Gary Endacott honoured for work with disabled
A world champion who's run marathons and climbed mountains has received an Honours award for his services to people with disabilities.
Gary Endacott, born with cerebral palsy, has achieved a remarkable amount in his life and is now being made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
He's not your average man. His parents were told he'd never walk due to his disability, but 47 years on he's run four New York marathons, won world tennis titles, and is the first person with a significant disability to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
But he says none of it compares to the experience of helping others.
"Working with other people and for other people is even more rewarding because that's potentially life-changing."
Working for the Ministry of Education, Mr Endacott is the country's only disability facilitator.
He draws on his own experiences to better the lives of disabled people and their families both in New Zealand and overseas.
But being made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services is something he never saw coming.
"I'm really quite humbled to be honest and very appreciative of the award and the fact that I get to work with so many wonderful people."
Mr Endacott is the son of rugby league legend and former Kiwis coach Frank Endacott, who says seeing his son defy the odds and achieve all that he has is phenomenal.
"To say we're proud of him is an understatement to be fair. We've watched him grow up with his disability himself and to see the work he does now with young kids with disabilities is unbelievable."
As for Mr Endacott, he credits his parents for giving him his can-do attitude.
"Last time I checked you get one shot at life – it's not a dress rehearsal so I wanted to make the most of that and I wanted to have a good quality of life."
And that's a quality of life he wants for all New Zealanders.