Legally blind and an albino, the Chilton St James year 11 student has experienced bullying and depression herself but considers these hurdles have made her stronger.
“I have never let my vision defeat me. I like to think of it as playing the game of life on hard mode,” she said in her successful pitch to National list MP Chris Bishop to be his representative in the July event at the Beehive.
Tapara has a passion for programming, gaming, drawing, singing and technology. She says that when she got her first laptop, she made sure she could do anything she ever dreamed of in the comfort of her visual boundaries.
“I admit sometimes a lifelong disability is a hard pill to swallow at my age, but the lessons I have learned in my mere 16 years are many. The truth is, if given the option, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I’m not sure how I would have coped (or would cope now) with such a serious disability, but very inspiring to see Britnee has not let it define her in terms of what she can’t do, but instead has faced challenges and already achieved a lot.
A keen horse rider, she is striving to compete in the Para-Equestrian Dressage event at the North Island championships in February. She said a few months ago that her horse Missy Amber Fudge “was the only reason that I got up each day”.
Depression and anxiety had left her at her lowest ebb, and she felt despair.
She told Hutt News she was fortunate that her parents could get her private health care, thus sidestepping public mental health waiting lists.
“But not everyone can do that.”
She intends arguing a case at the Youth Parliament for more Government investment in mental health services.
Bishop said all the applicants for the position would have made great youth MPs but Britnee was “an exceptional young person”.
Her passion for a better mental health deal for young people “really spoke to me”.
“Our youth suicide rates are just scandalous.”
They are. The answer may not be spending more, as opposed to better services (it could be both). Many people are ashamed to say they struggle with mental health issues and/or depression, so it is inspiring to see Britnee so open about her challenges.