“Toss the Boss” off Forsyth Barr

“Toss the Boss” off Forsyth Barr

He dived for our sins

On May 12th, Co-President of the National Disabled Students Association (NDSA) Sean Prentice is going to be “tossed” off Forsyth Barr Stadium to raise money for charity. Sean is “petrified of heights”, so this will be a fun one.


The irony of being “tossed” off the stadium was not lost on Sean, who said that he is doing it “for my sins, and in the spirit of brain injury awareness month”. Back in 2019, Sean sustained a major brain injury and concussion after falling 15 metres from the McKeller Mansion’s balcony at a party. Since then, Sean has become a staunch advocate for the disabled community.


Now, at just 25, Sean has taken up the role of Co-President of NDSA working in conjunction with the Uni. Sean said that having a disability is an “inseparable part” of who he is now, and the fact that he is now able to laugh and talk openly about it “reinforces to me how comfortable I am with it.”


Sean and a bunch of other “bosses” will be abseiling 35 metres from the stadium’s rafters as part of the “Toss the Boss” fundraiser to raise money for Southern Youth Development (SYD).


SYD, formerly known as the Malcam Charitable Trust, is a non-profit geared towards helping young people navigate education and work pathways. “Around 1,700 young people are going through their programmes,” said Sean. As well as their strong focus on empowering young people and creating a sense of community, the non-profit adopts a sustainable circular economy approach. Sean’s chief connection with them has been through the Te Oraka Bike Grabs, which involve “reclaiming bikes from waste and doing them up”. The “Toss the Boss'' fundraiser will contribute to outreach for such projects.


Ray O’Brien, tumuaki of the Sustainability Office, has been involved with SYD as a volunteer on their board of trustees. “Most of the board members are University employees which is a great community connection,” said Ray. “It's an amazing and longstanding local charity that focuses on supporting young people to have the best future they can.”


Sean encouraged students to support the fundraiser as well as allying themselves with the disabled community. While it’s hard to know what it’s like for our disabled whānau without actually having a disability, he said that the best way to help is to build authentic connections with people in the community.


You can find out more and donate to the fundraiser here.


This article first appeared in Issue 4, 2023.
Posted 2:14pm Sunday 19th March 2023 by Zak Rudin.