Dave Karl

Jess sitting on Dave's knee. Dave has his mouth near her ear talking to her.

I joined the Board in December 2021, and am excited to be part of the next stage of Deafblind Association New Zealand and to learn from the huge wealth of experience on the Board and within the wider organisation.

My entrance to the deafblind community is unique on the Board. Our eldest daughter, Jess (also known as the best person ever but I’m biased) was born deafblind, resulting from the rare metabolic disorder Peroxisomal Biogenesis Disorder.

Our journey to help give Jess the best support and life possible has taken us from Wellington to Australia and then back. It was several years before we met any other kids similar to our Jess or professionals who had experience with kids like Jess.

Our journey has highlighted the rareness of and unique challenges facing those with congenital (evident from birth birth) deafblindness, and the big differences between congenital and acquired deafblindness.

My aspirations for Deafblind Association New Zealand include helping deafblind kids and their whanau connect, and advocating to ensure Aotearoa New Zealand supports deafblind kids and their whanau (as well as those with more severe dual sensory loss and additional disabilities) to achieve all that they possibly can and living their best lives.

I am very privileged to spend lots of time with my kids going on beach, bush and playground adventures. We go on many cargo ebike adventures, and I also love riding with the deafblind and wider disability community, including our fantastic Executive Officer Amanda.

When not enjoying time with my whanau, I work in environmental policy in Wellington.