Weekly update: 3 May 2024

Kia ora Tatou,

Hello to all of us,

This week we pay tribute to Sir Robert Martin, Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. While Sir Robert was not deafblind, his leadership in the pan disability sector has brought about much change under our shared goal of Nobody Left Behind. Any one of us might aspire to his tireless leadership both in our own way and as part of a team. Our condolences go to all who sorrow at his passing.

DPA’s Information Exchange of May 3 says:

“It is with great sadness that DPA acknowledges the passing of Sir Robert Martin KNZM on Tuesday 30 April 2024.

With Sir Robert’s passing, the disability community, here in Aotearoa New Zealand and across the world are mourning the loss of a true leader.

He leaves us with a legacy of unwavering commitment to speaking up on the rights of disabled people, and in particular for people with learning disability.

Sir Robert’s CV is beyond impressive – he was part of the negotiations for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Peoples with Disability, which New Zealand chaired in 2006. Then in 2016, Sir Robert became the first person with a learning disability elected to a United Nations human rights treaty body.

He was a Co-Rapporteur for three countries, appointed member on procedures under the Optional Protocol to the Convention and member of CRPD-CRC joint working group.

He was a Committee member of Frozen Funds Charitable Trust dedicated to funding projects for people who use intellectual disability or mental health services, a Fellow of the New Zealand Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability, and a sought-after national and international speaker.

Sir Robert is, perhaps, most known for his life-long focus on promoting self-advocacy, along with the rights of disabled people to live in their community. He was a strong voice for deinstitutionalisation, and in recent years pushed for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care, speaking about the impact of institutionalisation.

Many would also have heard him speak about the right for disabled people to work, as well as the right to have the life of your choice, and the importance of reasonable accommodations for disabled people.

His work was recognised in 2008, when he was appointed as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to people with disabilities. In 2020, he was promoted to Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Sir Robert was also a life member of People First New Zealand.

The Minister of Disability Issues took leave to pass a motion on his passing with a statement in the House. This was a huge privilege and an extremely rare acknowledgement for someone who was not an MP. The DPO Coalition, including DPA, marked the occasion by being present in the Public Gallery.

For us here at DPA, Sir Robert is remembered as one of our first Kaituitui – a connector for disabled people within his local community. He’s also a past member, and we know many of our members will be deeply saddened by his passing.

Thank you, Sir Robert, your commitment to speaking up to ensure disabled people have a true place in our communities will never be forgotten.

From all of us at DPA, we extend our sympathy to Robert’s family and friends, and the members and staff at People First New Zealand.

Sir Robert, you will be missed.”


Job Opportunity Reminder: Pacific Disability Forum CEO

Please see below for an amazing leadership opportunity:

Chief Executive Officer

  • Strategic, visionary and impactful leadership, mission driven
  • Broad remit of advocacy, policy development and stakeholder engagement
  • Suva based role with diverse Pacific reach

About us

Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) is a constituency of 73 organisations of and for persons with disabilities (OPDs) and individual members, representing diverse groups of persons with disabilities and their supporters across 22 Pacific Island countries and territories.

Our dream is an inclusive and equitable Pacific society where all human rights of all persons with disabilities are realized by 2030. Our work includes evidence-based advocacy, active engagement in policy development and the implementation and monitoring of relevant global and regional disability frameworks in collaboration with our stakeholders.

Based in Suva, Fiji, we are funded primarily by Australian Aid through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT), as well as support from the New Zealand Government (via MFAT) and other key organisations for our core activities and programs.

About this role

Reporting to our Board and supported by a Fiji based team of around 25 staff, you will be responsible for the leadership, management and overall operational activities of PDF. As our Chief Executive, you will be focused on supporting and advocating on behalf of our OPD constituents, you will catalyse and frame critical regional policy and mobilise resources and stakeholder efforts to meet our inclusive Pacific 2030 goals.

About you

We are seeking expressions of interest from candidates with lived experience of disability, as well as a clear connection to and a deep appreciation of Pacific culture and community practices. You will bring an understanding of issues in disability rights, equity and inclusive policy, including sustainable development goals (SDGs), The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), and regional frameworks such as the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, Pacific Framework for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PFRPD) and the Jakarta Declaration on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities 2023-2032. You may also have held a senior role within an Organisation of Persons with Disabilities (OPD). You will have proven strategic leadership skills, the ability to influence and engage across a wide range of stakeholders and policy issues, and a demonstrated commitment to disability inclusion.

How to apply

For a copy of the information pack please email Jo Bell or Amy Tea at the following email address.


To apply, please email your cover letter and CV in MS Word format to the following email address.


Applications close Sunday, 5th May 2024.

ATCL Search are deeply committed to ensuring an inclusive and accessible recruitment process. Please let us know if it would be helpful to provide any of our information in an alternative format for you.

Please note this is a Suva based role and PDF will assist with a work permit and costs if relocation is required.



Peer to Peer Support

Kirikiriroa – Hamilton Tuesday 14 May – Organiser Judy Small.

Whakatū – Nelson – Tuesday 14 May – meets monthly.

Tāmaki Makaurau – South Auckland – Sunday 19 May.

Manawatū /Te Papa-i-Oea – Palmerston North – Wednesday 10 July – meets quarterly.

Te Whanganui-a-Tara – Wellington/Lower Hutt – Saturday 13 July – meets quarterly.

Please contact us if you are interested in attending any of these events by replying to this email or calling Amanda on 0800 450 650.

Auckland, Hearing Assistance Seminar

Thursday 9th May 4:00pm – 7:00pm.

Notice of this Jands NZ event comes to us from be. Lab.

I’m Kit from Jands, we supply hearing assistance technology across Australian and New Zealand projects.

We have Andrew Attard who is a hearing assistance specialist visiting NZ and we’re hosting a seminar in Auckland on Thursday 9th May.

‘Equality of Access to Audio for People with Hearing Loss’, aims to bring industry professionals together to explore assistive listening technologies, legislation, compliance standards together with a glimpse into what the future of the technology holds. Our aim is to foster knowledge exchange and promote the adoption of the most effective solutions to enhance accessibility for individuals with hearing impairments. Key details about the seminar are as follows.

Venue: Jands NZ HQ, 2/2 Boundary Road, Hobsonville Point, Auckland.


  • welcome drink
  • Equality of Access to Audio for People With Hearing Loss seminar
    • why assistive listening is necessary
    • legal obligations in New Zealand
    • what type of systems are available
    • what comes next
  • Q&A
  • food and drinks over a social networking event.

Your participation in this event would greatly contribute to its success by enriching the discussions and sharing your variable experience and insights in the field of assistive listening.

To confirm attendance register at the following link.

Register for “Equality of Access to Audio for People with Hearing Loss” event (JANDS / Humanitix)

Kit Watson
General Manager NZ

New course by DAISY Consortium

Here is some information about training now on offer from the DAISY Consortium. The online course is based on content developed in partnership with the Accessible Books Consortium. It is intended to extend the accessible book production training to even more people than ABC’s technical training and assistance programme:

DAISY Consortium is pleased to announce the availability of a new instructor-led training course which equips participants with the knowledge and skills to create accessible books for people with print disabilities. Participants learn how to confidently create accessible Microsoft Word documents and to convert them to EPUB, PDF and DAISY e-text and audio formats.

The training and technical support initiative is created and delivered by the accessibility specialists at the DAISY Consortium who have delivered similar trainings in more than 30 countries over the last 10 years. The course duration is 3 weeks and participants take around 5 hours for interactive sessions, 5 hours to complete the learning modules and 3 hours to complete the assignments. Learners who successfully complete the assignments are issued with a certificate.

This training and technical support programme is especially beneficial for NGOs in developing countries that are producing accessible learning materials for people with print disabilities.

The course fee is USD100 per person with a discounted rate for DAISY members at USD75. Learners from low- or middle-income countries pay only USD50.

In low resource countries there are organisations that have the mandate, people, and equipment to produce accessible books, but do not have the financial resources to fund the places of for key staff and volunteers. In these cases, DAISY is compiling a waiting list of people who would benefit from the training opportunity and we are seeking funding to support these individuals.

What learners get

  1. Step by step tutorials on the DAISY online learning platform to complete at your own pace.
  2. Five online sessions with an expert trainer.
  3. Access to technical support for the course duration to assist with installation, configuration and getting started with software tools used in the course.
  4. A comprehensive take-away package comprising guidelines, best practice examples, sample files, standards documents and checklists.
  5. A certificate from DAISY Consortium after successfully completing the course.

How to register

Interested persons can complete the form linked below, indicating the preferred course start date and applicable fees.

Register for “Training Course: Confidently Create Accessible Documents” (DAISY Consortium)

If an application is made for a sponsored place, this will be confirmed via e-mail as and when DAISY Consortium is able to accommodate the request.

Friday 14 June, Accessible Pharmacy Online Blindness and Mental Health Summit

Friday, June 14 at 12:00PM ET, which is 4:00AM on Saturday, June 15 NZST

Join us for the first annual Blindness and Mental Health Summit! The Summit is the largest online gathering of organizations and consumers sharing information, resources, and services focusing on mental health in the blindness, low vision, and disability communities.

  • 100% virtual.
  • ASL interpretation.
  • CE credit available.

The Summit is a 2-part event.

  • Part 1 – Speaker Series
  • Part 2 – Exhibit Hall.

Register for free to learn from our growing list of thought leaders in the blindness and mental health communities:

  • American Council of the Blind Mental Health and Wellness Committee
  • Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AERBVI)
  • be My Eyes
  • Eye2Eye Peer Support Program for Vision Loss
  • Guide Dogs for the Blind
  • Helen Keller Services
  • Intuitive Counseling and Wellness
  • Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • National Federation of the Blind Human Services Division
  • Prevent Blindness
  • Thriving Blind Academy
  • World Blind Union
  • 988 Crisis Prevention Hotline.

For more information or to register online visit their website below.

Blindness and Mental Health Summit 2024 (Accessible Pharmacy)

Or email the address below.




RNZ National News Public transport subsidies are ending. Here’s how much fares will rise

Link to 29 April website (not audio) news item below.

Public transport subsidies are ending. Here’s how much fares will rise (RNZ)

Further information below.

The Total Mobility Scheme is intended to complement public transport services and ensure people with impairments can meet their daily needs in a safe and dignified manner. It is open to people with a permanent, temporary or fluctuating disability that prevents them from travelling on buses, trains or ferries, or getting to or from where the public transport starts or ends. It also provides funding assistance to purchase and install wheelchair hoists in taxi vans. The scheme has no minimum fare threshold. A 75% discount applies until a maximum subsidy is reached. The maximum subsidy varies between regions.

Following is a link to more information on the New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi website.

Total Mobility around New Zealand: a regional guide (Waka Kotahi)


Other newsletters

DPA Weekly Update

The text from this week’s update is copied in our introduction above, other than the comments made in te reo Māori which are copied below.

Moe mai rā e te Rangatira, Ta Robert Martin.

Kua hinga he Totara i te wao nui a Tane.

Haere ki to kainga tūturu, haere ki to kainga rangimārie. Haere ki te pō, ki te pō nui, ki te pō roa. Haere ki te pō i u ai tō moe. Moe mai rā. Moe mai rā.

Ngā mihi aroha ki to whānau, ki ngā tangata whaikaha, ki a tātou katoa.

The D*List

The D*List website is an online culture magazine that creates space for disabled people to tell their own stories through features, columns and news reporting.

Link to weekly update below.

The D*List Delivered (Substack)

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)

Ngā mihi mahana,
Warm regards,


Event reminders

Auckland (Henderson) Wednesday 8 May – Massive Theatre Company I LOVE YOU G – audio described show

Details were provided in 26 April update.

26 April update

Wednesday 8 May – consultation closes on the Office of the Privacy Commissioner proposed code of practice on biometrics in New Zealand

Details were provided in 26 April update.

Auckland Saturday 11th May, 1.30pm, Kiri te Kanawa Theatre; ChristchurchSaturday 25th May, 1.30pm, Isaac Theatre Royal – Royal New Zealand Ballet Swan Lake – Audio Description 2024

Details were provided in 26 April update.

26 April update

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

Deafblind International Co-Network Coordinator Expression of Interest closes 31 May

Details were provided in 22 March update.

Expression of Interest Form (DOCX 242 KB)

22 March update

World Federation of the Deafblind Youth Committee

Applications for young individuals with deafblindness (aged 18-35) to join WFDB’s newly established Youth Committee close 2 June. Information was provided in 22 March update, or for more information about the Youth Committee and application guidelines, please visit the website.

22 March update

Join WFDB’s Youth Committee: Call for Deafblind Representatives (World Federation of the Deafblind)

June 2024Deafblind Awareness month – Yarn bombing

#DbIYarnBombing2024 – information was provided in 21 January update.

21 January update

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.

Thursday 3 October Deafblind UK Online Conference 2024 Theme: “Standing out and fitting in”. The conference is free and all are welcome.



2024 Audio Described Nationwide Events Booklet

The events list with booklet page numbers was provided in the 23 February update.

23 February update

The full calendar is available as a word document via the following link.

2024 Events Information (DOCX 60 KB)

No Labels on Wellington Access Radio

You can listen to this edition of the show on Wellington Access Radio on Tuesday just after 1:00pm, or the following Tuesday at the same time.

If you miss the scheduled show, you can check it out later online at the link below.

No Labels (Wellington Access Radio)

Or you can subscribe to the show via your preferred podcast player to check out this episode or previous episodes of the show.

Blind Spot, Radio Southland

Monthly show hosted by Carolyn Weston

Blind Spot on Radio Southland

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