Weekly update: 13 October 2023

Kia ora Tatou,

Hello to All of Us,

Honouring Brian Peel

I came to know Brian after he had retired from his role as Guide Dog Instructor with Blind Low Vision NZ and I had returned from the UK. We would meet along the estuary while I walked Clover and he was walking his little dog, Fred. Brian could look at a Labrador and know what it was thinking before it did, or whether it was simply in Labrador-Land and not thinking at all! Brian and my Peter would often meet on transfusion days in latter times and we called it the Friday Club and they had the opportunity to commune man to man. I will remember Brian as a man of pragmatism and huge compassion.

In 2012 Brian published a book “Blind Courage: reflections of a guide dog instructor in England, Australia and New Zealand”. On the CopyPress website there is a review of Brian’s book by Don McKenzie, Past Chairman, Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind (and now also past Board Member of Deafblind Association of New Zealand Charitable Trust). Here’s what Don had to say: “Blind Courage is a ‘must read’ for anyone working in the field of mobility of the blind, or for people wanting to know more about the magical relationship between a blind handler and their guide dog; a relationship that is generally not well understood.

Brian Peel has written a series of heart-warming, sometimes salutary tales based on the real life experiences of a consummate professional and natural story-teller. The colourful vignettes and commentaries that make up this book are full of compassion, humour and sensitivity. Such stories can only come from many years of astute observation of the human condition in its endless variety; a mastery of dog behaviour and an insatiable drive that enables blind people to live to their full capacities.

It is rare for a professional worker in the field of blindness who understands the art and science of getting about as a blind person to record their experiences. It is even more rare for that narrative to reveal the x-factors behind a successful guide dog, blind handler team – love, acceptance and a desire to get on with life.

Blind Courage is a valuable contribution to the literature on blindness rehabilitation. May it be a legacy to future rehabilitationists and guide dog handlers.”

And here is Rick Hoskin’s acknowledgement of Brian, who passed on Thursday 5 October: “Brian arrived in New Zealand from Melbourne in late 1970, having previously come from British Guide dogs in the U.K.

He took on the task of reopening the Adult Rehabilitation Unit at Homai at the beginning of 1971. The Unit is a place which many may be familiar with, as later the building served other purposes for RNZFB.

As I had just gone blind in October of that year, I was in the fortunate position of having Brian one on one for two months. He was an inspiration to a newly blinded 17-year-old, and I can fairly attribute many of my successes throughout the last fifty years to his coaching and instruction.

We acknowledge your legacy Brian, with gratitude.


Deafblind Peer to Peer Support

Lower Hutt/Wellington

Lower Hutt/Wellington are due to meet on Saturday, 28 October for lunch at Laura Fergusson Trust. Thank you Phil for organising this! We will meet for lunch, which will be paid for by Deafblind Association NZ. Transport will also be organised by us and paid for so do please let us know if you want to attend. We welcome people from Wellington and the Lower Hutt surrounds. We will finish by 2pm. We have tried to take all challenges into account however if you need any other support, including interpreters, we are happy to hear from you. Just respond to this email and it will come direct into my inbox, or call or text 0272 450 650.

It will be lovely to connect with you face to face for this inaugural and informal gathering.

Nelson Deafblind Peer to Peer Support

We continue to meet regularly at my house for a shared lunch and conversation about deafblind issues on the second Tuesday of each month. Once again, please contact me if you are in the Nelson area and we will arrange transport where you need it.

New Plymouth Deafblind Peer to Peer Support

This group also meets monthly, with the organisation shared between the various participants.

Auckland Deafblind Networks Peer to Peer Support

Feedback from the last gathering indicated a lot of people are not available on week days. If you are interested in leading a group, and we definitely need at least one North Shore and one South Auckland group, please contact me and we will get the ball up and rolling again. Remember there are Blind Low Vision NZ offices available to us however you may find somewhere that offers other stimulation. All can easily be negotiated and made workable.


We would love to see groups getting together in this area with the support of Hamish Fyfe, Blind Low Vision NZ Community & Volunteer Coordinator. Please let us know if you are interested.

I’ll be working around other areas in the coming weeks to make sure we leave no one behind. Once again please grab your leadership potential and contact us!


Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind new date for Chair’s Award nominations

Message from Clive Lansink follows.

I am writing to inform you that the date for nominating candidates for the Chair’s Award 2023 has been extended to 22 October.

The award is designed to honour a blind, deafblind or low vision client who has demonstrated an outstanding level of achievement in any field of endeavours.

The award will be presented at the Annual General Meeting of the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind to be held on Saturday 11 November 2023, in Christchurch. The Chairman’s Award includes a trophy that the recipient will hold for one year, a cheque for the sum of $500.00 and a framed certificate as tokens of recognition.

Please submit your nominations to the Board Secretary no later than the end of Sunday 22 October 2023. Please provide full background in support of the nomination. You can nominate persons who may have been nominated previously but were unsuccessful.

Email: boardsecretary@blindlowvision.org.nz

Phone: 0800 24 33 33

Yours sincerely,
Clive Lansink
RNZFB Board Chair


World Sight Day

Yesterday was World Sight Day. Below you will find a link to a new free app from World Health Organisation that provides a way for people to check their vision at home. Please pass it on to everyone you can think of. This also reminds me of what John Billings told us at Seminar earlier this year, that even if we are totally blind it is still very important to have our eyes checked regularly for signs of tumour and integrity of the surface of the eyes.

WHOeyes is available for both the iOS and Android mobile operating systems and is compatible with mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. The app is available in 6 United Nations languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Link to WHO website to download WHOeyes app

Check your vision with the WHOeyes app (WHO)



Message from Garry Adler via BCA Member Update

Kia ora all

Next Tuesday October 17th at 9: 30pm, I’m conducting an interview with Francois Jacobs regarding his “Journey to Employment.”

The interview will be for about 30 minutes with questions to follow.

Please zoom in if you are interested (details below).

Journey to Employment Group

Tuesday, 17th October at 7:30pm AEDT (9:30pm NZST).

Join Garry Adler in this session as he interviews Francois Jacobs, director on BCA’s Board, where Francois shares his journey to employment. The Journey to Employment group, is your go-to destination for insightful discussions and valuable tips on finding your path to professional success. Whether you’re a recent graduate embarking on your career journey or a professional looking to pivot, this group is here to support. Join in exploring various employment paths, uncovering hidden opportunities, and sharing ideas on the art of job hunting.

  • Join via Zoom
  • Join by phone by dialling 03 7018 2005 using Meeting ID: 883 1617 8319.
  • Passcode: 168945

World Mental Health Day 2023

Although World Mental Health Day 2023 was on October 10, it is still an opportunity for people and communities to unite behind the theme ‘Mental health is a universal human right’ to improve knowledge, raise awareness and drive actions that promote and protect everyone’s mental health as a universal human right.

Mental health is a basic human right for all people. Everyone, whoever and wherever they are, has a right to the highest attainable standard of mental health. This includes the right to be protected from mental health risks, the right to available, accessible, acceptable, and good quality care, and the right to liberty, independence and inclusion in the community.

Good mental health is vital to our overall health and well-being. Yet one in eight people globally are living with mental health conditions, which can impact their physical health, their well-being, how they connect with others, and their livelihoods. Mental health conditions are also affecting an increasing number of adolescents and young people.

Having a mental health condition should never be a reason to deprive a person of their human rights or to exclude them from decisions about their own health. Yet all over the world, people with mental health conditions continue to experience a wide range of human rights violations. Many are excluded from community life and discriminated against, while many more cannot access the mental health care they need or can only access care that violates their human rights.

WHO continues to work with its partners to ensure mental health is valued, promoted, and protected, and that urgent action is taken so that everyone can exercise their human rights and access the quality mental health care they need. Join the World Mental Health Day 2023 campaign to learn more about your basic right to mental health as well as how to protect the rights of others.

Link to WHO website for more information

World Mental Health Day 2023 (WHO)

White Cane Day Sunday, 15 October 2023

From Wikipedia: “White Cane Safety Day is a national observance in the United States, celebrated on October 15 of each year since 1964. The date is set aside to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired and the important symbol of blindness and tool of independence, the white cane.

On October 6, 1964, a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress was signed into law. This resolution authorized the President of the United States to proclaim October 15 of each year as “White Cane Safety Day”.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the first White Cane Safety Day proclamation within hours of the passage of the joint resolution.

In 2011, White Cane Safety Day was also named Blind Americans Equality Day by President Barack Obama.”

In New Zealand this day is also known as White Cane Awareness Day.

Audio described events in Aoteaora

In our event reminders below the sign-off we note the Nelson and Tauranga Art Festivals and The Haka Party Incident in Christchurch, all later this month, as well as the Royal New Zealand Ballet tour of Hansel and Gretel starting on 28 October. These are all events we have previously provided information about.

Some items from Audio Described Aotearoa that we have not previously advised are below.

Auckland – Parnell Festival of Roses on Sunday 5 November

More information on the festival of roses


  • Rotorua – Wednesday 18 October 7pm (Touch Tour 6pm) Sir Howard Morrison Centre
  • Tauranga – Wednesday 25 October 6.30pm (Tour Tour 5.30pm) Addison Theatre – Baycourt Community Arts Centre, 6.30pm
  • Napier/Hastings – Saturday 28 October 7pm (Touch Tour 6pm) Opera House, Toitoi Hawke’s Bay Arts & Events Centre

The world of Oceania is not small. From the energetic volcanoes of O’ahu to the southern reaches of Aotearoa, she is borderless and vast – and growing bigger by the day. After decades of dismissal and disconnection, her children are closer than ever. It’s time for a reunion.

In Samoan “upu” means “word”.

Curated by award-winning poet Grace Iwashita-Taylor and led by powerhouse director Fasitua Amosa, UPU gives the stage to Oceania’s most electrifying poetry. Ben Brown, Karlo Mila, Albert Wendt and more: UPU is for the trailblazers, the icons and the new writers transforming Aotearoa today.

In UPU, borders disappear and for just over an hour, the theatre becomes a sea of Islands. be transported across an ocean to hear the voices dealing with colonisation, family, climate change, love, sex, religion, power and tourists.

Performed by a stellar cast of some of the best Tagata Moana actors in Aotearoa NZ – Maiava Nathaniel Lees, Mia Blake, Ana Corbett, Shadon Meredith, James Maeva, Nicola Kāwana and Nora Aati. The performance duration is 60 minutes.

Details and booking information are available from Nicola Owen audiodescribedaotearoa@gmail.com, or by replying to this email.


Links to other newsletters

DPA Information Exchange: 9 October 2023

Whaikaha Ministry of Disabled People Community Update October 2023

Main highlights: Office for Disability Issues now part of Whaikaha; United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) update; Funding secured to extend the Enabling Good Lives approach.

Ways to access this update below.

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.

6 October update

Wednesday 18 October RNZFB Board Meeting via Zoom from 6:00-9:00pm

For those members who wish to observe, please let the Board Secretary (Diana Chandler) know by emailing boardsecretary@blindlowvision.org.nz or calling the Contact Centre on 0800 24 33 33. Details were provided in 29 September update.

29 September update

Nelson Arts Festival 19 – 29 Oct 2023

Nelson Arts Festival are offering three audio described events / experiences and one pre-recorded audio described tour within the festival this year. Details were provided in 15 September update. For more information:

Text/Call: 027 241 4599

Email: access@nelsonartsfestival.nz

Website: Nelson Arts Festival

15 September update

Tauranga Arts Festival 19 – 29 October 2023

A link to a word document with information from Audio Described Aotearoa follows.

Tauranga Arts Festival Audio Description (DOCX 482 KB)

Tauranga Arts Festival website

Auckland – Tim Bray Theatre Company Audio Described performances of Roald Dahl’s The Twits Wednesday 18 October, 10:30am show, 9:30am touch tour. Māngere Arts Centre, Māngere: The show is 50-60 minutes long, designed for ages 5-10.

Details provided in 5 August update.

5 August update

Christchurch Saturday 28 October – Court Theatre Audio Described Performance – The Haka Party Incident audio described performance 2pm and touch tour. Please contact the Box Office on 03 963 0870 directly to book. Details were provided in 29 September update.

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

  • Wellington – St James Theatre – Saturday 28 October, 1.30pm.
  • Napier – Municipal Theatre – Saturday 4 November, 7.30pm.
  • Palmerston North – Regent on Broadway – Friday 10 November, 7.30pm.
  • 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.

Details were provided in 1 September update.

1 September update

RNZFB Annual Meeting

Saturday 11 November in Christchurch

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

1 thought on “Weekly update: 13 October 2023”

  1. Pingback: Weekly update: 20 October 2023 – Deafblind Association NZ

Comments are closed.