Don McKenzie

Don McKenzie is a retired physiotherapist with 40 years’ experience in running his own private practice, including 5 years serving in the public hospital sector.  He was an elected member of the Waiheke Local Board.

Having been a physiotherapist, Don is trained in the biological, behavioural, and rehabilitation sciences. As a result of his lived experience, he understands the personal and societal impact of disability and the benefits that accrue from inclusive community design and accommodating “can do” attitudes.  Good design helps everyone!

Don Mckenzie and his guid dog, a yellow Labrador named Holly, stand in front of a Massey university sign. Don is wearing a medal around his neck. Holly is sitting bolt upright as if she expects a medal of her own.
Don McKenzie and his guide dog Holly receiving a Distinguished Alumni award, Massey University, 2014

As a blind person since childhood and now moderately deaf, Don has for years been involved in raising the public awareness of people with disabilities, their needs, and the contribution they can make given reasonable accommodation.

In recognition of his lifelong commitment to the field of disability, he gained entry into the TV1 Attitude Hall of Fame in 2010 and was awarded the Companion New Zealand Order of Merit in 2014. He received a Distinguished Alumni award, Massey University, 2014 and the Augusta award, Auckland Grammar Old Boys Association, 2017.

“Thirty-eight years on statutory and not-for-profit boards in the health, disability and special education arenas has taught me that success comes with a sense of clear purpose, teamwork, the ability to listen, the right mix of service providers and users and an understanding of the facts”.

Snapshot of experience on governing boards and bodies:

  • Rotary Club of Waiheke, President, one and a half years Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, Board of Directors, 28 years, 18 as Chair
  • Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand (Homai College for the Blind), Trustee, 8 years
  • Ministerial appointment, Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand, 5 years
  • Ministerial appointee to the Advisory Council for the Community Welfare of Disabled Persons, (Disestablished 1988), 6 years
  • National Executive, International Year of Disabled Persons, IYDP, 1981, 1 year
  • Founder member and Vice President, Disabled Persons Assembly, 3 years
  • New Zealand’s delegate to the inaugural meeting of Disabled Peoples International, Singapore, 1981
  • Advisory Committee on Disability Support Services, Ministry of Health, 2 years
  • National Health Committee Advisory Group on Care of People Who Are Dying, 3 years
  • National Executive, New Zealand Rehabilitation Association, 10 years
  • President, New Zealand Private Physiotherapists Association, 7 years
  • Council member, New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists, 8 years
  • President, New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists, Auckland Branch, 3 years