Serious injury & disability

A boy’s own adventures

Riley doesn’t let cerebral palsy get in the way of fun.


During the birth process Riley didn’t get enough oxygen, leaving him with cerebral palsy – a disorder that affects his muscle tone, movement and ability to move in a co-ordinated and purposeful way. Riley gets headaches, is easily distracted and tires quickly, and when he’s tired his balance and co-ordination decline. However, none of these challenges prevents him leading a life packed full of adventures.

The adventures of Riley, a young boy who doesn’t let cerebral palsy stop him fro

Preparing for high school

Riley and his family live in Waipukurau and he has three brothers. He is in his last year of primary school, where his favourite subjects are maths, PE and technology – especially the electronics units. He’s on road patrol two days a week and has played in seven-a-side rugby tournaments and on one of the school’s soccer teams.

Earlier this year Riley was one of the lead performers in J Rock, the primary school equivalent of Stage Challenge. He had to go to twice-a-week rehearsals in the lead-up to the final performance at the Napier Municipal Theatre. Next year he’s off to high school – another big step, and he can’t wait.

Putting the pedal to the metal


But it’s the bikes that Riley adores. At the weekends he loves going with his Dad and his brother Kegan to the local motocross track. He has his own junior- sized bike that they load onto a trailer behind his Dad’s car. Kegan helps with loading the bikes and washes them down afterwards. “That’s what older brothers are for, isn’t it?” says Riley with a mischievous smile.

Motorbikes are in his blood. Riley started riding motorbikes when he was four. “My first time on a bike, I put it into reverse and backed it into Dad’s Fairmont!” Riley’s got all the proper safety gear – leathers and several helmets – and he reckons the best riding is in the mud at the river after it’s been raining.

Raring to try anything


Riley will try his hand at almost anything. Two years ago a local stock car driver known as the Flying Scotsman took him for some fast laps around the track. He absolutely loved it. He’s also been on a jet ski and even tried ice skating during a trip to Auckland.

Riley’s latest adventure is fishing. One of his Dad’s mates has a commercial fishing boat and they took Riley on a trip recently. Unfortunately a rogue wave washed over the bow, swept Riley up into the air and dumped him in the middle of the boat. He got bruises around his hip and a very sore tailbone and had a few days off school to recuperate. However, while the experience slowed him down, he can’t wait to go out on the boat again!