Tony began his involvement in the Deaf community when he left Sumner School for the Deaf and learnt New Zealand Sign language at the Wellington Deaf Society (Inc). Becoming President of the Society, Tony helped negotiate the purchase of the Deaf Centre in Wellington in partnership with the New Zealand Association of the Deaf (NZAD, now Deaf Aotearoa).
Tony was President of the NZAD from 2000-2003 . This was a turbulent time for the Deaf Association as they grappled with the idea of employing a CEO who was Deaf, and tight financial woes. Tony worked to sell the New Lynn building and the purchase of the current Avondale premises in Auckland. Tony lobbied for the partnership of Deaf Maori on the Council. Tony also pushed for Board meetings to be run in NZSL at a time when people used a mixture of signing and lip reading.
In 1999, Tony attended the World Federation of the Deaf Congress in Brisbane and was the first Deaf person from NZ to be elected onto the 12th WFD/Asia Pacific Executive Board. Tony presented the bid to the board for the 2nd Asia Pacific Deaf Youth Camp and won the agreement to host it in New Zealand.
Tony has always been very supportive of Deaf youth and became the first Deaf manager of Totara Residential Village at the Kelston Deaf Education Centre in 2001, encouraging and mentoring Deaf staff and students to take on increasing responsibilities and leadership roles.