Weekly update: 3 November 2023

Kia ora Tatou,

Hello to all of us,

Whoop, whoop, whoop! We launched our Wellington/Lower Hutt/Kāpiti group last Saturday. We had five deafblind, one voluntary tactile interpreter, one voluntary driver/technical advisor, and Jacqui, Deafblind Coordinator Extraordinaire! Phil hosted at the Laura Fergusson Trust and the catering was donated. I learned so very much from all present and I got so enthusiastic I started scribbling ideas down on a paper napkin – not my best idea ever as I am total and can’t read it back. Somehow though it helped instil ideas in my memory. Those not from Lower Hutt met at the train station in Wellington and we swept by in a couple of cars and scooped everyone up for the two hour lunch and discussion time. It was great! We have agreed to meet quarterly with the next day tentatively booked for 27 January 2024. I want to thank those who identify with a dual sensory impairment for your input – that’s why we exist – Wendy Daly, Laura Fergusson Trust for the catering, Jacqui and her manager Kate for willingness to support our organisation in collaboration, and Matt and Mark for your specialist voluntary input. My heart has been warm all week!

With the end of year fast approaching we still have time to get you connected in your area before the break. It takes about ten working days for me to set up a gathering so please let me know soonest if you want to get together, you are happy to lead, you want to be involved, or you know someone who wants to support. The first step is always communication so get on the phone, text, or email us and we can put something together before the break and connections for you into 2024.

Hoop, hoop, hoop! Now this something a little different. I have bought a hula hoop. I find it great fun. It took a bit of practice, like most things, and now I love it. I can stand still and hoop. I don’t have to see, the hoop can’t get away from me because if it falls it simply lands at my feet, I don’t need to wait for anyone, and it is helping my fitness grow. What do you do? Is it that you walk with your guide dog, do chair yoga for falls prevention, get out on your tandem with a friend, play Go Ball (I think you are nuts!), blind cricket, go to your gym, swim, or walk with a friend in your favourite park or reserve? Please let us know what movement enhances your vibrancy and feeling of wellbeing and if you would like us to mention this in next week’s mail out so others can be inspired. As a starting point, following is a link to a video of me hula hooping.

Amanda smiling as she hula hoops (MP4 4.6 MB)

We wish Parents of Vision Impaired Inc the very best for your Conference and AGM this weekend in Wellington at the Mövenpick Hotel. We know there will be a lot of work going on and not just eating icecream sundaes! I’m so sorry not to be there this year as some are parents of deafblind tamariki and I have always been welcomed as whānau ❤️

Tulī Takes Flight scholarships: Applications are open for study or training in 2024, closing 5pm Tuesday 7 November

The Tulī scholarship is a part of the gesture of goodwill and reconciliation to Aotearoa Pacific communities. The announcement of the Tulī scholarship followed the Government’s 2021 apology for the Dawn Raids that occurred in the 1970s. The scholarship is intended to support Pacific people to reach their potential by reducing some of the financial barriers towards study or training. Scholarships are available for both vocational or degree level study and training in Aotearoa.

The scholarships are worth up to $31,000. They are funded by the Ministry of Education and administered by the Pacific Education Foundation.

There are a total of 15 scholarships available, applicants may receive a scholarship for either vocational training, undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate study (up to and including doctoral level) in 2024.

Learn more about the Tulī Scholarships and how to apply at the following Ministry of Education website link:

Tulī Takes Flight Scholarships (Ministry of Education)



Upcoming RNZFB Meetings in Ōtautahi Christchurch

  • Board Meeting – Friday, 10 November

Observers will be able to listen but not contribute to the meeting procedure. For those members who wish to observe, please let the Board Secretary know by emailing boardsecretary@blindlowvision.org.nz or calling the Contact Centre on 0800 24 33 33. A copy of the agenda, which will indicate approximate timings and details, will be sent closer to the time of the meeting.

  • Annual MeetingSaturday 11 November

The dates of the 2023 RNZFB Board meetings can be found on the BLVNZ website. Minutes of these meetings are available on the TIS menu 313 or available by request.

Audio described performances of The Santa Claus Show ’23 by Tim Bray, with songs by Christine White

Auckland Tuesday 5 October and Saturday 16 December.

Ho-ho-ho, it’s Christmas show time!

Tim Bray Theatre Company presents our hugely popular family favourite, The Santa Claus Show, back for its 19th season and more lovable than ever! Written in 1991 and now New Zealand’s best-selling Christmas show, this unmissable experience tells a merry tale about finding the true meaning of Christmas, with special guest appearances from Santa’s chief elf and Mr Claus himself.

Join Kelly and Alana on their epic adventure dashing through the snow to the North Pole, with singing and laughing all the way. Bring your little elves along (and big ones too) and get ready for a jolly entertaining Christmas show!

The PumpHouse Theatre: Tuesday 5th December and Saturday 16th December, 12pm Touch Tour, 1pm show.

Audio Description and Tour Tour: Audio description is a narration service where theatregoers are issued with headsets and can sit in the auditorium with the headphone in one ear, listening to the description alongside the show.

We also offer Touch Tours before our shows. These allow blind or low vision kids and families the opportunity to get up on stage and up close with the show. The theatregoer is guided around and invited to touch the set and props and meet the cast before the show.

Touch Tours begin one hour before the performance and audience are taken from the theatre foyer and guided on the stage for the tour. The immersive tour lasts approximately 40 minutes and at the end headsets are distributed and patrons shown to their seats.

Book tickets for The Santa Claus Show ’23 (Tim Bray Theatre Company)

Discount price $25.00 access tickets available for blind and low vision audience members and a companion. Book online or call The PumpHouse at 09 489 8360 or visit the theatre box office. For more information and accessibility resources, such as descriptive notes and an accessible programme, head to the website.

About Audio Desccribed shows (Tim Bray Theatre Company)

Or email us at info@timbray.org.nz.


Links to other newsletters

The D*List

Following is a link to have a browse of The D*List website or sign up to receive their weekly newsletter.

The D*List website

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)

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

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

  • 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.

Link to word document with description and booking information follows.

RNZB Hansel and Gretel (DOCX 14 KB)

Mid-Term Regional General Assembly (MRGA) of the Asia Pacific Region of the World Blind Union in person and online from 27 to 29 November 2023 in Thailand

Details were provided in 20 October update.

20 October update

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)

International Council on English Braille 8th General Assembly

25 to 31 May 2024, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

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