Weekly update: 31 May 2024

Kia ora tatou,

Hello to all of us,

This week we have a fascinating interview from 21 May with Neil Heslop from Southern Cochlear Implant Programme from the No Labels radio programme hosted by Thomas Bryan. Neil explains what and how a Cochlear Implant works, how many Cochlear Implants are funded each year, and who might best benefit from having a Cochlear Implant. There is always something new to learn!

No Labels (Wellington Access Radio)

Following up on the last couple of weeks around Hearing Assistive Technology, Sue from New Plymouth writes, “I now have the disk-shaped alarm under my pillow. I’m told I am profoundly deaf in my left ear. I was astounded when they discovered I could not hear the alarm I had already installed, with that ear! I hope all our members will be able to get this incredible invention installed!”

Congratulations to everyone involved in hosting the International Council on English Braille (ICEB) 8th General Assembly in Auckland this week. The theme was Two Centuries of Braille, which Jonathan Mosen also brought to RNZ National’s nine to noon programme on Wednesday 29 May.



RNZ National 200 years since the invention of the Braille code

Workbridge Chief Executive and Assistive Technology consultant Jonathan Mosen speaks to Kathryn about Louis Braille’s innovation, creating the code which has enabled the literacy of blind people. Louis Braille was blinded in an accident when he was three years old, and at age 15 he invented the six dot system.

Jonathan says the fundamental structure of Braille has not changed since it was invented in 1824.

Link to listen below.

200 years since the invention of the Braille code (RNZ)

On-demand audio description app Earcatch winds up, but will continue to be available in Aotearoa

This information comes from Jean Teng, the Communications Manager at Able and was shared on the BlindDiscuss List.

Able launched Earcatch in Aotearoa a year ago – a New Zealand-based library of audio description (AD) made available for users to access and enjoy shows on TVNZ+ on demand.

The funding made it possible for us to upload episodes to the app for a year. In that time, we’ve uploaded over 500 episodes over 80 titles!

However, as our CE Dan Buckingham signalled last year, Able always saw Earcatch as a “short-term solution”. This is for many reasons. It added an extra step to a service that should be as easy as toggling on and off (in a similar way to how captions are delivered) and, sadly, wasn’t always easy for people to navigate. We were also only able to upload a limited amount of local content on the app, meaning Earcatch users were still missing out on a wide variety of shows.

Unfortunately, those reasons have ultimately led to Able ending our licence with Earcatch and discontinuing uploading new shows to the app from June 2024.

Now for a bit of good news! Earcatch has generously agreed to keep the app open for New Zealand users, housing the content we’ve already uploaded indefinitely. This means the app will still be open to download, access and use for AD users. Yep – all the episodes over 80+ seasons of shows will continue to be available to play and sync with TVNZ+.

We understand this may be disappointing for Earcatch users to hear.

We are committed to doing what we can to ensure local broadcasters understand the importance of implementing audio description capability on streaming platforms such as TVNZ+ and ThreeNow. It is 2024, and we believe AD users deserve to watch television in the same way so many of us enjoy and take for granted.

We would like to thank everyone (including you) who helped Able to secure this funding, especially the blind and low vision community for their valuable support, feedback and uptake of this service.

You can read the full story on our journal below.

On-demand audio description app Earcatch winds up, but will continue to be available in Aotearoa (able)



Peer to Peer Gatherings

  • Whakatū – Nelson – Saturday 8 June – meets monthly on 2nd Saturday.
  • Kirikiriroa – Hamilton – meeting held Tuesday 14 May, meets bi-monthly, Organiser Judy Small.
  • Tāmaki Makaurau – North Auckland – meeting held Saturday 18 May, to meet bi-monthly.
  • Tāmaki Makaurau – South Auckland – meeting held Sunday 19 May, to meet bi-monthly.
  • Taranaki – New Plymouth – meets bi-monthly.
  • Manawatū /Te Papa-i-Oea – Palmerston North – Wednesday 10 July – meets quarterly.
  • Kāpiti – Friday 12 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.


Other newsletters

May 2024 Edition of Acquired Deafblindness Network News

Dr Peter Simcock, Associate Professor of Social Work at Birmingham City University and Course Lead in Certificate and Diploma in Professional Studies (Deafblind Studies) brings warm greetings from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, as well as the word document newsletter available at the following link:

ADB News May 2024 (DOCX 1.2 MB)

DPA Weekly Update

Not yet available.

The D*Lis

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

Audio described NZ Opera – Le comte Ory

Audio Described Aotearoa will be describing performances in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland on Saturday 1 June, Te Whanga-Nui-A-Tara Wellington on Saturday 15 June and Ōtautahi Christchurch on Saturday 29 June. Details were provided in 10 May update.

10 May 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 below.

22 March update

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

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. Details were provided in 3 May update.

3 May update

June 2024 Deafblind Awareness month – Yarn bombing

#DbIYarnBombing2024 – information was provided in 21 January update.

Wednesday 26 June, Titirangi, Auckland, Enabling Good Lives Community Hui – to help to shape up your EGL approach. 10:30am – 2:30pm, light lunch provided. Details were provided in 24 May update. Register by 12 June via email, also advising if you have specific access needs:


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.

DbI Asian Regional Conference Pokhara Nepal

1st to 3rd March 2025.


Feedback requested – reminders

National Housing Survey

The Urban Advisory longitudinal study so there is no foreseeable closing date. The survey asks how people make their housing choices and what they want to see happen with housing in the future, with the intention of helping New Zealand better respond to housing needs and demand.

Completed surveys are eligible for entry into a quarterly prize draw to win a $200 Prezzy Card. It is an online survey through Qualtrics and is expected to take less than 30 minutes to complete. Details were provided in 24 May update.

The website link below includes Frequently Asked Questions, an info pack and a contact email address.

New Zealand’s Housing Survey (The Urban Advisory)

Stats NZ – Census Accessibility

Public consultation for the future of census will run until 18 June 2024.


The future of census: creating greater value for our communities (Stats NZ)

Alternate formats for the Future Census consultation (Stats NZ)

Details were provided in 10 May update.

10 May update



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.

Living Blindfully

Weekly show hosted by Jonathan Mosen

Living Blindfully audio episodes (Living Blindfully)

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