Disability no bar to happy holiday
For those with disabilities, planning a weekend getaway with friends is not so straightforward.
Charitable trust Recreate NZ is set on changing that by offering adventure, recreational and social programmes for people aged 9 to 24 with disabilities.
Amanda Wrench, 23, has lived with dyspraxia her entire life and also has an auditory and processing disorder.
Dyspraxia is a neurological condition that can affect the planning of movements, co-ordination and the generation of ideas.
Amanda has been involved with Recreate NZ for about three years and has a social calendar many her age would envy.
Mum Mellanie Wrench says Recreate NZ has given her the independence she so badly wanted and the chance to be out and about at what is usually such a sociable age.
In the past year alone Amanda travelled to Mangawhai, Mt Maunganui and Wellington with the programme and is looking forward to a special weekend away with her friends at a Stanmore Bay retreat.
The group of four, including Amanda and three friends, will be accompanied by two Recreate NZ helpers but will be left to enjoy their holiday the way they want to.
"I'm looking forward to just hanging out with my mates," Amanda says.
Mrs Wrench says the trips offer much-needed respite for both Amanda and her family.
"It works both ways. It gives us a break from each other.
"She always comes back exhausted, but having had so much fun," she says.
Recreate NZ provides programmes for three different age groups, enabling youth to socialise with their peers.
Amanda is in the 21-plus category and says seeing the same people at each programme has allowed her to form friendships.
"It's just awesome. It gets them out there and involved," Mrs Wrench says.
"Overall, I've seen Amanda grow.
"At one time she would never have gone on something like this but she's completely overcome that.
"Now she looks forward to it, she doesn't even think and just does it."
Visit the website recreate.org.nz or call 634 3474 for more information.