Toby Wilson is rolling around in his new recumbent trike looking like a mini racing driver.
The little boy with Down syndrome has never seen anything like this before
The impressive Hase Trets Reh trike looks like a turbo charged baby buggy, but it's a trike. And it's pretty fast.
"His first reaction was 'wow'," says mum Nikki Mackenzie, when the trike arrived from Germany last week and the family assembled it.
But he was a little bit confused, she says, as his new hot wheels look so different from his usual mode of transport — buggy or toddler trike.
The trike is designed for children with special needs. It has peddles so Toby can ride the trike himself (or take a break and be pushed with a parent pole) and steering wheel.
The bike can extend horizontally to accommodate his growth up to age 10.
The trike came with a hefty price tag. Nikki was determined to get it for him.
"When Toby was diagnosed with Down syndrome three days after he was born, I knew the most important thing would be to get Toby out and about in the community. I believe the more people that know Toby, the more people would understand him, watch out for him as he grows up, and be a part of his community social support network."
The Wilsons received a $6903.99 cheque from the Mazda Foundation to purchase a specialised trike. The bike can be attached to an adult's bike and become a trailer. It can fold down for easy travel.
Toby has outgrown his buggy and his toddler trike.
It was important to Nikki for Toby to be seen, to be social and to keep him active. Toby does not have enough muscle tone or balance for a bicycle and a specialised trike designed for low muscle toned children was the next step.
And he didn't want to be carted about in a baby buggy any more, Nikki says, as he's not a baby.
He also has a very close bond with his older sister and one of the highlights of his day is to accompany her to school on his toddler trike.
"They adore each other more than I have ever seen between siblings."
In August Nikki began her search for a specialised bike via Trikes NZ website.
"Thanks to the Mazda Foundation Toby will be enjoying trike riding in the outdoors with his family this summer."
Nikki says the best gift you can give a person with a disability is friendliness. She sees people staring at him, and it bugs her.
"I tell little kids that it's okay to stare at Toby as long as you do it with a smile."
She doesn't want people to feel awkward about him as "a genuine friendly 'hello' really makes Toby happy".
"The thing that warms my heart the most as a mum is when a person who barely knows Toby comes up and has a friendly chat to Toby. I think people forget how a simple gesture of kindness can make a massive difference. Thank you so much to the members of our community who stop, wave and chat to Toby. Thank you to all of you that have taken time to make Toby feel important."
Nikki was no stranger to children with special needs. She grew up in Paihia and her best friend's sister had Down syndrome.
"I witnessed for over 15 years how a nurturing family, with high enough expectations, and a community spirit can enable an additional needs child to absolutely thrive mentally, emotionally and physically."