Life has changed for Chris Sharp since he was paralysed as the result of a motorbike accident 2012, but his disability is benefiting others.
He compete in sailing at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, and now coaches physically disabled young people and adults in Northland, through the Sailability Northland Trust.
And he greatly enjoys showing his students what they are capable of.
"Sailing in specialised yachts allows people with disabilities to give the sport a go despite their restrictions," he said.
"After my accident I withdrew from society, but found coming back to sport to be the best thing that happened to me. It's great seeing the benefits to participants' physical and mental wellbeing, and the sense of accomplishment they get from giving sailing a go."
Sharp, who lives in Auckland, drives to Waitangi every weekend, because he knows what his lessons mean to the regular participants. They are all ages, including a 50-year-old woman in a wheelchair, who drives up from Whangārei for her weekly lesson.
"Sailing has become her life, and she has responded magnificently to it," he said.
"Recently I took her down to Wellington to compete in the HANSA national championships, and we won."
The Trust received $1600 in the latest round of Mazda Foundation funding to buy covers for its two specialised yachts, so that they stay well maintained and the organisation can continue providing the best opportunities for disabled people to get out on the water.
Sailability activities cover a broad spectrum, ranging from recreation to therapeutic and competitive, from grass-root, entry level through to elite world championships and Paralympic training, using two types of paraplegic yachts, Liberty boats, which can be sailed single-handed, for the more confident, and two-seater 303 HANSA craft.
Chris' mother Yvonne Sharp, secretary of Sailability Northland, said it was important that the yachts be well maintained so the programme continues to benefit those with disabilities.
"Being out in the water and taking part helps them to believe in themselves, and is great for their wellbeing," she said.
The trust was hoping to build up towards staging regular 'Have a Go' days for newcomers to experience a lesson or just have a turn on a boat, and hiring a paid coach to provide more lessons.
The trust was founded in Whangārei in 2011, and Sharp was elected chairman in 2017, before becoming a coach.
David Hodge, managing director of Mazda New Zealand and chairman of the Mazda Foundation, said the foundation was proud to support charities across the country that were making a difference in people's lives.
"It is great to see organisations providing opportunities for those with disabilities, that they might otherwise not get to experience. We are so glad to be able to help Sailability Northland continue with their amazing work," he said.
Each year the Mazda Foundation offers three funding rounds to help New Zealanders in need, giving more than $3.8 million to the community since its inception in 2005. It is funded via a contribution from the sale of every new Mazda in New Zealand.
The closing date for the next round of applications is March 31. For more information, or to download an application form, go to www.mazdafoundation.org.nz.