Kiwi man paralysed after Omanawa waterfall jump hopes to get back on his feet

A man who was left paralysed after jumping from a 10-storey-high waterfall near Tauranga is warning others to think twice before taking on any daring activities. 

Ephraim Gudgeon, 24, leapt off the Omanawa waterfall in February as friends filmed from the edge.

"As soon as I was in the water, I couldn't feel my legs at all. My back was real sore; it felt like my back had been bent."

Cheering onlookers thought nothing was wrong.

"I tried to come up and swim without my legs. I tried to call for help, but because of the waterfall no one could hear me so I just had to swim to the side."

Mr Gudgeon fractured his spine, damaging his spinal cord. He's now paralysed from the waist down.

"I have no feeling or movement from my waist down. I have no control over my bowel or bladder, so I can't really go toilet. I can go toilet but it's done differently."

After nearly three months in a spinal unit, the former personal trainer is back in the gym and determined to walk again.

"I just don't believe this will be me for the rest of my life; I refuse to believe that. I honestly 100 percent believe that I will walk again."

The Omanawa Falls park was closed last year, due to safety reasons. That didn't stop Mr Gudgeon or countless others heading to the popular tourist destination.

While Mr Gudgeon doesn't regret his decision to jump, he doesn't want others to experience the pain and suffering he and his whanau have endured over the past five months.

"It definitely has brought a lot of sadness and a lot of tears. It's definitely brought a lot of trials in my life - not just mine; my whole family are affected by it as well.

"I think I've learnt a lot from it. If this didn't happen to me my view on life wouldn't be what it is today."