Horowhenua has become even more accessible and inclusive to people with disabilities, with three all terrain wheel chairs and two all terrain walkers now available to use.
Mayor Bernie Wanden says, “I am delighted that people with disabilities will find it easier to enjoy our stunning Horowhenua beaches and scenic areas. Whether living here, or just visiting, people with disabilities will be able to more easily immerse themselves in the beautiful surroundings that make Horowhenua special.”
The new equipment, funded by a Lottery Community Grant, includes two Hippocampe all terrain beach wheelchairs, a Sandcruiser beach wheelchair and two WheelEEZ® all terrain rollators. The mobility aids, which are easily transportable, can be booked free of charge by visiting horowhenua.govt.nz/allterrainwheelchairs Our friendly Levin Aquatic Centre team are available on (06) 368 0070 or firstname.lastname@example.org to assist with bookings if needed.
“We invite people to come find themselves in Horowhenua and the all terrain wheelchairs mean more people can experience the harder to reach places Horowhenua is rich in. People with disabilities can enjoy these special places with family and friends – something which would have been impossible in the past”, Mayor Bernie continues.
The all terrain wheelchairs are suited to people of all ages, and are able to be used on surfaces which other wheelchairs can’t – sand, hiking trails, gravel, grass/turf, snow and cobblestones. Towed, pushed or self-propelled, the all terrain wheelchairs offer autonomy to the user, and a support person can also assist with its push bar or traction kit.
Balloon wheels on the beach wheelchairs allow users to cross sand, get over obstacles and go right into the sea so they can enjoy the water.
The rollators help people to navigate challenging off-road terrains. The wider polyurethane wheels allow a safer more stable base to walk on to experience the great outdoors with ease.
The wheelchairs were designed by specialist paramedics and were tested by people with restricted mobility. Composed of a thick and hydrophobic foam, the seat does not absorb water and dries quickly. The frame is comfortable to the touch and does not heat up in the sun. Sturdy, safe and comfortable, they can be adapted to a person’s specific needs and requirements.
Horowhenua District Council has a long history of community development and also plays a pivotal advocacy role for the community in relation to social development. The Community and Social Development Action Plan is the vehicle to drive community wellbeing in Horowhenua.
The Plan is informed by the Horowhenua Access and Inclusion Forum and is endorsed by Council's Community Wellbeing Committee. It serves as a guide and work plan for championing access and inclusion across the district.
Mayor Bernie says, “When people with ideas and shared interest work in partnership, amazing things can happen. We encouraged the Forum to tell us what they need and share their vision for an inclusive and accessible district. Council facilitates community initiatives, and this idea, bought to us from a mother with a child in a wheelchair, was one in particular we were especially excited to get behind.”
Horowhenua has a number of disability accessible playgrounds, with a wheelchair swing at Levin Adventure Park. Of the 28 stand-alone public toilets in Horowhenua, 21 are accessible. Our aquatics facilities provide wheelchairs, a chairlift which can provide access into the pool via a seat, sling or hoist for the aqua wheelchair, and changing rooms for people with disabilities. Opened in December 2022, Horowhenua also has a wheelchair accessible splash pad at Jubilee Park, Levin.