Weekly update: 7 June 2024

Kia ora Tatou,

Hello to all of us,

With the global work on Social Haptics for deafblind, and personally I feel it would benefit blind as well, I connected into a webinar at 3:30am a few nights ago. It is on Social Haptics supporting someone’s hobby of astronomy. When the link comes up I will send it to you via Sarah’s magic technology wand! In the meantime, we have picked up this information on Social Haptics from Deafblind Information Australia’s website as an introduction, and we reproduce it below.

Touch is perhaps the earliest developing and longest lasting of our senses. Social Haptic Communication is broadly defined as the interaction of two or more people in a social context where messages are conveyed using the sense of touch. These messages (or haptices) may contain, but are not limited to information about emotion, facial expression, to map out the environment or a room layout and describing other visual or auditory information such as art or music.

This system originated in Finland and was created by Dr Ritta Lahtinen and Russ Palmer.

Social Haptics can be applied across the spectrum of language users, from those with highly complex signed or spoken language to those just beginning their journey into language and communication.

Social-haptic communication approach makes the interaction easier and more efficient among deafblind people, family members and friends, interpreters and other professionals. Thus it improves the quality of information for the deafblind person and gives the person more real-time, spontaneous information about the environment around them.

“The more we use our body and touch, the more sensitive I have become in receiving and interpreting touch messages. Touch will give greater quality to our discussions and interactions, without it, the information does not have the true value. It also saves our energy and any misunderstandings. Touch will give me information on how other people are behaving, their feedback, non verbal cues and emotions very quickly. It is very important to have feedback to my responses. This means that I am able to be on more equal terms with other people. For me, touch gives a feeling of security and without contact I feel isolated. Being open towards each other is the key”

Lahtinen, R. & Palmer, R. (1996) Holistic Family Communication. Spoken Language by Touch is more than just Words. 4th European Deafblind Conference, Expoo, Finland.

Social Haptics (Deafblind Information Australia)


10 years of IAAD: A decade of collective progress

Next Thursday, 13 June marks a decade since the launch of International Albinism Awareness Day. The theme this year is “10 years of IAAD: A decade of collective progress”. From the “NOAH” (US National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation) website: “Albinism is an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair and/or eyes. Albinism occurs in all racial and ethnic groups throughout the world. In the U.S., approximately one in 18,000 to 20,000 people has some type of albinism. In other parts of the world, the occurrence can be as high as one in 3,000. Most children with albinism are born to parents whose hair and eye color are typical for their ethnic backgrounds.” The link to their website follows.

National Organisation for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH)


United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

The 17th session of the Conference of States Parties (CoSP) to the CRPD will take place from Tuesday, June 11th to Thursday, June 13th at the UN headquarters in New York.

This will be preceded by a Civil Society Forum on Monday, June 10th.

The CoSP17 will be held largely in person, with UN WEB TV webcasting the main proceedings.

  • 10 June: In-person meeting of the Civil Society Forum;
  • 11 June: In-person meetings: Opening of the conference and matters related to the implementation of the Convention, General Debate;
  • 12 and 13 June: In-person meetings: roundtable discussions, interactive dialogue with the UN system, and the closing.

The entire conference can be followed through this link.

UN Web TV: 24 hour live and pre-recorded programming


United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)

The ‘UN DESA Voice’ newsletter for June acknowledges the conference with the following article:

Four things you should know about rethinking disability inclusion

The world is currently experiencing several crises, and the upcoming United Nations conference on persons with disabilities is focused on rethinking how we can better include persons with disabilities to build a more resilient and equitable future. With over 1.3 billion persons with disabilities worldwide, this conference is of great importance to advance and protect their rights. Here are four things you should know about rethinking disability inclusion:

  1. Technology and innovation for an accessible futureInternational cooperation is crucial to accelerate technology innovation and transfer for an inclusive future. Imagine AI that understands diverse communication styles or virtual reality training accessible to everyone. We need joint efforts to develop and share such technologies, ensuring they empower, not exclude.
  2. Inclusive emergency preparednessWhen emergencies and disasters hit, persons with disabilities are often disproportionately affected. Essential requirements such as accessible evacuation routes and emergency information in formats like sign language are frequently neglected. The conference will emphasize the need to reconsider emergency preparedness by implementing inclusive disaster risk reduction plans that have been developed globally to guarantee that assistance is provided to everyone.
  3. Unlocking equal employment opportunitiesHaving a decent job that is gratifying, fair and provides opportunities for self-determination is important for sustainable development. However, persons with disabilities are often marginalized due to discrimination and lack of access to workplaces. One important goal is to find ways to eliminate barriers to employment, such as creating a global job platform that emphasizes accessibility, offers skill development tailored to various needs, and thereby establishing ways for persons with disabilities to find fulfilling employment.
  4. Fostering a resilient, disability-inclusive worldUltimately, you should know that the goal of this conference is to promote international cooperation in order to build a more resilient and equitable world where disability is recognized as a strength. By focusing on innovation and technology, preparedness for emergencies, and economic empowerment with a disability-inclusive perspective, we can develop systems that support a variety of abilities and requirements.

Link for more information below.

17th Session of the Conference of States Parties (COSP17) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)



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

MSD Office for Seniors Newsletter June

Topics covered this month include:

  • World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
  • Senior New Zealander of the Year
  • Nymbl: App for strength and balance
  • Changes to residency criteria
  • Renewing your Licence
  • Bowel Cancer Awareness
  • Overseas travel requirements
  • Rachel McAlpine on fighting ageism
  • Power Credits Scheme
  • Matariki
  • Dementia friendly libraries

Link to newsletter below.

Seniors Newsletter June 2024

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.

This week the D*List launched a new web series called “Clickbait and Crutches” which is available on their website as four six minute episodes. It looks at how living online impacts our communities in different ways. The launch evening was described as reflecting “the heart of the series – while the internet has been hugely beneficial in making connecting with each other more accessible, there’s still so much value in gathering face-to-face.”

Link to more information and the videos.

Clickbait & Crutches: Community (The D*List)

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 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

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 2024Deafblind Awareness month – Yarn bombing

#DbIYarnBombing2024 – information was provided in 21 January update.

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.


24 May update

Saturday 6 July, Hamilton RNZFB Board meeting

Those observing 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.

Please note the cut-off date for any correspondence which members may wish to have raised at the upcoming meeting. Please ensure you have emailed the Board Secretary by latest 10 calendar days prior to the meeting to have your matter included in the agenda papers.

Minutes of these meetings are available on the TIS menu 313 or available by request.

The dates of the 2024 RNZFB Board meetings can be found on the Governance page of the BLVNZ site.

Governance (BLVNZ)

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.

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