Weekly update: 19 May 2023

Kia ora tatou,

Hello to all of us,

Ngā mihi maioha – regards and appreciation – to Blind Citizens NZ discuss list for some of the information in this mail out. Here are three highlights in respect of yesterday’s budget release that may positively affect our community from Paul Brown from that list, also Director of Audio Described Aotearoa.


  • Scrapping prescription charges.
  • Making permanent the 75% total mobility discount.
  • Getting rid of the Minimum Wage Exemption scheme and replacing it with a wage subsidy scheme.

Budget 2023: Government increases support to disabled people (NZ Doctor)


Yes Paul, we recognise your solidarity! I also loved hearing the cheering from the Office for Disability Issues regarding the “scrapping of the minimum wage exemption scheme”. This means some people can no longer be paid $2 an hour to untangle headphones etc. Some people have recognised this for a long time now and have been tackling this in a very proactive way. Here’s my thanks to the Cookie Project for all you continue to do. We’ll be getting in your cookies again for our Annual General Meeting. So let’s take a moment to appreciate that work is collaborative and that our Vision and Mission often recognises shared goals with other organisations.

Here’s a reminder of ours.

Vision: For deafblind New Zealanders and their families to be empowered, connected, and included.

Mission: To partner with deafblind New Zealanders to support opportunities for connection and inclusion. We work to promote and represent the interests of people with deafblindness, their families and carers, and to encourage self-determination by people who are deafblind.

We also congratulate Prudence Walker on appointment as Human Rights Commissioner!


European Access Legislation, article 1

Thank you to Jonathan Godfrey, President Association of Blind Citizens NZ, for the following information.

“Even if you read just the abstract, introduction and conclusion, it is evident that people are discussing access legislation in other jurisdictions than the US, Canada, and here.

“I’ll be looking for other reviews of the impact this European legislation is making. You may well see more posts as a result.


The EU Accessibility Act and Web Accessibility Directive and the implications for Digital Teaching and Learning Materials [version 1; peer review: 1 approved] (Routledge Open Research)


The European Accessibility Act and the EU Directive on Web Accessibility require that the online experience be made more accessible and inclusive for everyone. Currently, the focus is primarily centered on websites and online services associated with the public sector. However, as these online products and services improve these same legal requirements are likely to also impact digital teaching and learning materials created for and by educators in the coming years. There are many online and on campus courses (accredited and unaccredited) available to help to guide and inform educators on the importance of using high quality digital materials that are truly accessible. Many courses also provide the instruction that is necessary in creating such digital resources. However, a “knowing-doing” gap still prevails. This article discusses the impact of the new regulations associated with the European Accessibility Act and the EU Directive on Web Accessibility for the education sector in Ireland and provides some recommendations on what can be done to address the “knowing-doing gap” and support faculty to create high quality digital teaching and learning materials.

Corresponding Author: Ann Marcus-Quinn

Competing Interests: No competing interests were disclosed.

Grant Information: The author(s) declared that no grants were involved in supporting this work.

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Open Access Copyright: © 2022 Marcus-Quinn A. This is an open access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

First version published: 22 Dec 2022, 1:30 (The EU Accessibility Act and Web Accessibility Directive and the implications for Digital Teaching and Learning Materials [version 1; peer review: 1 approved] (Routledge Open Research)

Latest version published: 22 Dec 2022, 1:30 (The EU Accessibility Act and Web Accessibility Directive and the implications for Digital Teaching and Learning Materials [version 1; peer review: 1 approved] (Routledge Open Research)


BLENNZ sector forum about the New Zealand curriculum refresh


What is communication about?

Communication is interaction between people enabling them to relate to others and to participate and contribute in their whānau and community. Effective communication is dependent on expressive and receptive modes with a mutual understanding between participants.

Why is it important?

Communication is one of the ways we receive information about our environment and the means by which we interact with or respond to our environment. For all ākonga to be connected, included, heard and respected they need to express themselves in a variety of ways, through language, behaviours, creative expression, gesture, movement, voice, touch, hands, or facial expression. Communication encompasses social skills and concept development.

Source: BLENNZ expanded core curriculum

Last week we provided Board Member Don McKenzie’s feedback on his attendance at the forum on 3rd May. This week we bring further information from Alison Prskawetz, Coordinator Visual Resource Centres on behalf of BLENNZ.

Kia ora,

Thank you so much for your engagement at the BLENNZ Sector Forum about the New Zealand Curriculum refresh. Our thanks to you and your respective organisations for your commitment with this exciting new curriculum Te Mātaiaho. Thank you to those that have provided feedback from the day it was very helpful information and thinking points. Please feel free to send feedback if you haven’t done so already.

As promised, links to the two word document transcripts of the videos that were shared follow:

Dr Wayne Ngata on Te Mataiaho (DOCX 24 KB)

Why Te Mataiaho (DOCX 18 KB)

As part of the process of the National curriculum refresh, we as you know are refreshing the BLENNZ curriculum (Expanded Core Curriculum). At this time we are gathering ākonga voice and teacher voice, we would also like to gather voices from the sector.We hope you might assist us in this process. A link to the BLENNZ Expanded Core Curriculum areas as a word document follows:

BLENNZ expanded core curriculum (DOCX 34 KB)

The key question we have after listening to the young person panel is: In the New Zealand context what would we add or takeaway to the Expanded Core Curriculum to give BLENNZ ākonga the best opportunities to achieve to their fullest potential?

We would appreciate getting your feedback no later than May 31st.

Ngā mihi

Alison Prskawetz
Coordinator Visual Resource Centres


Election Access Fund – applications welcome

Disabled Parliamentary Candidates may have costs for support people

The Election Access Fund supports disabled people to be candidates in parliamentary general elections and by-elections.

The purpose of the fund is to reduce the cost barriers disabled people face by covering disability-related costs which non-disabled candidates do not face. The Fund is for both those seeking selection to be a candidate, and those campaigning as a candidate.

The Electoral Commission is responsible for running the Fund, and it has been accepting applications since 31 October 2022. We continue to welcome applications for funding for the upcoming General Election, which will be held on Saturday 14 October. We can help candidates to complete an application – so get in touch if this is of assistance.

Nominations for candidates standing in this year’s General Election close at noon, Friday 15 September.

More information and resources are available at the following website links.

Information about becoming a candidate in a General Election.

Becoming a candidate in a general election (Electoral Commission)

Information about the Election Access Fund and how to apply, including in alternate formats.

Application guidelines in alternate formats (Electoral Commission)


Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind – draft board minutes 29 April 2023

A link to the minutes as a word document follows.

RNZFB final draft minutes 29 April 2023 (DOCX KB)



Saturday 17 June 2023 10.30am–12.00pm Auckland Art Gallery free audio-described tour of Brent Harris: The Other Side

The new exhibition Brent Harris: The Other Side tour will be led by Alexis Smaill one of the gallery’s wonderful Volunteer Guides and audio described by Nicola Owen of Audio Described Aotearoa.

Brent Harris is well known for haunting imagery that is often charged with an emotional intensity. Over a career of more than four decades, Harris has developed a significant body of work including paintings, prints and drawings. Please note that there are themes within this exhibition relating to desire, sexuality, familial relationships, mortality, identity and spirituality that may be challenging for some visitors.

Born in Palmerston North in 1956, Harris moved to Melbourne in 1981 to study at the Victorian College of the Arts and he has lived there ever since. In 2016, following the death of his father, he felt able to return to his country of birth after an absence of several decades. It was an episode in his life that resulted in an intense period of artistic production. Brent Harris: The Other Side, guest curated by Jane Devery, is the first major survey exhibition of the artist’s work to be held in Aotearoa New Zealand and runs from Saturday 6 May to Sunday 17 Sep 2023 .

This is a free Audio Described Tour and exhibition. A website link to book your ticket for the audio described tour for blind and low vision visitors follows:

Register for Brent Harris: The Other Side | audio described tour (eventfinda)

You can also book and pay by calling eventfinda on 0800 289 849.

Saturday 27 May 10:30am – 12pm free audio-described touch tour: Robin White at Dunedin Public Art Gallery

Join us for a free audio described tour for blind and low-vision visitors through *Robin White: Te Whanaketanga / Something is Happening Here*.

The exhibition brings together works from Robin White’s 50-year career, including celebrated portraits and local landscapes from the 1970s, and the ambitious collaborative works she has made with artists from across the Pacific and Aotearoa New Zealand in recent years.

This tour is led by Nicola Owen of Audio Described Aotearoa Ltd, with touch pieces generously provided by the artist.

Please book your place/s and tickets for companions through Eventfinda or by emailing or phoning the gallery. Meet in gallery main foyer.

Register for audio described touch tour: Robin White (eventfinda)

You can email the Gallery’s Visitor Programmes-Coordinator using the address below.


Phone: 03 474 3260.

Siblings – call for disabled people and their whānau to collaborate in a theatre production in Onehunga, Auckland

Siblings is a brand new theatre show devised by Director Barnie Duncan, Associate Director Pelenakeke Brown and members of the D/deaf and tāngata whaikaha/disabled community and their siblings.

We are looking for a group of people interested in taking part as storytellers/performers/devisers for this professional production. In this first stage of development we will be inviting (paid) participants to work with our creative team to contribute their experiences of living in a family with different needs, and to then build skills as a group to shape these stories into a production that is also accessible to our audiences, regardless of their disability.

We invite anyone with experience with disability, D/deaf, hard of hearing, sick or chronic illness, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments. We are interested in your experiences and do not ask anyone to verify or explain any diagnosis. No previous theatre experience required!

About the show

If you are someone who happens to have grown up with a brother or sister; or, maybe you didn’t grow up with them but they still feature in your life; then you will understand the peculiar and nuanced relationship-storm that exists within the universe of ‘siblings’.

When a member of a sibling unit is a person with a disability, this universe becomes even more nuanced. What are the orbits, gravitational laws, shooting stars and physics of this universe? How far can we expand what a sibling actually means? Does this relationship occur in say, plants? (yes, it does!)

As a starting point we want to use the domestic as the magnifying glass: going shopping with your older brother; making the obligatory ‘catch up’ phone call; or folding a fitted sheet with your sister. It is within situations like these where we can mine for gold.

Who are we looking for?

  • You will either have a disability or be the sibling of someone with a disability so that you have lived experience of what this unique relationship brings into your life.

What do we need from you?

  • Ability to commit to rehearsals and showings between 30 May and 2 July (10.30am till 3.30pm on Tuesday/Wednesday and Friday) plus two half days in the final weekend for showings. We will work with you to determine your support needs or requirements for these sessions.
  • Ability to travel to Onehunga to the rehearsal venue (we can discuss support if required)
  • Openness to trying new things! Theatre workshops are fun and we explore themes and ideas in many different ways.
  • Alternatively you can contribute via zoom or conversation with our creative team if this schedule is too intensive or you are not Auckland based.

What do we offer?

  • An opportunity to be part of shaping and / or performing in a new theatre work guided by experienced theatre makers
  • A chance to connect with others in an accessible, supportive, creative environment to develop skills and share your ideas and experiences.
  • Payment for your time and input (if you are selected to be part of the core team for the show).

To find out more or to express your interest in taking part, we will be holding a free workshop and information session on Sunday 21 May, 11am till 2pm (lunch included)

*Venue: Factory Theatre, Onehunga*

Please email siblings@flock.nz for more information or to register for the workshop.

More information available online at the link below.

Siblings (Flock)


DPA’s Information Exchange 12 May

The latest Information Exchange is available in your browser at the following link.

Information Exchange 12 May 2023 (DPA: mailchimp)

As usual, event reminders and TellMe phone numbers follow.

Ngā mihi mahana,
Warm regards,


Event reminders

Sunday 4 June, New Plymouth – Operatic Society Backstage Touch Tour and Audio Described performance of the G.J. Gardner Homes season of We Will Rock You.

Details in 5 May update

Disability Connect upcoming webinars

Bookings required. Details were provided in 12th May update.

Thursday 15th June 6:30 – 9:30pm Planning for Adulthood. Further details are available at the following website link.

Adulthood webinar (disability connect)

Thursday 22nd June 11:30 – 2pm Education Legal Issues. Further details are available at the following website link.

Education webinar (disability connect)

Other events

26 June to 1 July Deafblind Awareness Week – anywhere or anything you want it to be.

Details in 5 May update

Wednesday 28 June, New Plymouth – Backstage Touch Tour and Audio Described Performance of The Haka Party Incident by Katie Wolfe. Part of Taranaki Arts Festival.

Details in 5 May update

Sunday 27 August, Braille House, Wellington – Deafblind Association NZ Annual General Meeting and gathering. Please email Sarah boardsecretary@deafblindassociation.nz if you are interested in attending.

Friday 30 June – closing date for BANZAT call for expressions of interest in becoming a Trustee.

Details in 5 May update

September/October Training Programme for Public Sector Directors offered by Victoria University applications are open.

Details in 28 April update

Contact Girol and Tania at the following email addresses.




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 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

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