Weekly update: 17 February 2023

From this week, we’ll be posting our weekly email update here too. If you’d like to sign up for the emails, please contact us.

Kia ora Tatou,

Hello to all of us,

In all of the worst of what the natural world is throwing at some of us at the moment please know the Board, Sarah, and myself are concerned for you and our thoughts are with you as we encourage you to reach out to us if we can help in any way. Our number is 0800 450 650 and email info@deafblindassociation.nz.

We just hope you have access to at least one of those communication options right now.

You may know that Deafblind Association NZ are members of the Pacific Disability Forum. 27 February – 5 March is the 7th Pacific Regional Conference on Disability. Representatives are expected from American Samoa, Australia, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu as well as Wallis and Futuna.

This is a pan-disability event.

Australia do a lot in the deafblind space however there is no indication that they are sending a representative for our unique disability and none of the other nations have organisations dedicated specifically to deafblindness. Aotearoa New Zealand therefore will be the only representation for deafblind. As such, I would be delighted if you would like to send a message and I will deliver it on your behalf. This might be especially important for you if another Island Nation is your home of origin.

Please send any messages by Friday, 24 February, 5pm. While we carry all of your voices with us in whatever we do, it is very real to have your words directly. It means so much and often offers encouragement to others. I was so pleased when we heard from the President of The World Federation of the Deafblind at our seminar and just as delighted to have a message from Latoa Halatau, Co-chair of Pacific Disability Forum Board. We have been seen and heard so let’s reach back and connect in return. It need only be a sentence or two so, please, take to your keyboards!


International Cochlear Implant Day

International Cochlear Implant Day on Saturday 25 February helps raise awareness about implants and how they support social connectedness and communication for those who are profoundly deaf.

Loud Shirt Day was going to be held on Friday 24 February as New Zealand’s fundraising campaign recognising International Cochlear Implant Day, however due to the national state of emergency and the Cyclone Gabrielle recovery efforts the decision has been made to postpone Loud Shirt Day 2023 until later in the year.


Dedicated disability line

LJ Apaipo from Health Quality and Safety Commission has passed on the following message.

“Whakarongorau Aotearoa is a dedicated Disability Helpline that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to support deaf, disabled people and whānau. Call 0800 11 12 13 or text 8988.

“You can also access this helpline using the NZ Relay Service using the following website link: www.nzrelay.co.nz.

“They can help with:

  • connecting you to support and information about the recent severe weather and flooding
  • if a support worker/carer is unavailable or hasn’t arrived
  • any general health concerns you have.

“Meitaki Ngao e Kia Manuia
“Consumer engagement advisor, Pacific | Kaitohutohu Pacifica – mahi kiritaki”


Various nomination opportunities

Pauline Melham, Whaikaha | Ministry of Disabled People Senior Advisor in Policy Strategy and Partnership has provided the following information about a number of opportunities available. The content of her email follows.

Kia ora Everyone,

I know this is a very difficult time for many of you right now, with the recent flooding in various parts of the North Island, being closely followed by Cyclone Gabrielle. First and foremost, I hope you and your whānau are safe and well. If you have been affected by the terrible weather, then I hope you are getting the support that you need. If you need help, the Civil Defence website is a good place to start.


For those of you who have the headspace to think about future board opportunities, below is some information about some upcoming opportunities that you might be interested in.

Regional skills Leadership Groups (MBIE)

The first one is from MBIE and is about serving on one of the country’s Regional Skills Leadership Groups. Fourteen of the fifteen groups will be looking for new members from June 2023 onwards. More information will be released on February 20th, but we’ve been asked to let people know about this opportunity in advance. The groups are either looking for co-chairs or ordinary members and here are some of the attributes they are looking for.

Each RSLG will have varying skills needs, but the Groups are broadly looking for regional leaders across the following areas:

  • demand – industry figures and employers
  • supply – community leaders, workers, and union representatives
  • local government representatives
  • regional diversity – individuals who represent the diversity of voices across each region.

I’ll provide more information once I have it available.

Manatū Hauora Responsible Authorities

I know many of you will be interested in these positions. Manatū Hauora are looking for a range of professionals and laypersons to sit on several responsible authorities. Please see the information below. I suggest the best way of dealing with these opportunities is for you to e mail me with your CV and covering letter, as well as the attached form, if you are interested and I will put your names forward. I need to get the names to Manatū Hauora by 23rd February, so if I can have your rxpression of interest and other documents by 22nd February that would be helpful. I do have CVs for a number of you already, so please feel free to ask me if I’ve already got yours, before you go and send me another one.

Manatū Hauora wishes to invite you to submit nominations for health practitioner and layperson candidates for a range of Responsible Authorities under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. The purpose of Responsible Authorities is to protect the health and safety of members of the public by ensuring that health practitioners are fit and competence to practise.

Further information about the roles and each Responsible Authority can be found in the advertisements linked below.

Manatū Hauora encourages people from all backgrounds, especially those who can reflect the needs, values, and beliefs of Māori and Pacific people, and have an understanding of, and are committed to meeting the obligations of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Candidates will need to provide:

  • a current CV
  • cover letter
  • completed declaration form, available for downloading as a word document at the following link.

Manatū Hauora Appointments Declaration/Consent Form

Consumer New Zealand

This is not something that has come through one of the government agencies, but a member of our database sent this to me and I thought some of you may be interested in these roles, so I’m posting some information below.

Are you, or someone you know, interested in being on the Consumer NZ Board?

We are looking for nominees with:

  1. a concern for and knowledge of consumer protection issues, and the welfare of consumers;
  2. no conflict with Consumer’s aims and objectives; and
  3. experience in or understanding of governance as a board member.

Board members are paid a modest fee and meet seven times a year, split between Wellington and via remote links. Meetings are usually held on the last Friday of the month. For the 2023 year, we have three vacancies.

The nomination forms can be submitted via our website from January and must reach us by Friday 17 March.

Check out the following website for further information.

2023 board nominations now open – Consumer NZ

That’s all the opportunities at the moment. I look forward to hearing from you, if you are interested in any of them.

Stay safe, stay well, be kind.
Kind Regards
Pauline Melham


Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission January newsletter

The following newsletter contains a number of links under several headings.

Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission extends aroha to everyone affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. The impact is massive and the effects will be ongoing. Links follow for information about financial support, renters rights, for disabled people, and for community assistance.

If you think you are facing discrimination the Commission can be contacted on our call-back service on 0800 496 877 or email infoline@hrc.co.nz.

TXT: 0210 236 4253

People with hearing or speech impairments can contact the Commission through the Relay service, and we can also access language interpreters.


Recognising tino rangatiratanga key to national plan to end racism

Establishing a Truth, Reconciliation and Justice Commission and recognising Māori tino rangatiratanga are among several recommendations in two pivotal reports released by Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission.

The recommendations are in Ki te whaiao, ki te ao Mārama, (PDF 15.6 MB) a community engagement report for developing a National Action Plan Against Racism (NAPAR) andMaranga Mai! (PDF 17.5 MB), a report into the dynamics and impacts of colonisation, racism and white supremacy upon tangata whenua. Both reports call for Government to commit to constitutional transformation and co-governance with tangata whenua – as outlined by the separate Matike Mai Aotearoa and He Puapua reports.

“We all have the right to be treated fairly and to be free from racial discrimination. The institutional and inter-personal racism occurring daily in our society represents a clear breach of human and indigenous rights,” said Kaikōmihana Whakawhanaungatanga ā Iwi Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon.

Meg de Ronde appointed Chief Executive of Te Kāhui Tika Tangata

Experienced non-profit and human rights director Meg de Ronde is to take up the position of Tatau-Uruora (kāwanatanga leader/Chief Executive) in April, reporting to Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt.She is currently an Interim Regional Director for Amnesty International in the Asia Pacific region, leading a team that supports the human rights work for 19 countries.

New report offers Te Ao Māori lens on housing

Innovative Te Ao Māori measures to hold Government and the housing sector to account over housing are outlined by the Commission.

“We are suffering from a housing crisis made worse by a profound lack of accountability structures,” says Te Amokapua Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt.

The Commission’s inquiry into the right to a decent home identified the need for accountability and the Discussion Paper: Understanding Accountability for Māori, for the first time, provided options to do that through a Te Ao Māori lens.

An estimated 100,000 or more people in Aotearoa New Zealand are experiencing homelessness. It is a problem most significantly experienced by Tangata Whenua, reflecting the nation’s painful past where the colonial government, beginning in the 1860s systematically stripped Māori of traditional land and home ownership,” said Hunt.

The Commission’s acting Pou Ārahi, Manawa Pomare, says the report explores how accountability can be strengthened, Te Tiriti o Waitangi upheld, and housing outcomes for Māori improved with a system based on tikanga Māori.

The report explores three possible models for accountability: a Māori housing authority, an independently appointed kāhui (cluster) and a mutual accountability system mechanism between Tangata Whenua and the Crown.

Scrapped hate speech laws a failure to listen to the Royal Commission

Dropping harmful speech legislation leaves religious communities vulnerable and is a failure to listen to the Royal Commission, says the Commission.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced the amendment to protect religious groups from hatred-inciting speech would instead be referred to the Law Commission.

“This is a failure of the Government to act on a key recommendation of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain on 15 March 2019,” said Te Amokapua Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt.

“When we should have been coming together as a society to do all we can to ensure such horrific acts of terror never happen again, the Government has instead given way to often mis-informed and opportunistic political debate.”

In November last year other groups vulnerable to harmful speech, such as women, disabled people and the rainbow community, were excluded from the proposed legislation.

New guide to help health professionals deliver rights to healthcare and health protection

A new resource (PDF 1.9 MB) to help health professionals better understand the human rights to healthcare and health protection has been published by the Commission.

“The rights to healthcare and health protection are tools that can help health professionals achieve their professional goals and better health outcomes for all,” said Te Amokapua Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt.

The Commission engaged with health professionals throughout the development of the short guide.

“We heard that there is a real gap in understanding within the health sector around what these human rights mean and how to deliver them,” said Hunt. It was also an opportunity to embed key human rights into the new health system.

Emergency housing human rights concerns taken to the United Nations

Experiences of children and young people in emergency housing were shared ahead of New Zealand’s review under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in Geneva.

“The government must be accountable for its emergency housing system. We’ve heard too many stories of children traumatised by emergency housing,” says Te Amokapua Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt.

“Emergency housing should provide a safe place for children. It must meet their human right to a decent home, grounded on Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It must be consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

In December 2022, the Commission released its review of the emergency housing system, which found significant breaches of human rights. The review highlighted the stress that children and young people have experienced in emergency housing.

New Commission website

The Commission has gone live with a new website designed to be more accessible, mobile-friendly, audience-focused and functional and to reflect the Commission’s journey towards being a Tiriti-based organisation.

Te Amokapua Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt said, “Information about our complaints and support services, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and human rights, has to be easy to find, especially for people in immediate need.”

The emphasis on Tiriti o Waitangi is evident in the move to a new url – tikatangata.org.nz.

Commission Kaitahutahu Hemi Pirihi worked on the project from beginning to end and helped ensure te ao Māori was at its centre. “The use of our korowai logo is central to the design, and a small part of a much wider alignment with the key communities we serve,” he said.

The website provides information about Commissioners’ key projects, the workings of the Commission, and resources to learn about Te Tiriti and human rights.

End of Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission January newsletter.


Health & Disability Commissioner Te Toihau Hauora, Hauātanga

The following is a website link to Health & Disability Code and Your rights in different languages:


Disability Connect information and activities

Disability Connect is a Disability Information Advisory Service based in Penrose and operating throughout Auckland – north to Warkworth and south to Bombay.

There are lots of ways we can help individuals with a disability, or family members of a disabled person, to navigate the New Zealand disability sector.

There is a lot happening in our community this month. We would love to have you come to a support group or seminar. Registration is easy and if cost is prohibitive, please let us know.

Dance Therapy – Parent Support Group

Wednesday 1st March 6 – 8pm
Disability Connect, 3b Olive Road, Penrose, Auckland
Fee: free for parents/whānau, $50 for sector professionals

Education Legal Issues – Zoom

Thursday 2nd March 11:30am – 2pm
Zoom details sent on registration
Fee: $20* for parents/whānau, $50 for sector professionals

Work and Income support – Zoom

Thursday 16 March 6:30 – 8pm
Zoom details sent on registration
Fee: $20* for parents/whānau, $50 for sector professionals

Payment options will be sent via email when booking.

*Please do not hesitate to contact us if the fee is a barrier to attending. We are determined that cost will not be a barrier to families attending these popular and valuable seminars.

Phone or email Disability Connect at:
09 636 0351

A link to the Disability Connect website follows: https://disabilityconnect.org.nz/.

As usual, event reminders and TellMe access numbers are listed below the sign-off. A repeat of the census information and the links to Able TV captioning are included.

Ngā mihi mahana,
Warm regards,


Event reminders

Tuesday 21 February from 1 – 4 pm: DPA Christchurch and Enabling Good Lives Ōtautahi Employment Forum

Census Day is Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Sydney, Sunday, 7 May – Tuesday, 9 May 2023 Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities In Person Conference

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 to 25 February are available at the following browser links:

A link to Able website to subscribe to the weekly newsletter with listings and picks of the week follows: https://able.co.nz/#.


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