Archive: 2017

Exciting role for southern athlete

Special Olympics athlete Shonagh Clarke, of Invercargill, is preparing to join a group of athletes known as Global Messengers, set to become ambassadors for Special Olympics New Zealand.

Clarke, who competes with Special Olympics Southland in ten pin bowling and has been with the club for about 30 years, is one of six athletes who will take part in the Global Messenger training programme in New Zealand this year. The goal of the programme is to equip athletes with the skills to take up the role of ambassador for the organisation within their communities throughout the country.

Following the training, Clarke will join more than 70 Global Messengers in supporting and inspiring other athletes and promoting the Special Olympics in New Zealand.

“I think it is an awesome achievement and an honour to be selected,” she said.

The 51 year old has represented New Zealand twice, at the World Summer Games in the United States in 1991 and at the Asia Pacific Games in Australia in 2013.

“My favourite thing about Special Olympics is representing my province and country in my sport of ten pin bowling. I also like meeting new people around the world and gaining new friends nationally and internationally – and keeping fit.”

Clarke has also been athlete representative on the Special Olympics Southland committee for 10 years, is secretary of the club’s athletes’ committee, treasurer of her bowling league and works full-time as a mail clerk at SBS Bank.

Regional team leader for Special Olympics New Zealand Julia Sanson said being selected to become a Global Messenger was a huge achievement and an amazing opportunity for the athletes.

“As an athlete-driven organisation, it’s important our athletes have a voice in raising awareness and breaking down barriers which they and their peers often experience. They share their experiences and achievements gained through Special Olympics as a very strong and powerful voice of awareness and change.”

The class of 2018 started their leadership training in Wellington last week.

Special Olympics New Zealand is a year-round programme of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

For more information, go to (external website)

Taken from The Southland Express, February 28, 2018.





Dancing with Parkinson's


A dance group with a difference has started in Invercargill.

Older but Healthy and Happy


Kiwis are living longer, but to enjoy the extra years in good health they need to make smart, consistent lifestyle choices.

Fridge magnet a lifesaver as symptoms of stroke appear


Most of us have magnets on the fridge, holding up family photos or the shopping list.  We do not expect them to help diagnose a medical emergency.  But that is...

Get to know the signs of DVT


A SORE leg after a long trip doesn’t sound like much to worry about, but that is not what my GP thought.

Sydney Win for Southland Student


A sore foot led Katelin Stuart to her love of miniature horses.

A Nice Surprise


THREE Telephone Information Service (TID) for the visually impaired volunteers were recognised for their long service last week.Narrators Ewen Rendal and Jill Lindsay and narrator and co-ordinator Brian Railton, all...

Free Seminar to discuss Macular Degeneration


Macular Degeneration New Zealand (MDNZ) is conducting a free public seminar in Invercargill next weekend.

Scheme to assist people into jobs


Southland businesses are working with central government to increase the number of disabled people joining the workforce.

Better education for autistic students sought after


One of the hardest problems people have is understanding autism, not only in homes but in the education system.  Autism New Zealand national education manager Neil Stuart and Autism New...

Koha Kai wins national award


A Southland group wins top community group at weekend.

Penalty fit for young thieves


A Nelson woman whose possessions were stolen as she suffered a seizure, has healed wounds with the culprits in the most practical way possible – enrolling them in a first...

Heading to New York on a hand cycle


Like many Southland stories, this too begins with a beer in the pub.Born with muscular dystrophy, Jack Lovett-Hurst, 20, is going to compete in the New York Marathon on his...

‘Isolating’ illness discussed at launch


An Invercargill-based nurse says many struggle to seek help in Southland when they suspect they have diabetes.  One in four people in New Zealand are pre-diabetic and at risk of developing...

Call to screen every 5-year-old for disabilities


The Children’s Commissioner is calling for all children to be screened for developmental and learning disorders when they enter school.  Judge Andrew Becroft said identifying issues early could even out...

Boy’s fantasy flight to school camp takes off


Alun White-Rhodes cannot walk now, but he has always yearned to fly. On Wednesday the 12-year-old, whose mobility and speech have progressively been stolen by a rare form of epilepsy,...

Demand for more carers in Southland


Southland’s aging population is demanding more carers in the region.  Good Partners chief executive Jide Samuel said there was a “huge” need for carers in Southland.  With the region’s population...

Disabled Students Dance to Health


Pupils with disabilities at Waihopai School are twirling, twisting and jumping their way through new dance classes aimed at helping to improve their physical and mental wellness.  The classes involve...

Headache clinic expanding north


A home-grown Southland business is set to expand into the biggest market in the country.

Winton teen keen to help her town


Bailley Unahi wants to give back to the community that rallied to support her after a tragic accident last year left her paralysed.  The 19-year-old, from Winton, suffered spinal injuries...

Rugby game to raise funds


In March 1999, Ben Larson’s life changed forever.  Playing in a rugby game for the Verdon College first XV against a combined Cargill-Kingwell team in Invercargill, a tackle went horribly wrong.

Petition seeks urgent toilet access


The first signs of Nicole Thorton’s inflammatory bowel disease showed up in her joints in primary school. 

South first to try new mental health approach


In an effort to reduce conflict and enhance staff-patient relationships, the Southern District Health Board is implementing a new approach to inpatient care. 

Learning difficulty workshops for parents available soon


Southland parents will soon have workshops offered to them to help heal with the anxieties of having children with learning difficulties.  

Schools need more funding for special-needs students


Hundreds of New Zealand principals say they are unable to cater for special-needs students in their schools.