Wiremu (Billy) Kani
Taupiri te Maunga
Waikato te Awa
Ngati Pou te hapu
Oraeroa te Marae
Waikato te Iwi
Tainui te Waka
Tuheitia te Kingitanga
When I was born in Pukehohe I had one club foot.
At the age of 4 years I was fitted with leg braces to help me walk and run.
The braces were removed when I was 5 years old, however I had already started walking and running on my toes. I underwent an operation on my right foot at the age of 6 to enable me to walk properly.
From age 6 until 13 years I was in and out of hospital as the foot continued to turn inwards. This stopped me from playing any sports or applying to join the Navy.
Ever since then I have lived in Invercargill, Alexandra, Wellington, Hamilton, Pukehohe. I moved from Pukekohe to Whangarei in 1993 where I have lived ever since.
I met my partner here, Sophie Kake, from Pehiaweri Marae, Tikipunga. She passed away in 2000 after a car accident.
I learned Te reo at Te Puna o te Matauranga at Northtec – Te Reo o Nga Puhi me o nga Tikanga.
My first job was with Kiri Rewana bread as a baker. My next job was a Community Maori Mental Health as a Kaiawhina, working with Kaumatua Clients, whanau, Doctors, nurses, community workers, community services based at DHB. Then I moved to the Inpatient Unit Mental Health Service in Wards 6 and 7.
I then worked for 155 Community House as a Social Worker Aide, Mental Health Advocate, Kaumatua support and team supporter.
My latest job is working at Pehiaweri Marae as Supervisor and Assistant manager.
I have had three hip replacements due to having Osteo Arthritis through all my joints and am currently waiting for a right shoulder and left knee operation. Eighteen months ago I weighed 167kg and was badly out of shape. I was using crutches and taking a lot of pain killers. I was also on the borderline of having Diabetes, had gout, and at risk of having a heart attack.
I was monitored on Care Plus by my nurse, and realised then that I needed to do something about my weight. I started at the Whangarei Aquatic Centre pools with a Fitness Pal. I worked very hard to bring my weight down to 104kg, losing 63kg.
It has changed my life! Don’t let your disability stop you from achieving your goals or dreams.
Now I have no signs of diabetes or having a heart attack. Have reduced my gout considerably and been discharged from Care Plus.