Weekly update: 6 October 2023

Kia ora Tatou,

Hello to all of us,

This week your Board received the resignation of Don McKenzie, CNZM, OBE MNZM and more. Don has dedicated the years since 2017 of his invaluable insight to us as a member of our community and enriching us with his experience. In looking at Don’s bio there is simply nothing I felt I wanted to leave out.


Don McKenzie CNZM, (2014). O.B.E, (1981). FNZSP, MCSP, (Lon.), Dip Mt, Cert Rehab.

Don McKenzie is a retired Physiotherapist with 40 years experience in running his own Private Practice including 5 years serving in the public hospital sector. He was an elected member of the Waiheke Local Board.

Having been a Physiotherapist, Don is trained in the biological, behavioural, and rehabilitation sciences and as a result of his lived experience understands the personal and societal impact of disability and the benefits that accrue from inclusive community design and accommodating “can do” attitudes. Good design helps everyone!

As a blind person himself, Don has for years been involved in raising the public awareness of people with disabilities, their needs and the contribution they can make given reasonable accommodation.

In recognition of his lifelong commitment to the field of disability, he gained entry into the TV1 Attitude Hall of Fame in 2010 and was awarded the CNZM in 2014.

“38 years on statutory and not-for-profit boards in the health, disability and special education arenas has taught me that success comes with a sense of clear purpose, teamwork, the ability to listen, the right mix of service providers and users and an understanding of the facts”.

Snapshot of experience on governing boards and bodies:

  • Rotary Club of Waiheke, President, one and a half years
  • Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, Board of Directors, 28 years, 18 as Chair
  • Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand, (Homai College for the blind), Trustee, 8 years
  • Ministerial appointment, Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand, 5 years
  • Ministerial appointee to the Advisory Council for the Community Welfare of Disabled Persons, (Disestablished 1988), 6 years
  • National Executive, International Year of Disabled Persons, (IYDP, 1981), 1 year
  • Founder member and vice President, Disabled Persons Assembly, 3 years
  • New Zealand’s delegate to the inaugural meeting of Disabled Peoples International, Singapore, 1981
  • Advisory Committee on Disability Support Services, Ministry of Health, 2 years
  • National Health Committee Advisory Group on Care of People Who Are Dying, 3 years
  • National Executive, New Zealand Rehabilitation Association, 10 years
  • President, New Zealand Private Physiotherapists Association, 7 years
  • Council member, New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists, 8 years
  • President, New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists, Auckland Branch, 3 years.


Don, when we first started working together I joked that we had a tiger by the tail and we laughed. As you leave our organisation in a formal capacity, I want to let you know that, to me, you continue to epitomise “all strength needs no force” and I give your oft quoted words to me in times when I needed them most back to you, Kia Kaha!

Whether we knew you personally or not I take this opportunity to extend the thanks of our community for everything you have so freely and generously done for us. It’s nice knowing you will stick around and offer some advice when we need it! 😊


Call for expressions of interest for Deafblind Association of New Zealand Charitable Trust Board

The Board are looking for expressions of interest for up to two new board members. 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.

The Board holds regular monthly meetings by Zoom and has three sub-committees: Finance; Employment and Compensation; and Ethics, Compliance and Risk. These committees meet separately and report back to the Board meeting. One to two meetings per annum are held in person where possible.

A deliberate decision taken at the founding of Deafblind Association New Zealand was the forming of a charitable trust to provide a different culture to previous organisations for the deafblind in Aotearoa New Zealand. As a charitable trust, the organisation listens to the community but does not have voting members.


Chevening international scholarships programme

Information on this opportunity comes to us via the Pacific Disability Forum:

Applications for 2024-2025 Chevening Scholarships are open from until 7 November 2023!

Chevening is the UK government’s international scholarships programme. Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and partner organisations, Chevening enables outstanding emerging leaders from all over the world to study in the UK for one year on a fully funded master’s degree course.

Description: There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ Chevening Scholar, but those who are successful tend to have ambition, leadership qualities, and a passion for influencing positive change in their home countries.

We encourage you to apply if you meet our eligibility criteria and other requirements. Your gender, age (there is no upper age limit), sexual orientation, religion, marriage or parenthood status, caste, class, or other attributes do not matter to us. What matters is your ability to submit a thoughtful application that demonstrates you are capable of excelling on an intense master’s course in the UK, and that you have a clear vision for your future.

Eligibility: There are minimum requirements for work and study experience:

  • Chevening Scholarships require that applicants have at least two years of work experience. This can be in full, part time employment, volunteer or internship roles.
  • Have completed all components of an undergraduate degree that will enable you to gain entry onto a postgraduate programme at a UK university by the time you submit your application. This is typically equivalent to an upper second-class 2:1 honours degree in the UK but may be different depending on your course and university choice.

More information on Chevening in New Zealand (Chevening)



There are no new events this week but event reminders are included below the sign-off.


Links to other newsletters

DPA Information Exchange: 30 September 2023

Office for Seniors: Seniors Newsletter October 2023

Please note, access to our weekly emails and other updates and news are also available on our website via our news and 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,
Amanda and Sarah


Event reminders

2023 General Election

Voting starts on Monday 2 October and finishes at 7pm on election day, Saturday 14 October. Information about enrolling in alternate formats is available through our website via the following link.

2023 general election

DPA Information Exchange: Election 2023 Edition

Wednesday 18 October RNZFB Board Meeting via Zoom from 6:00-9:00pm

For those members who wish to observe, please let the Board Secretary (Diana Chandler) know by emailing boardsecretary@blindlowvision.org.nz or calling the Contact Centre on 0800 24 33 33. Details were provided in 29 September update.

Nelson Arts Festival 19 – 29 Oct 2023

Nelson Arts Festival are offering three audio described events / experiences and one pre-recorded audio described tour within the festival this year. Details were provided in 15 September update. For more information:

Text/Call: 027 241 4599

Email: access@nelsonartsfestival.nz

Nelson Arts Festival website

Tauranga Arts Festival 19 – 29 October 2023

A link to a word document with information from Audio Described Aotearoa follows.

Tauranga Arts Festival Audio Description (DOCX 482 KB)

Tauranga Arts Festival website

Auckland – Tim Bray Theatre Company Audio Described performances of Roald Dahl’s The Twits Wednesday 18 October, 10:30am show, 9:30am touch tour. Māngere Arts Centre, Māngere: The show is 50-60 minutes long, designed for ages 5-10.

Details provided in 5 August update.

5 August update

Christchurch Saturday 28 October – Court Theatre Audio Described Performance – The Haka Party Incident audio described performance 2pm and touch tour. Please contact the Box Office on 03 963 0870 directly to book. Details were provided in 29 September update.

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

  • Wellington – St James Theatre – Saturday 28 October, 1.30pm.
  • 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.

Details were provided in 1 September update.

1 September update

RNZFB Annual Meeting

Saturday 11 November in Christchurch

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)

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

2024 Activity Deafblind International Youth Network (DbIYN)

Monday 30th September to Friday 4th 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