Dad of disabled girl ordered off Chipmunks slide

By Mikaela Collins -
Christopher Tupe and Phoeknix have fallen out with Chipmunks in Whangarei over a ban on adults. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Christopher Tupe and Phoeknix have fallen out with Chipmunks in Whangarei over a ban on adults. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

A Whangarei mother claims her disabled daughter was discriminated against after the girl's father was told off for taking her down the slide at a children's amusement facility.

After the fallout hit social media, the family was offered use of the slide when no one was around - but they have turned this down.

Jackie Hita assumed it would be okay for her partner Christopher Tupe, to accompany their 7-year-old daughter Phoeknix, who cannot walk, down the inflatable slide when they visited Chipmunks Whangarei on Sunday.

But when Chipmunks Whangarei owner Frank Caldwell saw the pair going down the slide he approached them and pointed out the signs which said adults were not allowed on the slide. He denied any discrimination.

"We've been there multiple times and I've checked with them 'my daughter can't walk can we take her on the slide' and they say an adult can accompany her on the slide, that's fine.

So [Sunday] I didn't ask I just assumed because it had been fine," said Ms Hita.

Mr Caldwell cited health and safety as reasons why Mr Tupe was not allowed on the slide with his daughter and said he was not being discriminatory.

"We get children who get hurt by other children playing on the slide so if we're going to let other adults up there all we're going to do is escalate the problem," he said.

Ms Hita took to Facebook after the incident, in an emotional post.

"We don't want to go on the slide - we have to, to make our daughter feel normal. There was a lot of swearing and I've said how embarrassed I was but I've never been in that situation before," she said.

Mr Caldwell said he threatened to call the police because of the language used.

"The rule is adults are not allowed on the slide - there are no exceptions."

He told the Northern Advocate he would be willing to come in early so that Phoeknix could use the slide without anyone else around.

However, Ms Hita said she was too upset by the incident and declined the offer.

Ms Hita said it was hard for her trying to give her daughter a normal childhood.

"It's my child and it's hard to see my child suffer, to be told she can't go on a slide, every kid wants to go down a slide."

Comments on the Facebook post, which has been shared more than 800 times, suggested boycotting Chipmunks Whangarei but Ms Hita said she did not want that to happen.

"I didn't want people to hate him, I didn't want people to stop taking their kids there because I will take my kids back there, just not yet," she said.

For more articles from this region, go to

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 26 Sep 2016 08:20:06 Processing Time: 587ms