Weekly update: 15 September 2023

Kia ora Tatou,

Hello to all of us,

Wiki o te Reo Māori Māori Language Week is an annual event that celebrates the culture and language of the Māori people. In 2023, Māori Language Week started on the 11th of September and runs until the 18th of September.

Whaikaha is our Ministry for Disabled People so what does Whaikaha actually translate to? From their website, this is the story of Te reo Māori part of the Whaikaha name.

The word ‘Whaikaha’ is closely associated with Maaka Tibble, a Ngāti Porou kaumatua, who has worked in the disability world for decades, including as a founding member of the Māori Disability Leadership Group.

Maaka Tibble is also blind, and in 2015 he found himself thinking that he was never comfortable with the word disability. Te reo Māori words like kāpō (blind), turi (deaf) and hauā (disabled) were also used to describe disabled people and he found all these words focused on deficiencies. This challenged him.

Maaka Tibble talks about being inspired by the words of Nelson Mandela, “how can we turn disability into ability, disharmony to harmony and disadvantage to advantage”. He also talks about the influence of Sir Mason Durie, who had coined the term ‘Whaiora’, to mean to have wellbeing.

This led Maaka Tibble to suggest ‘Whaikaha’ or ‘Tāngata Whaikaha’, which are based on disabled people’s strengths.

In 2016, as a founding member of the Māori Disability Leadership Group, Maaka Tibble is quoted saying “Tāngata Whaikaha means people who are determined to do well, or is certainly a goal that they reach for. It fits nicely with the goals and aims of people with disabilities who are determined in some way to do well and create opportunities for themselves as opposed to being labelled, as in the past.”

Over time ‘whaikaha’ has become more and more widely used, and many in the disability world now claim this enabling word to describe themselves.

Engagement was key to our process to find the reo Māori part of the Ministry’s name. Engagement included groups in the disabled community, Iwi chairs, and the wider community.

Input and ideas were discussed, including the importance of the name having meaning for the whole disabled community, being easy to pronounce, and reflecting a positive view of disability. This journey quickly led to the word ‘Whaikaha’. Maaka Tibble was happy for Whaikaha be used in the Ministry’s name – provided that it was “at the top of the letterhead”.

Our steering and governance groups enthusiastically endorsed ‘Whaikaha’ as the reo Māori part of the name, and in line with Maaka Tibble’s wish for it to be at the top of the letterhead, strongly agreed that it be the first part of the Ministry’s name.

I struggle sometimes to both hear and pronounce the double vowel sounds and I love asking for support on this so I can improve. I also miss knowing where the tohutō – macrons – are on vowels. If anyone knows how to seek them out using JAWS screen reading software I would really love to know.

I came across a little snippet I liked this morning, which is why people are welcomed with tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou repeated three times. The first is to welcome the people, the second the ancestors, and the third time to acknowledge descendants.

Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori – making the language stronger. If you’re interested in finding out more, here’s a link to the website.

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week (Kiwi Families)


Enrolling and voting in the General Election

In New Zealand you must enrol to vote if you:

  • are 18 years or older and
  • have lived in New Zealand for more than 1 year at some time in your life and
  • are a New Zealand citizen who is living in New Zealand now or are a permanent resident who is living in New Zealand now.

You can enrol to vote any time before or on election day. You can also enrol at a voting place when you go to vote.

You can vote:

  • on election day which is Saturday 14 October 2023
  • before election day from Monday 2 October 2023.

Telephone dictation voting

If you’re unable to mark your voting paper without assistance you may be able to cast a secret vote by telephone dictation.

If you’re eligible and would like to vote by telephone dictation, then you need to register before you vote.

You can register to vote by telephone dictation by calling 0800 028 028

When you call to register you will need to select option 1 to register.

You can call to register from Monday to Saturday from 9am until 7pm. Registration is open now and closes at noon Saturday 14 October.

Telephone dictation voting in the 2023 General Election starts on Wednesday 27 September and ends at 7pm on election day, Saturday 14 October.

Links to word documents with more information follows.

Telephone dictation (DOCX 144 KB)

Guide to the 2023 General Election – large print (DOCX 92 KB)


Consumer Leadership Development Grant

As shared by Mary Schnackenberg on the Blind Discuss List.

Te Pou is happy to announce that the Disability Consumer leadership development grant reopened on Friday 1 September 2023.

The Consumer leadership development grant is intended to cover the costs of disabled people or their whānau / family to take part in activities that develop leadership and encourage mana motuhake. For this grant, ‘consumer’ includes disabled people and their whānau.

The grant round closes at midday on Monday 2 October 2023.

All applications are made through the grants portal, which is accessed via the following website link.

Te Pou grants portal

For more information please contact the grants team by emailing grants@tepou.co.nz.



Disabled Artists’ Festival of Theatre 2023 – Wellington

As shared by Mary Schnackenberg on the Blind Discuss List.

D.A.F.T 2023 is presented by and showcases Wellington-based d/Deaf and Disabled performing artists, writers, and filmmakers. The Festival is being held over two weeks across two accessible venues, the ground floor of BATS Theatre and Two/FiftySeven Willis Street, as well as two online events.

As part of the festival, co-director Susan Williams (they/them) is training additional audio describers to expand the talent pool.

Here is a quick summary of the events on offer that we would love as many people from the blind and low-vision communities to attend. The workshops that do not have ‘audio description’ next to them are not audio described but we believe they are accessible for blind and low-vision people without an independent audio describer due to the experience of the facilitators.


Learn from a fellow disabled improvisor (and festival co-director!), and throw away your inhibitions, expectations, and a decent chunk of your dignity. Accessible Improv Fun. (A joyful taster for disabled and D/deaf people to try improv, play games, and connect.)


Five new Kiwi plays, written by and featuring disabled and neurodiverse folk – are you ready to step into another life?

  • 21 SEPTEMBER at 7:00pm – NZSL.
  • 22 SEPTEMBER at 7:00pm – NZSL.
  • 23 SEPTEMBER at 7:00pm – Audio Described.
  • 24 SEPTEMBER at 4:00pm – Audio Described, Relaxed Performance.


A fun no-pressure overview of everything you need to know to get a mic in your face for the first time. Learn techniques for joke-writing and delivery, where and how to get practice, and how to avoid many common mistakes new performers make.


Join award-winning Silver Noodle Soup Film and Theatre Company for a drama workshop like no other! These festival favourites create a safe and joyful space.

DAFT – PALSY IT UP 23 SEPTEMBER at 2:00am – Audio Described

If you liked ten minutes of Dave Batten last year, you’re in luck! The rest of his comedy set is HERE in full-length glory. Expect self-deprecation, social commentary, hearty guffaws, and unrestrained honesty.

SCRATCH NIGHT – 26 SEPTEMBER at 6:30pm – Audio Described

Witness a wide range of talent from individuals and groups! Check out how many art forms we can cram into one evening! Bite-sized work-in-progress, raw, unpolished new and developing pieces from local writers, dancers, makers, and creatives.


Workshop two: Techniques for disabled improvisors. (For disabled and D/deaf performers with some prior experience, who want to take their improv skills to the next level.)


Discover your drag character, create a catchy name, and bring them to life!

Learn about stage presence, song choice, incorporating your existing talents, and how to drive a crowd wild with excitement!


Join WIDance for a playful dance experience, where we will warm up to some fun tunes, create mini dances, and find new ways of moving and grooving on the dance floor.

DAFT – CHRONIC CLUB CABARET – 30 SEPTEMBER at 6:30pm – Audio Described

Celebrate the success of DAFT ’23 with MC (and festival co-director) Creatif Kate as she hosts (probably horizontally) an extravaganza of talent from all corners of the cabaret scene. Opera, burlesque, drag, and performance art like you’ve never seen before!

BODY OF WORK – 28 SEPTEMBER at 6:30pm – Audio Described

A one-woman poetry show about having a chronically ill, disabled, plus size fem body.

More information and website ticket purchases are available at the following link.

DAFT – the Disabled Artists’ Festival of Theatre 2023

You can also phone the Box Office number for BATS Theatre where the tickets are sold which is 04 802 4175.

Nelson Arts Festival 2023

Nelson Arts Festival are offering three audio described events / experiences and one pre-recorded audio described tour within the festival this year. For more information, please contact Nelson Arts Festival.

Text/Call: 027 2414599

Email: access@nelsonartsfestival.nz

The Savage Coloniser – Show

“Fierce, furious, fabulously unforgiving: from its premiere at Auckland Arts Festival comes the celebrated stage adaptation of Tusiata Avia’s unapologetic poetry collection.

Following on from the triumphant Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, and again under the artful direction of Anapela Polata’ivao, Avia’s examination of race and racism, the colonised and the coloniser, is full of bold humour, courage, and lacerating truths.”

The show contains poetry, dance, song, and beautiful design – all performed by an incredible cast of Pasifika actors. The content of this show touches on important but difficult historical societal themes such as colonisation, slavery, genocide, sexual abuse, and racism. It also contains strong language.

Important Information: Please meet in the foyer of the Theatre Royal by 6:15pm to be welcomed into the auditorium for the Touch Tour. This will run for approx. 45mins. Then once the auditorium is open to the public for the show, you will be seated and given a headset and receiver. Please note: The earpieces provided are not compatible with most hearing aids, so it is recommended that users provide their own headsets with a standard headphone jack as needed.

Date: Friday 20 October.

Time: Touch Tour begins at 6:15pm and the show begins at 8:00pm.

Where: Theatre Royal Nelson Whakatū. 78 Rutherford Street, Nelson.

Cost: Tickets to the show are Pay What You Can. There are 5 tiers of tickets you can choose from ($19.50, $39, $55.00 (recommended), $71.00 or $89 plus booking fees). Complimentary companion seats are available.

How to book: Call the NCMA on 03 548 9477 or email access@nelsonartsfestival.nz

Can I Live? – Film

The second audio described event at the festival is “Can I Live?” a film by Fehinti Balogun + Complicité. Weaving his personal story with spoken word, rap, theatre, and the scientific facts, Fehinti charts a course through the fundamental issues underpinning the emergency, and sharing how, as a young Black British man, he has found his place in the climate movement.

This film contains flashing images, strong language, depiction of violence and explores themes of racism, classism and offers a pre-recorded Audio Description via headsets.

When: Sunday 22 October.

Time: 4pm – 5pm

Where: The Suter Art Gallery, 208 Bridge Street, Nelson 7010

Cost: Tickets to the show are Pay What You Can. There are 5 tiers of tickets you can choose from ($5, $10, $15 (recommended), $20 or $25 plus booking fees). Complimentary companion seats are available.

How to book: Call the NCMA on 03 548 9477 or email access@nelsonartsfestival.nz

Visual Art and Christchurch Cathedral – Audio Described Tour

Thirdly, our final audio described event will be a described tour of two of the festival’s major visual art installations, coupled with an audio description of the Christchurch Cathedral. Lead by local Audio Describer Ang Pearson.

The first work is “In Bathing, Bask”, a playful textile installation by autistic artist Bailee Lobb. This work consists of large-scale inflatable soothing sensory bubbles. Join Bailee and Ang, for a tour of the work and an artist talk from Bailee inside one of the sculptures.

The second work is Karen Sewell’s, “Luminary”, inside the Christchurch Cathedral. “Luminary” is an exploration of the relationships between colour, light and space. This accompanied with an audio description of certain elements of the Cathedral.

When: Saturday 28 October.

Time: 2:30pm – 5:30pm

Where: Starting at Refinery ArtSpace, 114a Hardy Street, Nelson and finishing at the Christ Church Cathedral.

Cost: Free!

How to book: Call/text 027 241 4599 or email access@nelsonartsfestival.nz

Important Information: Please meet at Refinery ArtSpace by 2:30pm to be welcomed into the exhibition space. Following the afternoon tour, there is concert “Reimagining Mozart” by Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir at Christ Church Cathedral at 7:30pm. This is separate from the audio described tour, and this concert will not be audio described. However, it is an excellent opportunity to hear the music with context provided earlier in the afternoon about the visual architecture. You can find out more information about their show at the following website link. hCMNZ Series – Reimagining Mozart (Eventfinda)

Or, phone 0800 266 2378.

Sensory Self Portraits by Bailee Lobb – Pre Recorded Audio Described Tour

In addition to the live tour/artist talk on 28 October, a pre-recorded audio described tour of Baliee’s works will be made available via headsets. Enter a breath-taking world of colour, filled with large-scale soothing sensory bubbles. This playful textile installation by autistic artist Bailee Lobb explores the pursuit of self-regulation and sensory supports. Works from “In Bathing, Bask” sit alongside a new performance-installation “How Do You Sleep At Night?”, in which Bailee will sleep in the gallery after selecting items to match her current sensory needs.

When: Headsets are available at the gallery and can be accessed whenever the gallery is open from Friday 20 until Saturday 28 October.

Times: The gallery hours are Tuesday to Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 10am-2pm.

Where: Refinery ArtSpace, 114a Hardy Street, Nelson

Cost: Free!

For more information: Call/text 027 241 4599 or email access@nelsonartsfestival.nz.


Announcement of 2024 Activity Deafblind International Youth Network (DbIYN)

When: Monday 30th September to Friday 4th October

Where: Disneyland Paris

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


Two messages from The World Federation of Deafblind Communications Team

1. Consultancy Assistive Tech

The International Disability Alliance (IDA), in partnership with ATScale (the Global Partnership for Assistive Technology), is currently looking for 18 consultants to provide independent advice on issues and documents such as those pertaining to ATscale’s priority setting, annual workplan, country engagements and any global goods and products with respect to the strategic value and potential impact, programmatic merit, drawing on the scientific and technical expertise and/or lived experience of use of AT of its members.

Consultants are expected to work between one to five days in total, from date of contracting until June 2024. The consultants will be asked to track their working hours and will be reimbursed based on hours worked. The application deadline is 10 October 2023.

To learn more, visit the following website.

IDA website

2. Request for Assistance: Developing a Communication Solution for Deafblind Individuals

Sent by The World Federation of Deafblind Communications Team

Dear WFDB network,

I trust this email finds you well.

We have received a request from a young man who is a student in a school in the UK. Currently, he is working on a coursework for one of his subjects (GCSE Design and Technology). He is interested in learning more about the communication challenges faced by individuals with deafblindness and is eager to explore and develop a solution for these issues.

He has contacted WFDB because he has asked for at least one person with deafblindness to complete a survey he has prepared and would like to have a direct contact with him/her. If you are interested in collaborating with this student on a voluntary basis, please reply to this email so we can connect you directly with him. You will find the survey below and we also share his message.

“Hello. I am working on a coursework at school to assist people who are deafblind. I have a quick survey with simple questions about the challenges you face in your daily life. Your input will greatly help us create helpful solutions. Please take a moment to fill out the form via the following link. Thank you!”

Design and technology research survey (Microsoft Office Forms)

I would appreciate it if I could receive just 1 response and it would be highly beneficial if I could have direct contact with the client. Thank you for your invaluable assistance!”


Links to other newsletters

DPA Information Exchange: 10 September (Mailchimp)

The D*List Delivered: Friday 1 September (Substack)

Please note, access to our weekly emails and other updates and news are also available on our website via our news and 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,
Amanda and Sarah


Event reminders

Oppenheim Tertiary Education Trust Fund

Applications for those studying in 2024 opened on 18 September 2023. The closing date is Wednesday 11 January at 5pm. 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)

NZ Opera and Black Grace Dance Company (m) Orpheus – Audio Described Performance – Wellington Saturday 23 September

Details were provided in 26 August update. To book, please call our NZ Opera Box Office Manager, Julie Bird, on 0800 696 737

26 August update

Audio described My Fair Lady in Christchurch

Sunday 24 September at Isaac Theatre Royal, 145 Gloucester Street. Touch tour time: 2pm, performance time: 4pm. Details were provided in 1 September update. To book: phone Isaac Theatre Royal Ticketek Box Office: 03 260 5260 Open Tuesday – Friday and quote the password AUDIO

1 September update

2023 General Election

Voting starts on Monday 2 October and finishes at 7pm on election day, Saturday 14 October. Information about enrolling in alternate formats is available through our website via the following link.

2023 general election

Research about disabled people’s experiences of supports and services in Aotearoa New Zealand

Information about the Donald Beasley Institute’s (DBI) Disabled Person-Led Monitoring research team questionnaire is available at the following link.

Disabled Person-Led Monitoring of the UNCRPD (Donald Beasley Institute)

Details were provided in 18 August update.

18 August update

Blindness and Mental Health Webinar

Friday, September 29 at 12:00pm ET, which is 5:00am on Saturday, September 30 local time. Discussion on mental health in the blind and low vision community. Details were provided in 18 August update.

Tim Bray Theatre Company Audio Described performances of Roald Dahl’s The Twits – PumpHouse Theatre, Takapuna on Tuesday 19 September and Saturday 7 October. 1pm show, 12pm touch tour and at Māngere Arts Centre, Māngere: Wednesday 18 October, 10:30am show, 9:30am touch tour. The show is 50-60 minutes long, designed for ages 5-10.

Details provided in 5 August update.

5 August update

19-20 October 2023, Tauranga Arts Festival – The Haka Party Incident Audio Described Performance at Baycourt Community and Arts Centre. Details and booking arrangements were provided in 19 June update.

19 June update

The Haka Party Incident Audio Described Performance Court Theatre Otautahi Christchurch. Show runs 25 October – 11 November 2023. Further details to come.

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

  • 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

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


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

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