HIGH FLYER: Manurewa's Barry Cardno
Flying sets Barry Cardno free. He might have been confined to a wheelchair since a crash in a top-dressing plane 16 years ago but he hasn't let anything ground him.
"It seemed like my life had been shattered the moment the plane hit the ground," he says of the crash.
But he's not one to dwell on things for too long and is of the mind that "you have two choices: you either do or you don't".
"If you choose the second you're at home by yourself – I tried that – or you're outside doing stuff."
So he set about doing. In the time since his accident he's written a book, regained his pilot's licence and is now studying at Manukau Institute of Technology.
Originally from Dunedin Mr Cardno has relocated to Manurewa so he can study for a diploma in shipping and freight and build a new career for himself.
And to get his flying fix he joined the Airline Flying Club at Ardmore airfield where he is "chuffed" to have been appointed club captain.
As captain he rallies other club members as he leads them into flying competitions, showing a distinct appreciation for "the upside down business".
But it hasn't been an easy path for Mr Cardno who lost his licence after his crash.
The Civil Aviation Authority told him that because he had suffered a head injury in the crash he was at a higher risk of post-traumatic epilepsy.
It told him his case might be reviewed 10 years down the track.
So 10 years came and went and he thought "bugger applying again" and took to flying in microlights like many other recreational pilots.
He clocked up the required hours in the little aircraft and is now back behind the controls of a Cessna.
Through all of it he's had immense support from his family and the friends he has met along the way.
The hand controls he uses to work his Cessna's rudder and brakes – usually operated by pedals – belonged to his mentor Professor Alan Clarke.
The professor had been head of the spinal unit Mr Cardno was in after his accident and was also confined to a wheelchair.
At Mr Cardno's first assessment "Prof Clarke" took him flying to show him what was possible. After the professor's death three years ago Mr Cardno was gifted the hand controls he now uses.
Now he's hoping to be able to share the "joy and freedom of flying" with others and has plans to set up a charity to take disabled kids up in the air.
Life has thrown a lot at Mr Cardno but nothing so far has been able to keep him from success.
"I've been in a wheelchair for 16 years and I consider the wheelchair part of who I am – at worst it's a minor inconvenience."