No more ocean views from the carpark - the beach mat changing the world for people with disabilities




It's being hailed as the beach mat that will change the world for people who have a disability.

And, lucky wheelchair-bound residents from Mount Maunganui got to give the mat a wee whirl on Saturday.

It's only a plastic matting, but it gives wheelchair-bound people the chance to get onto the beach and a little closer to the water's edge.

The weekend trial was a success, the Bay of Plenty Times has reported.

Now, Tauranga City Council is looking for sponsors to fund the installation of the mat on a semi-permanent basis.

One of the first mat users was Stacey Roche, who moved to Mount Maunganui two months ago for the beach and laid-back lifestyle.

Saturday was the first day she could get down to the water's edge by herself.

"It's so important to be able to do things for myself with no drama," said Ms Roche, who has cerebral palsy and is mostly wheelchair-bound, told the BOP Times.

"Otherwise I just have to sit in the car and look at the ocean from there."

Halberg Foundation disability sport adviser Maia Lewis said beach mat users would include members of the community who couldn't cross the soft sand.

"The mats can be used by not only people in wheelchairs but power chairs, motor scooters, prams, and elderly people with walking frames."

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