The positive and hard-working attitude of Rotorua's Thomas Tuki has been recognised on a national award level.
Thomas has been named a finalist for the Attitude Community Champion Award, as part of the Attitude Awards 2020.
The Attitude Awards are a national event celebrating the achievements and successes of New Zealanders living with disabilities.
He was nominated by Achilles Rotorua and Taupō co-ordinator Faustinah Ndlovu.
Thomas says he felt honoured and quite surprised when he found out he had been named a finalist.
"I basically forgot all about it until I got a call last Friday."
He says he has been with the Rotorua Achilles for about five years.
What he enjoys about it is helping all the other disabled athletes to achieve what they want to achieve.
"That gives me the most joy, to see the smiles on their faces.
"It's achieving goals that you set within yourself."
He says being a part of Achilles has also given him a lot of his fitness and confidence back.
"You can pass that on to others, that self confidence."
He says Achilles is also great because it allows people with disabilities to be part of mainstream sports events.
Thomas is visually impaired, and has had no central vision for about 42 years. He says it is a hereditary condition.
He is looking forward to the awards night in December.
"It's going to be an experience. I've never been in such a huge event before. Just to be there, be a part of it, watch all the other recipients, and to be among it is going to be something special."
The 2020 black tie gala ceremony will be held on December 2 at Auckland's Cordis Hotel.
He thanks his whānau and friends for all their support.
Thomas says he is also involved with and on the committee of the Association of Blind Citizens Rotorua.
The association helps to connect all the blind citizens of Rotorua, bringing them together, having gatherings and going out to events, he says.
Achilles Rotorua co-ordinator Faustinah Ndlovu says she is honoured to have nominated Thomas for the award.
"I have known Thomas for over four years since I was a member of Achilles International New Zealand as guide and Achilles Rotorua and Taupō co-ordinator.
"I have found Thomas to be a role model to people living with disability and all New Zealanders. Tom is a true team player, has a great sense of humour and great mana."
She says Thomas is a good friend, hard working, reliable, confident and self determined.
This is evident in how he "wears three hats and can step up from one hat to another when necessary".
"He is an athlete, volunteer and leader. Regardless of his visual impairment, Thomas volunteers for all our events, including fundraising events and running events."
Faustinah says Thomas is also heavily involved with the Rotorua Blind Sports and is chairman for the blind cricket.
Thomas won the 2019 Achilles New Zealand Volunteer of the Year award.
"Achilles Rotorua and Taupō members wishes Thomas all the best for the Attitude Awards finals."