West Aucklander Zane Kukutai-Seumanu may have only one leg, but when it comes to zooming around on a shiny, new "bike", hands can perform just as well as feet.

Nine-year-old Zane was born with spina bifida and later had the lower part of one leg amputated after suffering an infection. He uses a prosthetic leg.

A pupil at Ranui Primary School, he has been given a hand-cycle, a three-wheeled machine powered by hand-operated "pedals". He loves it.

Zane Kukutai-Seumanu's pride and joy is a three-wheeled hand-cycle that he
Zane Kukutai-Seumanu's pride and joy is a three-wheeled hand-cycle that he "pedals" with his hands. Photo / NZ Herald Focus

"I got the bike last year I think and I learned to ride this bike on the first day ...," Zane told NZ Herald Focus.

Advertisement

"... I like this bike because it's fast and my friends, me and my friend can play racing ..."

Zane's cycle, worth more than $8000, was donated by its maker - disability equipment company Invercare - with a contribution from the Halberg Activity Fund.

Helen Robinson, an adviser at the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, recalls the day Zane first rode his cycle.

"... he hopped on the track, went around the school, and all the other kids just followed him. In fact, he was beating all the other kids, he was that much quicker already."

"We worked with Invercare and the Halberg Activity Fund and we put through an application for Zane to be fully funded for the hand-cycle and so now it belongs to him. His family didn't have to contribute, which is awesome; that's what we're here for."

Robinson said it was important for Zane's confidence to be included in all activities.

"I don't think any kid should get left out of anything and now that we've managed to get him the hand-cycle as well, it's even more reason for him to jump in with everyone else and be just like everyone else."

Zane came to Ranui Primary School last year. His teacher, Trish Clueard, said there were fears the classroom would have to be rearranged and special items acquired to accommodate him, but that hadn't been borne out.

He was seated near the door to ease his entry and exit, and a teacher-aide was hired to support Zane, who participates in playground games with the other children and plays football.

"There's nothing he can't do, even in the swimming pool ... he's into the pool and then there's the bike ...

"There was only one part of the school grounds he couldn't access, because it's a little uneven and it's pretty tough for him going around in the wheelchair and he was given this amazing bike and so he's at the same level as everybody else. He's around that track, that bike track, in his bike with all the other children - it's amazing."

It had helped Zane's self-confidence to have the same access around the school as the other children.

"... I never knew that he lacked confidence because it just doesn't show in anything he does academically ... physically.

"[The bike] was really important for him - it was like Christmas."