Kapi-Mana News : January 10th 2012
17 KAPI-MANA NEWS, JANUARY 10, 2012 FEATURE 3367710 Wednesday 18th January Shenanigans Thursday 19th January Hot Club Sandwich Friday 20th January Shaun Preston Saturday 21st January The Wannabes Sunday 22nd January The Satisfactions at the Rose Garden, Aotea Lagoon 6.30-8.30pm Bring the family, a cushion to sit on and something to nibble on. Sit back and enjoy a great summer night‛s entertainment o d n j o ya WET WEATHER ALTERNATIVE - TE RAUPARAHA ARENA 4271925AA Giving a voice to the disabled Mike Gourley: ''[My parents] turned what could have been a doom and gloom situation into a celebration.'' Joseph Romanos talks to disabilities campaigner Mike Gourley about the September 11 tragedy, his work as a broadcaster and being a disabled schoolboy. What exactly is your dis- ability? It's Holt-Oram Syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that leads to defects in the upper arms and heart. You've had it since birth? Yes. I was very fortunate my parents fought so hard for me. What do you mean? They turned what could have been a doom and gloom situation into a celebration. They had faith that things would work out for the best and that I could lead a normal life. One of the first battles was attending the local school, St Albans, in Christchurch. They had to fight the headmaster to get me there. What was the reaction of your teachers and classmates? The teachers went the extra mile for me. They were fantastic. The other kids were generally very good. They got very protective. You've done a variety of jobs. But you're best known for your work at Radio New Zea- land. I've loved that. It began in 1994. I got a phone call asking me if I wanted to work on Future Indica- tive. The programme is now called One in Five. The idea was to record material, write scripts and present programmes about dis- ability issues. I loved it but was very slow at first. I did four programmes in six months. But I got a contract to make more programmes and car- ried on. Radio New Zealand has been a very good employer. You're not working there just now. I've had to stop because I had a stroke in June. It's basically taken out my left side and I'm in a wheelchair. Was the stroke linked to your disability? No, it was random. Could've happened to any 54-year-old. You must curse your luck. Some people say that, but I don't look at it like that. I'm grateful I'm alive, that I survived it because that sort of stroke can be fatal. I'm working hard to get walking again and hope to be within a couple of years. Winning the two Attitude Awards must have put a smile on your face. They've been a huge boost to my morale and couldn't have come at a better time in my life. I understand you had an unforgettable experience when you went to Atlanta as a Rosalynn Carter Fellow. Definitely unforgettable. The course began on September 11, 2001. On the way to the Carter Center we heard a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. We thought it was a small plane that had gone off course. What was the atmosphere like at the Carter Center? Very sombre. It became clear how tragic the day was. Jimmy Carter was there. He wasn't permitted to travel because of security con- cerns, so we spoke to him at length. He was one of the few Americans who understood why some countries felt as they did about the United States. I suppose you didn't get much work done that day. No. We basically watched tele- vision all day, in shock. You went back to New York in 2007 with the Governor- General. Yes, Sir Anand Satyanand and I went to the United Nations to accept the Roosevelt International Disability Award. In New Zealand we sometimes complain about the treatment of the disabled, but when you look at it from a dis- tance you realise how advanced the thinking here is compared to many countries.
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