Peter, who has lived in the suburb for more than 30 years, reckons that, contrary to popular opinion, the Wellington region’s weather is pretty good, allowing him to cultivate a thriving garden where he enjoys views of hills and bush.
Having been born without hands or feet, Peter is no stranger to a challenge or two. He pruned – and eventually felled – a row of 10-metre Norfolk pines blocking sunlight along one boundary; he has built the back deck, the garden furniture, the fences, maintains the immaculate grounds, has renovated the interior – and also finds time between a full-time job to play top-level lawn bowls.
His home, a few minutes’ drive from Taita station where he works as a signalman, is testimony to his can-do attitude to life. “I’m a bit of a stubborn bugger,” he freely admits. He refuses to let his disability get in the way of anything, and has thrown himself into all sorts of sports, including soccer and cricket. But it is at bowls that he came to excel, playing at his local (now defunct) Taita club against able-bodied members.
In fact, the first time he found himself up against other disabled players was at the Seoul Paralympics in 1988 where he won gold in the singles and bronze in the pairs. He plays now for the Naenae club and is active in organising events for disabled bowlers. (Thanks to his efforts, the way now looks clear for Hutt City to host the world championships in 2015.) He says the Hutt has made great strides in improving access for disabled people in recent years. But it’s hard to avoid the conclusion Peter is not too worried either way about the changes. After all, he’s had a lifetime of refusing to make concessions to his disability as he pursues a full and interesting life.