After I was born, I went to the School for Deaf. I was small and very scared of school, the waving and pointing arms and hands. I was there till I left school at about 17 or 16. I was 16 and went to a hearing mainstream school. All the information went past me, I couldn’t lipread the teacher.
Then I went to the Nelson Deaf Club, ohhhh, all the Deaf there at that time signed. When I was little it was more like TC (Total Communication/Signed English). I experienced sign language more as I got older. That was alright, seeing Deaf people was good.
My father, he had a farm. When I was a boy aged 17, I would help with the hay, using the plough and the forklift. My father said I was a big boy, I was 17, he said ‘you are a big boy, you can lift the heavy rocks’. My brother was younger, he was driving the truck. I wanted to drive but my dad said no, you throw the hay up. He taught me everything, how to work the plough and more. It was hard but I liked farming. When I left the farm, I said I wanted to have a section but was told no. No one was there to interpret for me at the time.