Weekly update: 10 November 2023

Kia ora Tatou,

Hello to all of us,

This week I am down in Christchurch to be with Resource Teachers of the Deaf (RTD), Resource Teachers Vision (RTV), Advisors on Deaf Children (AoDC), Special School representatives, Deaf Aotearoa, Blind Low Vision NZ, Audiologists, Optometrists and Southern Cochlear Implant Programme (SCIP).

The purpose is:

  • To connect the professionals in sensory education in the South Island and learn about each other’s roles and areas of expertise.
  • To develop an understanding of the unique identification of Deafblindness.

My bonus is I get to spend time with Kevin, President Deafblind Association New Zealand, Ollie and Vera (Affenpinscher dogs) and Luna and Jelly (two mad cats), as well as Dave Karl, another of your Board Members.

In response to the exploration about exercise in last week’s news, Carolyn writes that it is so very important, especially after an operation or a long time in hospital, to keep exercising, work on balance, and keep your arms strong so you can support yourself. “A positive attitude heals one’s body and soul!” Carolyn, knowing you that is exactly what I would expect! 😊

Sharlene writes, “I like to attend F45 classes to feel strong and resilient.

This month for November I am a Mo Sister who is aiming to complete 60km for the month which represents 60 men lost to suicide, every hour globally.” Sharlene, you are an inspiration of how compassion is translated into proactivity! It is wonderful that we have this month to support our men folk. 😊

“Be inspired about movement!” Next week I will tell you a little about how I became a yoga teacher after losing my sight and keep your stories coming too.

In the meantime, here is a story about motivation and movement of a different kind, with a post about American Morris Frank shared by The Seeing Eye, Inc Facebook page last month:

It is thanks to Morris’s efforts that guide dog handlers are permitted the same right to travel as anyone else.

On November 5, 1927, the Saturday Evening Post published an article written by Dorothy Harrison Eustis about a dog training program she had visited in Potsdam, Germany, where dogs – called “blind leaders” – were being trained to guide blinded veterans of World War I. Dorothy, a breeder and trainer of German shepherds, was initially sceptical that dogs could be trained to guide a blind person. But she came away a believer.

After the article was published, she received numerous letters from people who were blind, asking for guide dogs. A letter from a 19-year-old college student and traveling salesman named Morris Frank stood out:

“Is what you say really true? If so, I want one of those dogs! And I am not alone. Thousands of blind like me abhor being dependent on others. Help me and I will help them. Train me and I will bring back my dog and show people here how a blind man can absolutely Be on his own.”

Dorothy, who was born in Philadelphia, was living in Switzerland at the time. She told Morris she would train a dog for him – if he could get to Switzerland.

“Mrs. Eustis,” Morris replied, “to get back my independence, I’d go to hell!”

But it was no easy task for a person who was blind to travel from the United States to Switzerland in 1928. He booked passage on a ship, not as a passenger, but as a “package.” Kept locked in his room except when escorted by a member of the crew, Morris said he felt like a prisoner.

“At ten, he exercised me as if I were a horse, methodically trotting me around the deck,” Morris wrote in First Lady of The Seeing Eye. “Then he deposited me in a steamer chair. If some friendly passenger invited me to take a stroll, we got only a few feet before my keeper ran up breathless, grasped my elbow, and steered me to my seat again where he’d keep an eye on me.”

Morris never forgot what it felt like to Be treated like cargo. “The experience angered and frustrated me and made me all the more determined to undergo any hardship to overcome dependency on others,” Morris wrote.

After being matched with Buddy and returning to the United States, Morris would spend the next 50 years not just promoting Seeing Eye dogs, but advocating for the right of a person with a guide dog to go anywhere a member of the public is allowed to go.

The article was accompanied by a black and white photo showing a smartly dressed Morris Frank about to disembark the ship with Buddy in harness.



No new events advised this week. Event reminders are below the sign-off.


Links to other newsletters

Disabled Person’s Assembly (DPA)

DPA Information Exchange: 9 November 2023

DPA Information Exchange: 3 November 2023

The D*List

Following is a link to have a browse of The D*List website or sign up to receive their weekly newsletter.

The D*List

Be Seen Be Heard Be Connected Weekly Update

Please note, access to our weekly be Seen Be Heard Be Connected emails is also available on our website via our events page, at the following link.

News and events (Deafblind Association New Zealand)

As usual, event reminders and TellMe phone numbers follow.

Ngā mihi mahana,
Warm regards,


Event reminders

Call for expressions of interest: Board Member of Deafblind Association of New Zealand Charitable Trust

Please send a curriculum vitae and covering letter stating what you could bring to a position on the Board on Deafblind Association of New Zealand Charitable Trust and how you would like to grow into this role, by Thursday 30 November. We can support your format for putting forward an expression of interest and ongoing participation in the Board. Details were provided in 6 October update.

Nationwide October – December Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) Audio Described Performances of Hansel and Gretel

Invercargill – Civic Theatre – Wednesday 15 November, 7.30pm

Dunedin – Regent Theatre – Saturday 18 November, 7.30pm

Christchurch – Isaac Theatre Royal – Saturday 25 November, 1.30pm

Auckland – Aotea Centre – Saturday 2 December, 1.30pm

Link to word document with description and booking information follows.

RNZB Hansel and Gretel (DOCX 14 KB)

Mid-Term Regional General Assembly (MRGA) of the Asia Pacific Region of the World Blind Union  in person and online from 27 to 29 November 2023 in Thailand

Details were provided in 20 October update.

Auckland Tuesday 5 and Saturday 16 December, audio described performances of The Santa Claus Show ’23 by Tim Bray, with songs by Christine White

Book online or call The PumpHouse at 09 489 8360 or visit the theatre box office. Details were provided in 3 November update.

3 November update

Wednesday 11 January at 5pm – Closing date for Oppenheim Tertiary Education Trust Fund

This financial fund is available to assist Blind Low Vision NZ clients who are enrolled in Tertiary education and in their second year or above. Students of any age and both full and partial clients can apply online via the Blind Low Vision NZ website at the following link.

Support grants (Blind Low Vision NZ)

25 to 31 May 2024, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland – International Council on English Braille 8th General Assembly

2024 Activity Deafblind International Youth Network (DbIYN)

Monday 30 September to Friday 4< October in Disneyland Paris

Expression of Interest: Please contact simon.allison@sense.org.uk.


Ongoing – Entertainment with Able

Able is a not-for-profit organisation working towards a more inclusive Aotearoa, believing everyone should be able to access news, entertainment and culture. Funded by NZ On Air, they’re Aotearoa’s leading provider of media access services, including captioning services, subtitling and audio description.

Listings are available at the following browser links.

A link to Able’s website to subscribe to the weekly newsletter with listings and picks of the week follows.



Deafblind Association New Zealand access to TellMe

See TellMe numbers for your area


End of report and this week’s update.

Amanda Stevens
Executive Officer
Taringa Turi Kāpō Rōpū
Deafblind Association New Zealand