Draft of Minutes of the AGM, 30th June 2018

This Draft will be made Final when approved at the next AGM.


Present: David Wilson (Chair), Kevin Prince, Lynda Stevenson, Georgie McLeod, Don McKenzie, Amanda Stevens (Executive Officer)

Observing: 2 from the deafblind community, 4 interpreters and 1 trainee interpreter for tactile signing, Lloyd Ellison, Kaye Ellison.

Apologies: None


Lloyd Ellison had been invited by the Chair to address the meeting prior to official business commencing. He spoke to where the Blind Foundation is going as an organisation and the challenges in meeting in a focused way the holistic needs of their members. The Chief Executive Officer and senior managers will again be touring the country as the Blind Foundation goes through a system transformation. Catherine Rae has formed a co-design team who met with members and staff for input on developing policies and procedures to remove “silos”. The Blind Foundation are developing “primary service provision” where needs can, on the whole, be met by one staff member. There will still be the facility to refer to a specialist person where necessary. PSP should be able to do most of the work. Orientation & Mobility Instructors currently overwhelmed by need. Training programmes are being delivered to level 7, 3 and also awareness training, e.g. deafblindness. There are two pilots for this, one in Christchurch and the next in Tauranga.

Deafblind Services

Part of Lloyd’s role includes making people more aware, e.g. Canterbury University, Audiological Society – seventeen presentations so far this year.

Lloyd’s Practice Advisor role – ever-changing needs of members means ongoing development of skills, including working with those with complex needs, support people, and carers for the six coordinators, all specialists in their field. There is also much work towards early-warning alarm systems as currently 600 are identifying as deafblind through the Blind Foundation, but this could be “up to 15,000” in reality.

Lloyd thanked Amanda for her collaborative work in preparing for the Helen Keller Day celebrations.

Amanda highlighted that a Blind Foundation member had noticed our contact details in Outlook and requested deafblind support and had been referred to Lloyd’s team. Those identifying and already connecting in Waikato have taken the opportunity for a page on Deafblind Association NZ’s website.

Don is sure that our work is collaboration, and the personal connection is especially important for deafblind. The new structure is called co-design. It was formerly case management, which really did work. A good relationship with audiology for deafblind is also very important to get the best out of their hearing aids. The Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ (BLENNZ) suggests that approximately a third of students may have a hearing impairment, and that tells us about what to expect in the future. Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and complex needs are going to be present more and more. Collaboration with Parents of Vision Impaired is very important to bring core-level, grassroots connections.

Dave thanked Lloyd and highlighted the need to connect also at an administrative level. Dave then resumed the meeting from the agenda. 

Declaration of Conflict of Interest, real or perceived:

None since the last AGM.

Confirmation of Minutes of previous meeting:                                 Moved by Don/Seconded by Kevin

Matters Arising from the Minutes:

No matters arising.

Chair’s Report – read by Georgie McLeod and to be circulated with these minutes.

Don spoke to our thanks to the Blind Foundation, and the single greatest challenge being the connection with deafblind on the ground so we can get to the heart of what needs to be done. Our work with Disability Support Services Consumer Consortium supports this. Amanda was thanked for her support.                                       Moved Don/Kevin 

Financial Report – read by Lynda Stevenson, Financial Controller for Deafblind Association NZ.

The Statement of Service Performance was read. A correction will be made in relating the full title of the Blind Foundation.                                                                            Moved Lynda/Don

Charity services (Internal Affairs) advised that our Annual Return was submitted on time for the 2016-17 year. The statutory requirements for Deafblind Association NZ Charitable Trust have been met.

Don notes that the Charities Services newsletter would be pleased to hear from users of Charities Services as there is a move to look at the Charities Act. Deafblind Association NZ should not be shy about having input, and information should be put out to our beneficiaries. In respect of changes, Lynda noted it is very easy to form an organisation that is not actually a charity. Don noted that economic and social outcomes must have accountability, so Deafblind Association NZ Charitable Trust should be taking notice in our points of activity.

General Business

Our Brand

Georgie – We are established and now we have some time to spend on our brand and “unpack” that and what is behind the logo. We can come to a place together with our community that resonates around why we are here. 


Discussion ensued around business cards and the quality of the Braille. In passing it was noted that ANZ Bank are issuing their cards with Braille on them. 

Fourth Quarterly Report to Blind Foundation

Reports are discussed with Catherine Rae, National Manager Independent Living at Blind Foundation, and phone meeting occurs at the time of submission of each report. It was suggested that voluntary hours are put into quarterly reports. We have been able to advise the Blind Foundation of three of their members identifying as deafblind who should now, as a consequence, receive deafblind-specific services. We now have a working platform. The annual Work Plan will be drafted in advance of the next Board meeting, and contract planning between Deafblind Association and Blind Foundation initiated. It was noted that the annual funding cycle with the Blind Foundation is not in line with our current financial year cycle.


Discussion circulated around Deafblind Association NZ’s priorities, with our community being requested for input ASAP along with input from today’s Meet & Greet. Burning issues should also be brought to the Board as a whole and the Board agreed to be open to this.


Additions to be added include:

  • Helen Keller Day Celebration link
  • AGM minutes, Chair’s Report, and Financial Report, along with notes from the afternoon’s Meet & Greet.

Any Other Business

The Blind Foundation have advised they know of 187 deafblind of working age, but do not have data on how many are employed. Amanda will write to Paul Barclay, Employment Consultant for the Blind Foundation. 

Data Services

This research company has contacted Deafblind Association NZ by phone to request our support in disseminating a survey to our community, driven by the Blind Foundation. The Board wants the following questions to be answered first:

  • Has the research been run through an ethics committee?
  • How is the research going to be used?
  • Are the questions well thought out?
  • Will critical analysis be applied?
  • Will results be shared amongst those who have contributed?

We would like to have faith this research is going to be used in a meaningful way. Amanda is to write a letter from the Board to the person at the Blind Foundation who is driving this research, expressing concern that in the initial contact with Data Research their phone script had included “those suffering from blindness or low vision”. 

Volunteer Support

We need to negotiate with the Blind Foundation in order to be able to bring volunteer services to deafblind by negotiation through process and getting consistent and effective national policy. Amanda advised a letter has been sent to Blair Gilbert, Blind Foundation National Manager Community and Life Enrichment.

Equipment for Deafblind

The Ministry of Health need us on their radar in a stronger way, in addition to the Disability Support Services Consumer Consortium representation, in terms of equipment and funding for the combination of hearing and sight loss. There are definite restrictions, and the Board believes our organisation needs to get the compounding effects of dual sensory loss in the minds of the Ministry of Health and make representations. There will be technical developments, and perhaps iPhones could be funded. It is a conversation in which consciousness needs to be raised. This will be added to the Work Plan.

Additional points the Board requested of the Executive Officer:

  • Identify Blind Foundation National Manager Employment Services and make request for research into employment figures of deafblind.
  • Write to Patrick Pink, BLENNZ, around whether the data is yet available around incidence of hearing loss in their student population. This is around planning for the future.

There being no further general business the meeting closed at 12:20pm.