Double amputee's positive attitude inspires.
Tony Christiansen may be only half a man in stature, but he's still 10-foot tall and bulletproof.
Mr Christiansen, 53, lost both his legs in a horrific train accident when he was nine.
He went on to become a lifeguard, author, race car driver, pilot, business owner, city councillor and get a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
The Nelson Marlborough Amputee Society is bringing Mr Christiansen to Nelson to speak at a dinner to raise money for a loan scheme for the regions' amputees.
Claire West, the society's secretary, said government or ACC funding didn't give amputees full independence.
Money from tickets to the fundraising dinner at the Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco Resort, at $100 a pop, would go toward filling that gap.
Mrs West said there was a similar scheme in place in Dunedin, which was where she got the idea from.
Mr Christiansen said he would focus on his life story and what he had been able to achieve by confronting challenges with a positive attitude.
“I think that for me, losing my legs has probably been an opportunity. Would I have achieved what I have today if I hadn't had my accident? It's that $64,000 question,” he said.
“We all react to things in different ways. I actually think if losing my legs is the worst thing that's going to happen to me, the rest of my life is going to be great.”
The Tauranga City Council councillor said he didn't believe in having “down days”, which a lot of people assumed he had.
“Everybody says, ‘Don't you have down days?' My answer to that is, ‘I had a down day. It was in 1972 and it lasted 10 minutes'. I have a choice when I wake up in the morning. I can have a great day or I can have a crappy day. I choose to have a good day.”
Mr Christiansen said he loved his job on the speaking circuit, which took him around the world.
He started doing it fulltime after selling his sign-writing business in 1998. He takes a “stage” with him wherever he goes, which consists of two A-frame trestles and a steel plank.
“I climb out of my chair and to the top of it and people wonder, ‘What the heck'?"