Taylor Cook (Ashley Kahurangi). They/Them
I'm just some kiwi kid who grew up in 90's rural New Zealand for my defining childhood, I've learnt to own who I am, not be afraid to stand up against injustices to myself or others and explore something new with a hope to learn along the way.
In February 2018 I became a wheelchair user, diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder. Before all this I was an avid athlete, camper and explorer. In my earlier years, I did almost all forms of camping through New Zealand but after many years hiatus I found myself in a situation where accessibility is now an issue and the call to the wild stronger than ever.
I have helped many community groups and organisations over the years and I have reached a point where I want to help others feel they aren’t alone in having a wanderlust and don’t know how to explore as I continue to relearn how to enjoy the same things I used to enjoy.
I hope you do find something useful here that can help you.
I do a lot of volunteer work in many communities, primarily in creating safe spaces, events and research in the fetish, archeology & adaptive sport communities.
(not at the same time of course)
Im equally a very private person and someone who shares a lot, I have a unique outlook on life that
has helped others too. Spurring me on to help more,
plan more, inspire more; creatively.
Some Stuff About Me
While being active in the greater queer community since I was 18. Recently, after longer than my adult life in the closet, I have recently come out as transgender and beginning this new chapter in my life in 2020. Not much is going to change right away but, here I am welcoming you to Ashley Kahurangi. *waves*
I'm a lover of the natural world,
from radio astronomy to geology
and camping in the thick of it.
Love working with my hands and doing major
problem solving projects, whether for me or
for others. Or even better, a win-win for all!
As a child misdiagnosed with ADHD in an evangelical Mormon household before the age of the internet made my upbringing a challenge for all involved. This has led me to be a strong supporter for mental health advocacy, always willing to lend a shoulder and and ear, and not afraid to share both sides of the emotional pie. Because none of us should be alone, especially with our inner demons.
My love of sports runs deep, even if there is swathes of my life that there was very little. The power of exercise to assist with my mental health creeped into my life slowly and in time, saw the value in out-of-the-box teaching approaches that I use wholeheartedly today.
Living in China in 2010-11, doing the tourist stuff, working, and all the stuff in between taught me the diversity out in the world with a whole new light. I got to see first hand with immersion, the similarities of the struggles and sources of happiness and respect that can be found all across all cultures, ages, heritage and history, irrespective of rat race
social constructs like money or status.
After homelessness, I hit the ground running, helping out around the fetish community in Melbourne. With my newfound confidence of being more accepting myself, I built a few resources and events and in the end reaffirming to me that an intuitive "hunch" can be life changing in a positive way with just as much probability. Bring on positive paranoia !
What's Shaping Me
A Journey Through Some Terribly Funny Photos
I've never been one to hold back if there's something I can do to help, teach or inspire. I always hope the lessons I learn in stumbling through this thing called life has some worth in teaching and sharing. So if some small amount of pain or anguish is reduced in someone else that's confused about the world as well, that's good enough for me. A lot of events have made me know myself well and steadfast in my values on love, caring and protecting diversity; and I appreciate that, no no one deserves to go through fire if they don't need to.
Just remember, don't take me too seriously :P
Crawling through a small ice cave in a glacier sounds like a inconsequential thing, but to me and how I see my inner demons it was pivotal. I learnt that comfort is a drug. Once you get used to it, it becomes addicting. Give a broken person consistent stimulation, good food, quick thrills and they're likely to throw their ambitions out the window. To me I saw my old comfort zone is where dreams go and die. By this point in my life, I had followed my parents assumption was always deeply flawed and no point trying to keep pushing, but one moment of overcoming deep ingrained claustrophobia and social anxiety taught me my mental health didnt have to define me if i kept working at it.
Not just visiting locations to say "I've been there", or "it's pretty" but to learn and understand the world around me without giving things labels have been a lifelong thrill to be able to stand and witness the universe around me, to know what the rocks under me are doing, where they are going, how the weather boils and flows over and around, to be present and aware of the reality around me, the adrenaline to be mindful through witnessing has been my thrill before I even knew how to articulate it.
Harry Potter got a door on his bedroom, my alcove with a cupboard, bed and one dream catcher did not, Lucky him! My biological family taught me the value of privacy, ability to express and pursue one's identity and common respect that everyone should
have a right to.
96' Olympics showed me on prime time television the value and reward of paying attention and focusing on long term projects and sparked a long-continuing line of hobbies, dreams and projects to give back to help others. Even if its something only your weirdly interested in like miniature origami.
Being homeless in 2014 was one of the more defining moments in my life, where I knew i was able to stand my ground of what's true, even if it costs me a relationship and career. It changed the course of what I have done since and even more driven to help others so they dont have to go through such a similar extreme.
If I Was to Impart 1 Piece of Advice:
Failure is Worth It
I make no claim to be all-knowing, but I know that I fail as much as anyone else, if you feel I have completed more than you? no. I haven't. Everyone's own experiences are relative to their own, and for me to get so much done, have to attempt even more. If I can do it, no reason you can't achieve your passions either. I have had to fight tooth and nail to get to where I am today, but the lessons and failures along the way taught me more how to care, how to help and how to love than completing anything.
Learning and expressing those lessons to me, makes it worth it.