Wheelchair bound teenager can finally go to the beach

Music 06/03/2017

For the first time in years, a Tauranga teenager can enjoy going to the beach.

Seventeen-year-old Josh Laforteza has cerebral palsy, and had been held back by his wheelchair in the past.

But now he's back on the sand thanks to the kindness of his community.

He's had his very own beach buggy custom-made in the US, which his mother says is a "gamechanger".

"We only go to the cities; we haven't really explored the beauty of New Zealand because we're so limited with the chair," Kaye Narciso Laforteza told Newshub.

And so after years of watching from the sidelines it was down to the water, where he could feel the waves for the first time.

A teary Ms Laforteza said it was "amazing" to watch.

"It's so emotional for all of us because we haven't brought him to the beach for five years."

She's fought hard to get her son back to the beach, with a supporting Givealittle page helping to raise the funds.

In total $6000 was collected to pay for the wheelchair, with the local shopping centre putting forward half of the money.

Bayfair Shopping Centre's Steve Ellingford said watching the teenager in the new wheelchair was "absolutely incredible."

"He jumped in it, and as soon as he realised he was going to the water, you could see his face light up, his fingers wanting to touch the sand."