Artistic talent oozes out of Nikayla (Nik's) Wood's perpetually jerking arms.
Blame the athetoid cerebral palsy she was born with for her lack of control over them, however put a paintbrush in her hand or a stick with a sponge attached in her mouth and her creative spirit's set on fire.
Athetoid cerebral palsy is a more advanced form of the condition than that of her close friend Olena Smyth Our People featured on March 28.
However like Olena, Nik, as she's generally called, refuses to be held back by her lot in life.
She's already made headlines in this newspaper (March 4) for her competitive swimming skills, now it's her artistic side's turn to come into focus, both activities are inextricably linked by her motto: "Feel the fear and do it anyway."
The timing's perfect to talk of Nik's ability to express herself. She's one of those from the Habit Rehabilitation art groups for those with brain injuries whose paintings went on display at the Third Place Cafe this week. Several of Nik's works already carry the sold sticker.
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is classified as a brain injury as it has its genesis in brain development while a baby's evolving in the womb.
Enough of this medical-technical stuff, we're here to meet Nik and reveal her quiver full of talents.
She's spent most of her 22 years on her family's Rerewhakaaitu lifestyle block.
Being wheelchair-confined hasn't deterred her from carrying out her share of chores.
"I love working on the farm, I've got a tractor chair so I can pick up hay bales," she gleefully imparts via her carer Deena Theobald.
Her family apart, Deena's the most important person in her life.
For the purposes of this profile, Deena is Nik's spokeswoman. Difficulty with her speech is another of the inflictions CP's cursed her with.
Denna wasn't the only one in what was a five-way conversation, her art tutors, Martyn Evans (Our People October 21, 2017), and Jude Green were in on it too and what a laugh-a-thon it became.
There's much finger-pointing amid accusations Martyn's "deep in the Welsh valleys" accent can be harder to interpret than Nik's struggle with her words.
Martyn instructs Nik and her classmates in more structured art than Jude's free form work.
His classes focus on encouraging students to keep colour within the lines of drawings he's traced, he calls it precision work, it's with him that Nik often paints with her mouth-guided stick and sponge.
Martyn confirms it's jolly difficult. "I've tried it and made a horrible mess."
Jude's classes are where the brush comes into play.
"In my group, we're randomly chucking paint around to see what happens, you have to be slightly nutty to do this."
Nik's always had a passion for art but didn't take it at Lakes High where she spent her secondary days, topping her class in computer work.
She's massively proud she headed off her male classmates, some of her best mates included.
"I hung out with the boys, they treated me as one of them more than the girls did."
She tells us this via Deena who slips in here that her charge tends to be the "rip, s*** and bust" type, enjoying as much rough and tumble as her disability permits.
Mixing with fellow schoolmates was never a problem for Nik. At Rerewhakaaitu she was viewed as "just another pupil", not someone different because she wasn't able to run about like the other kids.
"It was a small rural school, everyone knew me, accepted me, played with me."
Nik was one of those who left the classroom without a clue where her future lay but her affiliation with art was percolating away in that extremely active brain of hers.
"There's nothing wrong with her noodle, it fires on all cylinders," Deena's emphatic about that.
Nik's fondness for art and computers flourished when she began combining the two as she contemplated her career options.
She began screen printing on to T-shirts and once her work appeared on her Facebook page commissions rolled in. Especially popular was the expansion of her Feel the fear theme which became her logo, to which she's added the tag line - live life to the fullest.
Being as immuno-compromised as she is she had to self isolate before lockdown and shelve her normally action-packed life.
At home she didn't vegetate, helping on the farm, painting, writing, biking, making a photographic collage and playing computer games.
"She doesn't get time to do that when she's with me," Deena's firm about that. Nik beams her lighthouse wattage smile in agreement.
Now the pause button's been released Nik's dived back into her former routine.
Deena lays it out.
"On Mondays she volunteers at the SPCA then we shop for what she needs to make her family's dinner that night, she cooks it and we take it out to Rerewhakaaitu in her van. Tuesdays are Jude's art class."
Jude steps in to explain how she became involved in art for the brain-injured.
"When I came here a couple of years ago from Auckland, someone saw my paintings and said I'd be a good fit for the classes, I love being around people so gave it a go and absolutely love it."
Returning to Nik's commitments, after art, she's at the Aquatic Centre with Maxine Parker's Swim Able group for the not-so-able. Her favourite stroke's "backstroke Nik style".
"When she first started she was absolutely terrified, clinging to me so hard my arms were bruised for weeks," Deena winces at the memory.
Learning to swim was a harsh lesson in learning to overcome fear. Wednesdays Nik's involved in music and group activities which include a "run" around Neil Hunt Park before heading to the lakefront for a ride on her recliner bike.
"Other people walk but I ride." That programme's run by the Achilles organisation dedicated to helping the physically challenged participate in sport.
Thursday is Martyn's art class while Fridays are consigned to odd jobs.
"Things like doctor's appointments, shopping, getting a warrant for the van, stuff like that."
Weekends are Nik's being with family time, working on her computer designs and Facebook page.
After her recent swimming successes at Tikitapu [Blue Lake], in the Huka Falls Xtreme River Swim and Mt Maunganui's women's triathlon Nik's sights are set on completing the walking leg of the Mount's August triathlon, Covid's restraints permitting.
"This means I can do the whole tri on my own by hopefully walking the last 50 metres on a walker."
Deena doesn't doubt she'll make it.
"When I see her come out of the water at the end of an event I blubber like a baby because she's so determined, so inspiring."
Inspiring is a word her art teachers echo.
Martyn describes her as "a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis".
"I always feel better after I've hung out with her," is Jude's take on Nik.
The trio concur this inspiring young woman is so self-motivated she's motivating.
Nikayla (Nik) Wood
Born: Rotorua, 1997
Education: Rerewhakaaitu Primary, Lakes High
Family: Father Gary Wood, mother Kristina Travaglia, sister Tasman, 18
Interests: Family, art, swimming, biking, triathlons, computers, her Facebook page, talking books
On her life: "Hard but fun, I am living my best life."
On those who help her: "They are all awesome."
Personal philosophy: "Enjoy life."
Farewell from Jill Nicholas
As a result of Covid-19, Our People has come to an end.
It has been my privilege over the last 12 years to compile these profiles.
To all who have allowed me into their lives so I, in turn, can introduce you to our loyal readers, an enormous thank you.
The stories you have shared have been enthusiastically embraced and become an integral part of the record of contributions made to Rotorua's history.
Over the years, there've been insights into lives as diverse as the subjects' Scrabble board of occupations. There's been an ambassador, a bishop, cleaners and a dustman. For him, jump over E (ecologist) to garbologist as rubbish collectors are now known, and so on down the alphabet. Any letters we've missed there have been made up for by our subjects' names.
They've come from the multiplicity of cultures and ethnic groups plucked from the melting pot of nationalities this officially bicultural city's expanded into during Our People's life time.
The age spectrum has stretched from 12 to 105. Some profiles have been hilarious, others sombre and all points in between.
I'm often asked how Our People came into being. The answer's brutally frank. I became tired of attending funerals and hearing what wonderful lives had been led, mostly unacknowledged.
I asked myself why not celebrate people while they are alive?
That thing called natural attrition means that by the law of averages a percentage of those who've featured are no longer with us. It is an honour that their Rotorua Daily Post profiles and pictures have been used as the basis for eulogies and obituaries.
On the subject of illustrations my sincerest gratitude goes to photographers Stephen Parker, Ben Fraser and Andrew Warner for their outstanding pictures that have been pivotal to each profile.
Their award winning work has given true meaning to the adage "a picture tells a thousand words".
That was Our People's official word count (okay, so sometimes I cheated). Regardless, these lensmen's work upped the impact many thousand-fold.
Hei konei ra, he mea pai. Goodbye, it's been a pleasure.