to lift my best and win for my niece.

“I received the news that my niece had just been born and only had a couple of days to live.  I flew home to Rotorua to meet her almost straight after my competition.  I had very mixed emotions.  She was a little fighter and died on her one week birthday.”

At her competitive debut at the Christchurch invitational in March the 18-year-old claimed a New Zealand record lifting 55kgs in the Clean & Jerk under 48kg division.

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Sharyn Smart talks to Emma and Connor Heke about their “Our Green Roadie” adventure

Large Emma and sonInspiring stories by Real Life Writer Sharyn Smart

Our Green Roadie – Emma and Connor Heke’s road trip


Emma’s motto: “A little film team making big films.  Being the change we want to see in the World.”

Already living an environmentally aware lifestyle inspired Nelson film maker Emma Heke to set out on a quest to live “better not faster”.  Her first step was to attend an eco-film night which left her feeling hopeless when only six other people attended.

“Then and there I decided to make a film that celebrated the positive steps that people in NZ are taking on their journeys to become more environmentally aware. I wanted to create something that the everyday person could relate to and be inspired by.  It was crucial to find very ‘ordinary people’ who made decisions to do things extra-ordinary in their businesses and lifestyles.”

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