A creative venture by Life Unlimited has provided an insight into the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown through the eyes of people living with disabilities and how they bravely adapted to the once in a 100 year event.
The book captures a snapshot in time for people living with a disability and/or autism and their family/whānau during the four week lockdown during March and April.
Stories within the book tells tales of where people decided to stay during lockdown, how they adapted to visiting the supermarkets and having the proper personal protection equipment, and what hobbies and skills they used to keep themselves entertained, while some also worked with maintaining employment.
Life Unlimited CEO Megan Thomas said the book came about after being inspired by the resilience of disabled people and those living with autism in lockdown.
"We had a very clear aim when we began, we wanted people to share their stories and let other people see and learn from the way disabled people made choices and maintained control of their lives during a pandemic," Thomas said.
"We wanted to hear what was important to people with disability, what helped the success and what we and others can learn from these stories.
"Everyone went on their own journey and that matters. It is interesting to see how people in these stories understood the rules, 'listen to Aunty Jacinda' and similar sentiments were ones that stuck with me."
Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate, who was a part of the launch of the book, said what Life Unlimited achieved was amazing.
"This is a special treasure with some very special stories," Southgate said.
"I became mayor last October and I looked across the year and thought I would be doing the annual plan and other bits and pieces but then Covid-19 came to us and it changed everybody worlds, and no more so than people who have disabilities.
"This book has given me hope for the future as it shows that all Kiwis have a can-do attitude and that we are fierce and adapt when needed.
"This book shows me that if Covid-19 or something else comes around again, then that we will be fine as we have learnt a lot from this journey."
Southgate finished her speech by saying Hamilton City Council is committed to providing better accessibility across the city, and the accessible toilet blocks that were built at the Rotokauri Transport centre is just the beginning of a slow transformation in Hamilton.
Kihkihi resident Brent Walker, whose story is one of the first in the book, said it was great to see how the community was caring for the disability community.
"Going into lockdown was a very unsettling time for us all and watching the events unfold overseas was heartbreaking," Walker said.
"One of the common themes I noticed in the book was resilience. Being born with a disability makes you resilient very fast and we adapting very quick to different situations in another skill that we develop quickly.
"And when you add a bit of Kiwi spirit on top of that you find that there isn't much that we cannot achieve together."