Weekly update: 23 July 2023

Kia ora Tatou,

An introductory note from Sarah: Amanda prepared content for this update to be sent on Friday but I did not manage to do this and am now hoping that Amanda has now arrived safely arrived in Ottawa, the very early hours of Sunday morning local time.

Tomorrow I leave for Ottawa to attend the Deafblind International Quadrennial Conference. I will be keeping connected to my email so please send through any questions and I will endeavour to get answers for you. This conference is for you and about our issues so please take every opportunity to be Seen be Heard and be Connected!

Exciting things are a foot-ball! Yes, it is possible to cringe at one’s own puns. Please see below for details on how to connect with Audio Description about this event which demonstrates women at the top of their game.


Your feedback requested on E-scooter (Declaration not to be motor vehicles) Notice 2018

A message from Dr Chris Teo-Sherrell of Living Streets Aotearoa: I am contacting you to alert you to NZTA currently consulting on whether or not to renew the E-scooter (Declaration not to be motor vehicles) Notice 2018. It was this declaration that allowed e-scooters to be used on footpaths. If NZTA renews it, then e-scooters will continue to be allowed to be ridden and parked on footpaths. If they don’t, for-hire e-scooters will almost certainly disappear from our streets.

Recently many of you shared your experiences with e-scooters with us. Thank you for doing so.

Can I now ask you to please share them directly with NZTA?

NZTA has a very short survey for people to complete. It is available at the following link.

e-scooter declaration survey (Waka Kotahi NZTA)

Their consultation page is at the following link.

E-scooter declaration renewal decision (Waka Kotahi NZTA)

The survey only requests the following.

  • Name.
  • Address or email address.
  • Business or organisation if applicable.
  • Do you want your response kept confidential?
  • Should the Declaration be renewed or not?
  • Why / Why not? (It’s really important to explain your reasoning) Do you have any information to support your reason? Please attach or upload it.
  • How would you be affected if the Notice is renewed / is not renewed?

However, NZTA would also like to know the below.

  • *Do you or people you know have any challenges sharing footpaths with e-scooters? If so,what are these challenges?
  • *Do you or people you know use e-scooters as a way to travelorride recreationally?
  • *Councils have been working with e-scooter for hire companies over the last few years to try to make e-scooter use safer (for example, setting up e-scooter parking, geofencing, in-app training for e-scooter users). Have you noticed any improvements in your journeys as a result of these measures?
  • *How safe do you feel using an e-scooter or begin around e-scooters on the footpath? Why do you feel this way?

They have also said “You may have other points of view or information you’d like to provide, and we welcome that too.”

We really encourage you to respond to the survey and additional questions especially describing any personal experiences you have had with e-scooters and the impact they have had on you.

Survey responses get to NZTA automatically but you will need to send your responses to the additional questions to the following email address.


The deadline is 7th August but please don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today.

Living Streets Aotearoa’s position

Living Streets position is that footpaths should be preserved for the use of pedestrians, especially as this includes people with disabilities, people who are frail and small children. It is also because footpaths are not just transport corridors but provide important social spaces in our communities where people meet and children play. Using fast moving vehicles of any type on footpaths severely compromises the safety and comfort of pedestrians and degrades the non-transport functions of footpaths.

We recognise that e-scooters could contribute to decreasing the carbon emissions and congestion associated with our urban transport system and for that reason we support their use in cycle lanes/paths and on the roadway where the speed limit is 30 km/h or less. We want all road users to be safe.

E-scooters should only be parked in designated areas or on the berm or in parking spaces on the roadway or in the furniture zone of wide footpaths (always leaving at least 1.8m clear space for people to move through).

There is now technology available and in use overseas that enables e-scooters to detect whether they are being ridden on the footpath, in cycle lanes/paths or on the roadway. This means that their speed can be controlled by the companies that hire them out. We advocate that the use of such technology should be a requirement of e-scooters to be used in NZ.

This information was also shared by Thomas Bryan and Clive Lansink on Blind Citizens Lists. Clive makes the following comments.

“I really urge everyone to take this short survey if you can. Of course there are all the issues we are familiar with when we’re out and about on our streets. but when it comes to the question should the declaration be renewed, obviously I urge you to say that the decision to deem an e-scooter to not be a motor vehicle, and hence allowed on footpaths, defies logic and common sense.


“Clearly an e-scooter is on wheels, it has a motor, can travel much faster than a human can even run, and when carrying a human rider, can easily weigh in excess of 150KG. How the hell can it not be a motor vehicle?

“I urge you also to do this in honour of the late Barry Preddle who took it upon himself in his very senior years to research the legal fiction that NZTA went through to come up with this declaration.

“Thanks everyone.


“Clive Lansink”


Video and news item for 10th anniversary celebration of the Marrakesh Treaty on 12 July

Following is a link shared by Martine Abel-Williamson of the recording of the 10th anniversary celebration of the Marrakesh Treaty that took place during the WIPO Assemblies of Member States. Martine assures us the all the speeches are very short as most were told they only had 2 minutes.

Recording of celebration of Marrakesh Treaty (WIPO)

And following is a news item about the celebration on the WIPO website:

Stakeholders Celebrate 10 Year Anniversary of Adoption of Landmark Marrakesh Treaty (WIPO)


Press Release from Macular Society UK dated 23 June 2023: Breakthrough AI Technology could Boost Diagnosis and Treatment of Macular Degeneration

Shared by Elizabeth East of Kapiti VIP

A groundbreaking project harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionise both the diagnosis and treatment of macular disease, according to researcher professor Adam Dubis.

Professor Dubis’s team is using artificial intelligence (AI) to scan through large groups of macular disease patients’ clinical data and OCT scans to discover what drives the rate that macular disease progresses, in order to potentially provide earlier diagnoses and personalised treatment.

Professor Dubis said: “For many years, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) was simply ‘you’re old and your eyes are going bad.’ Most simply put, that is the characteristics of it. But everyone ages and we can’t deal with that.

“But, why do some people make it to 100 years old, and have perfect vision, while some people at 55 to 60 years old start having pathological changes to their eye?

“Just because you start having issues with your eyes, doesn’t mean that a single thing has gone wrong, even though all age-related eye disease is lumped together. This is really what interests me.

“As you get old and you get macular degeneration, you can either develop what we call the wet form, where we have treatments, like eye injections using drugs like avastin or lucentis, or the dry form where there is no treatment. But even with the wet form, some people need to be treated every month for the rest of their life, while some people need an injection every 3 months or occasionally once a year and obviously, there’s something different in those eyes.”

By identifying early signs of disease and extracting subtle signals from retinal images, Dubis believes that one day clinicians may be able to categorise patients based on their specific AMD subtype and recommend tailored treatments. This approach could optimise the effectiveness of treatments, minimise trial-and-error, improve clinical trials and ensure patients receive the most appropriate care and treatments for their condition.

He added: “I can’t say in the next two years that I’m going to save their sight but hopefully, in three, four or five years the digital tools will be matched up with the drugs so that at least we can stop the vision deteriorating any further. So, the vision may not be perfect, but at least they won’t go blind.

“And that is why societies like the Macular Society and those who donate to the Society are really essential. Your donations will make sure that we can do this work and cure these conditions.”

Dubis highlighted that the success of the research relies on the collaboration of both AI technology and human expertise. While the AI system can process and analyse vast amounts of data quickly, it will work alongside healthcare professionals who use their expertise to make informed decisions and provide personalised care.

Talking about his motivation to get the project off the ground Dubis added: “One of the things that motivates me is always trying to make an impact in trying to save sight. I went 25 years not knowing I was colour blind. At home realising that, I can’t see nine out of 10 colours that everyone else can is a problem. But it’s actually not that bad. I can read a book, I can drive. I can’t fly planes, not that I ever intended to, but, saving sight for other people where, the ability to drive, the ability to read a book, the ability to navigate easily by themselves is being lost is something that motivates me in trying to solve this.

“I still do a lot of work on monogenetic diseases, trying to save sight for someone in their teens or early twenties, which is an amazing thing. But, at the same time, one in seven people over the age of 70 has macular degeneration. We’re all living older, this is a large number of people and there’s a lot more people in that cohort. I think there’s a lot of information coming out, but there’s still a lot of things that we can learn.”

Elizabeth comments: We had one article about the use of AI in 2022 and this is now the third article in 2023 about using AI to assist with diagnoses and treatments.

Breakthrough AI technology could boost diagnosis and treatment of macular disease (Macular Society)


Second Reading of the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill

Last week the Second Reading of the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill took place. The Social Services and Community Committee website update of July 21 advises:

The Audio, Braille, Easy Read, Large Print, and New Zealand Sign Language versions of the initial briefing for the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill are now available.

In June 2023, the Social Services and Community Committee reported back to the House of Representatives on the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill. The report recommended several changes to the bill after 10 months of careful consideration.

The committee wanted to provide its report and the substantive pieces of advice it received in the five alternate formats at the same time that it made its report back to the House. The five alternate formats are Audio, Braille, Easy Read, Large Print, and New Zealand Sign Language. The committee set aside several weeks after deliberation to allow time for these documents to be translated into the alternate formats. However, it spent more time than expected considering possible amendments than it anticipated. This reduced the amount of time it had to allow for the report and the advice it received to be translated into alternate formats. The committee would like to apologise for the delay in providing the alternate formats for these documents.

The alternate formats for the committee’s initial briefing are now available. The initial briefing is information received from advisers at the beginning of the committee process that provides context for the bill’s policy intent.

Alternate formats of the advice received from the Ministry of Social Development—Manatū Whakahiato Ora,and the committee’s bill commentary, will be published when they are available.


Deafblind International (DbI) call for volunteers

We are sharing with you some information about a new initiative Deafblind International (DbI) Communication Committee is launching.Specifically, they are looking for people with deafblindness who would be willing to be part of a volunteer team to review and assess the accessibility of their website.In case you are interested.

Join our DbI Team and Make an Impact in Accessibility!

Volunteers wanted to:

• conduct an annual accessibility check of the DbI website

• enhance DbI website accessibility for low vision users as a starting point

• attend one corresponding meeting with the DbI ComCom per year.

If you are a person with deafblindness, your firsthand knowledge is crucial to our mission.

Together we can make a difference!

For more information, please, do contact Vikram Choudhary.

Telephone: +49 511 5100821

E-mail: v.choudhary@taubblindenwerk.de


World Federation of the Deafblind Survey on Older Persons

WFDB (World Federation of The Deafblind) has launched a survey on the global situation of older persons with deafblindness. The purpose of this survey is to gather information for WFDB’s 1st Global Report on older persons with deafblindness, which will be published by the end of 2023. A research consultant working for WFDB will process and analyse the data.

This survey and report are organised as part of the SHAPES Project, an EU-funded programme that addresses the needs and expectation of older people. WFDB is a consortium member of this project, which will end in October 2023. You can read about the project and our involvement below.

WFDB Shapres Project (2019-2023)

This survey is for:

  • WFDB members
  • persons with deafblindness
  • organisations by and for persons with deafblindness
  • other organisations and professionals in the field of deafblindness.

The survey will remain open until the 6th of August 2023. Please access the survey in English below. 2023 WFDB Survey on Older Persons with Deafblindness (IDA)

Please find also below a link to a word version of the survey.

2023 WFDB Survey on Older Persons with Deafblindness (IDA) (DOCX 990 KB)



FIFA Women’s World Cup Audio Description

Nicola Owen has provided the following information:

Audio Described Commentary for the FIFA Women’s world cup as sent to me by FIFA (just a note that we’re not involved in the audio description but thought some people might be interested in tuning in).

It sounds as if SENZ radio may be commentating on the matches so that could be easier than trying to go through the FIFA App, but perhaps people might like to try both to compare them.

Below is the link to the SENZ radio station online.


And below is all the information on the AD Commentary on the FIFA app.

FWWC2023 will offer ADC at 40 matches.

An Audio-Descriptive Commentary (ADC) service will be offered for blind and partially-sighted fans for some games during the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™. ADC is a dedicated service, enabling partially sighted and blind people to follow live matches inside the stadium alongside their fellow supporters.

Specially trained commentators provide additional narration that describes all significant visual information during the live match experience, such as body language, facial expression, scenery, action, clothing, colours, and anything else that is important to conveying the image, venue, match, event, or surrounding ambience.

This service will be a first for football in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. The service will be free and delivered in English. Which matches offer Audio Descriptive Commentary?

40 matches will offer Audio Descriptive Commentary during the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™, outlined below.

  • Hindmarsh Stadium (Adelaide / Tarntanya) matches: Match 39- 1 August – China PR v. England
  • Eden Park (Auckland / Tāmaki Makaurau) matches: All matches
  • Brisbane Stadium matches: All matches
  • Dunedin Stadium matches: Match 33- 30 July – Switzerland v. New Zealand
  • Waikato Stadium (Hamilton / Kirikiriroa) matches: Match 6- 22 July – Zambia v. Japan
  • Melbourne Rectangular Stadium matches: All matches
  • Perth Rectangular Stadium matches: Match 19- 26 July – Canada v. Republic of Ireland
  • Sydney Football Stadium matches All matches
  • Stadium Australia (Sydney / Wangal) matches All matches
  • Wellington Regional Stadium matches Match 17- 25 July – New Zealand v. Philippines and Match 23- 27 July – USA v. Netherlands

Fans who are not able to travel to the stadiums will be able to access the service from their home or at the FIFA Fan Festivals.

How can fans listen to the Audio Descriptive Commentary?

To tune into the live ADC, listeners are required to download the FIFA Interpreting app which is available in the App Store.

FIFA Interpreting app (Apple store)

You can also find it in the Google Play Store

FIFA Interpreting app (Google Play)

We recommend that you download the app prior to your arrival at the stadium.

Once the installation is complete, listeners will be asked for an event code. Please insert this specific code (case sensitive, all capitals) and play the right audio track to tune into the match you’re interested in.


Listeners are encouraged to use their own smartphone and headphones and connect using a reliable WiFi, 5G or 4G connection for the duration of the ADC broadcast.

Live commentary commences approximately 30 minutes prior to the start of the match.

Please ask assistance to our Volunteer Team if you need help tuning into the ADC service.

This service is available to all, whether you are enjoying the match at the stadium or you’re tuning in from home!


Accessibility Screenings at the New Zealand International Film Festival!

We’re excited to announce that this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) is taking accessibility to the next level. Get ready for a lineup of audio-described screenings, NZSL interpretation Q&As, open captioned screenings, and low-sensory screenings catered specifically to our neuro-divergent, hearing, and vision-impaired communities.

Please note that these screenings which start July 22, won’t be available for general public sale. They can be requested through the Festival Accessibility inbox at the following email address


or by booking over the phone with Ticketmaster in Auckland (09 970 9711) or the NZIFF Box Office in Wellington (04 802 4001).

We will also be offering 1 Free Companion seat for each Accessibility ticket sold!

We have high hopes that in the future NZIFF will be able to increase the accessibility screenings making this an annual event that caters to all of our neuro-divergent, hearing, and vision-impaired communities.

Auckland Audio Described Screenings are all at Rialto Cinemas Newmarket 167/169 Broadway

The Tuba Thieves Sun 23 Jul 11:00am

Is There Anybody Out There? Sat 29 Jul 11:00am

Loop Track Sun 6 Aug 11:00am

Access pricing for Auckland – (plus one free companion ticket per transaction, if required – please let us know at time of booking).

Full Price: $17.50

Senior 65+: $15.00

Child: $14.00

Group 20+: $14.00

Phone bookings for Auckland: Ticketmaster 09 970 9711

Email: access@nziff.co.nz

Wellington Audio Described Screenings are all at Deluxe Cinemas, Embassy Theatre 10 Kent Terrace, Mount Victoria

The Tuba Thieves – 1 August at 6:00pm

Is There Anybody Out There? – 29 July at 10:00am

Loop Track – 12 August at 10:00am

Access pricing for Wellington – one free companion ticket per transaction, if required.

Full Price: $17.00

Senior 65+: $14.50

Child (15 and under): $13.50

Phone bookings for Wellington: NZIFF Box Office 04 802 4001

Or email: access@nziff.co.nz

For more information about the screenings check out the following website link:

NZIFF Access

Audio described We Will Rock you in Palmerston North

Act Three Productions are excited to announce a blind and low vision accessible performance with audio description during our upcoming limited season of We Will Rock You. This will be our matinee show, 4pm Sunday 13 August at the Regent on Broadway, with a touch tour prior to the show, at 2.30pm.

Since 2002, over 16 million theatre-goers in 28 countries have been thrilled by this awe-inspiring production by Queen and Ben Elton. Featuring all those classic Queen rock numbers, this musical is set in the year 2300. Live music has been banned from the Planet Mall. Everyone wears the same clothes, thinks the same thoughts and goes about in a brain-dead ga-ga haze. A bunch of Bohemians are looking for the ‘Rhapsody’ in the rocky rubble near their base, the Hardrock Cafe. With the help of Buddy, a hippie librarian who is researching secret history through the rebel archives of rock artefacts, two soul rebels, Galileo and Scaramouche, find rock’s Holy Grail; Brian May’s guitar buried in the remains of Wembley Stadium.

Recommended for children ages 10+

Book in person at the Regent on Broadway box office or over the phone at 06 350 2100. The Regent are open weekdays between 9am and 3pm. Show your Companion Card to receive two A-Reserve tickets for the price of one (normal booking fees and credit card fees apply).

For more information about audio description please contact:



Other newsletters

Ministry of Social Development

Family Violence and Sexual Violence July Update (MSD)

A link to the recent DPA Information Exchange follows.

Information Exchange 15 July (DPA_

A link to the recent Disability Connect follows.

Newsletter 17 July (Disability Connect)

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

News and events, including newsletters (Deafblind Association New Zealand)

As usual, event reminders and TellMe phone numbers follow.

Ngā mihi mahana,
Warm regards,
Amanda and Sarah


Event reminders

Public transport half price fares ended on 30 June 2023. Community Services Cardholders can apply for ongoing 50% fare discounts through your local public transport provider. Following is a link to the Work and Income website where you can learn more about Community Connect and how to apply, including links to your local public transport provider’s website:

Public transport fare information (Work and Income)

Friday 28 July – Auckland Audio Described Massive Theatre Heart go… BOOM! touch tour and audio described performance at The Basement Theatre. Details were provided in 7 July update.

Saturday 29 July, Auckland – Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind Candidate Information Day for prospective candidates interested in standing for the 2023 RNZFB Board Elections. As an organisation dedicated to empowering blind, deafblind, and low vision individuals, we aim to fill three vacancies for general seats on the RNZFB Board. This day will offer valuable insights into our governance model, the Board’s responsibilities, and our strategic plan. If you think you could be the right fit for our board, please join us. Register via email to boardsecretary@blindlowvision.org.nz or by calling the Blind Low Vision NZ Contact Centre at 0800 24 33 33.

Sunday 27 August, Braille House, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington – Deafblind Association NZ Annual General Meeting and gathering. Please email Sarah boardsecretary@deafblindassociation.nz if you are interested in attending.

Wednesday 30 August, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington – Audio Described Performance of Wicked – the Untold Story of the Witches of Oz. Details were provided in 23 June update.

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

Election Access Fund – supports disabled people to be candidates in parliamentary general elections and by-elections, including helping candidates to complete an application. The 2023 General Election will be held on Saturday 14 October 2023. Nominations for candidates standing in this year’s General Election open on Monday 28 August and close at noon on Friday 15 September. More information and resources are available at the following website links:

Information about becoming a candidate in a General Election.

Becoming a candidate in a general election (Electoral Commission)

Information about the Election Access Fund and how to apply, including in alternate formats.

Application guidelines in alternate formats (Electoral Commission)

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

Further details as they become available.

ICEB website


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 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