August 14, 1999 - this was the last day Dan Buckingham could walk. He was 18 years old and a first year Otago Uni student when he put his head in the wrong place in a scrum during a game of club rugby and broke his neck.
Dan uses a wheelchair, but he is a far cry from the cliché inspirational speaker who lives with disability. His speaking comes with messages, and presents a raw, real look at a life well lived, where plenty of lessons have been learned along the way. Dan is a speaker for a robust crowd, a crowd who likes to think deeper than what’s on the surface.
Dan speaks openly about breaking his neck, including what it was like for him and his family, and what it has meant since. He also talks about the road to Athens representing New Zealand in wheelchair rugby with the Wheel Blacks in 2004 where they won GOLD.
Dan has a career in television that has included presenting in a range of places from the rainforests of Papua New Guinea, to the tough sights of quake-stricken Christchurch. Dan is now General Manager of the television production company Attitude Pictures, which focuses on diversity. Still fronting the camera from time to time, Dan was the lead presenter for TVNZ's coverage of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
In 2017, after retiring from wheelchair rugby, Dan decided to fill the void by fundraising for research into spinal cord injury by completing the New York marathon. It turns out he was quite good at this discipline, and in 2018 he broke the New Zealand record for the half marathon. He continues to train and race.
He has sat on a number of boards, and currently holds the positions of Chair of The Attitude Trust and Deputy Chair of Auckland Council's Disability Advisory Panel.
Dan is a magnetic speaker for all the right reasons, he is a speaker with substance, he has the ability to capture and engage an audience ... leading them to think differently.
- Olympics & Paralympics