Weekly update: 5 August 2023

Kia ora tatou,

Hello to All of Us,

Kevin, President Deafblind Association NZ, and I returned from Ottawa a few days ago after attending the Deafblind International 18th World Conference. There were 510 people at conference and all of them so rich in knowledge around deafblind and our issues, and so willing to share. We did a lot of listening and also a lot of networking. I feel like I actually spoke to 700 people! We learned about accessibility in a wide range of areas including technology, retrofit bathrooms, and do you know there is a system that you can unlock your door with your thumb print instead of a key? I will be investigating if this is available in Aotearoa NZ.

For a few weeks to come I will be popping out to you links to some of the transcriptions.

Many countries around the globe have legislation that identifies deafblindness as a distinct disability. The first step they engaged in was with their community to consult about a definition of deafblindness that is representative of needs and culturally appropriate to the individual country. Currently we are using the Nordic definition and I have always thought it is pretty good. Let me know what you think and what you might change to make it specific to Aotearoa NZ. Here it is:

“A combined vision and hearing impairment of such severity that it is hard for the impaired senses to compensate for each other. Thus, deafblindness is a distinct disability.

“Main implications

“To varying degrees, deafblindness may limit activities, thus restricting full participation in society. It affects social life, communication, access to information, orientation, and the ability to move around freely and safely. To compensate for the combined vision and hearing impairment, the tactile sense becomes especially important.”

Amanda with Assistance Dog Coco

Amanda is standing in a hallway with a black labrador in harness. Amanda is wearing a summer dress and is smiling.

The next Deafblind International Quadrennial will be held in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2027 so plenty of time to get saving!


Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill not to progress before election

Juliana Carvalho for the Access Matters Campaign Team and Head of Advocacy at Blind Low Vision NZ provided the following update.

In a statement through the Press Secretary of the Office of the Minister for Disability Issues, the Minister Hon Priyanca Radhakrishnan, announced:

“I recognise the [Accessibility for New Zealanders] Bill does not necessarily reflect what many disabled people asked for, but I believe it represents a positive step forward that will make a real difference for disabled people and their whānau.

“The Accessibility Bill has always been intended as enabling legislation. This means the legislation will not immediately solve the broad range of accessibility issues experienced by disabled New Zealanders, but it does establish ongoing mechanisms to respond over time to accessibility barriers.

“It would also increase public accountability on accessibility through the establishment of an Accessibility Committee. The Committee will be able to make recommendations to Government to improve accessibility, drawing on a range of options such as increased training and education, increased funding and information provision, and the development of standards and regulations.

“I see the Bill as an opportunity to cement a commitment to improve accessibility and ensure disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori are involved in and guiding key advice on accessibility at the highest level.

“However, given the level of opposition to the Bill in its current form, I am seeking advice on what the next steps could be. Following Select Committee, responsibility for the Bill has transferred from the Ministry of Social Development to Whaikaha.

“I don’t intend to progress the Bill before the upcoming election.”

End of statement, Access Matter comment follows.

Why is this good news?

  • Because the Labour Government won’t be simply checking off this Bill on their pre-election to-do list.
  • Going forward, we will engage with Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People rather than dealing with Ministry of Social Development officials, who gave poor advice to MPs during the Select Committee process.
  • This gives us hope to make significant improvements to the Bill, ensuring it has the necessary authority and effectiveness.

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini.

It is not my strength alone, but the strength of many that contributes to my success.

Link to Access Matters Aotearoa website follows.

Access Matters Aotearoa


World Federation of the Deafblind Survey on Older Persons

Reminder: The last day to complete the WFDB survey on the global situation of older persons with deafblindness is this Sunday 6 August (in their time). Information was provided in the 23 July update.

23 July update

A link to the survey as a word document follows.

2023 WFDB Survey on Older Persons with Deafblindness (IDA) (DOCX 990 KB)


Feedback requested on E-scooter (Declaration not to be motor vehicles) Notice 2018

Reminder: Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency survey deadline is 7th August. Details were provided in 23 July update.

23 July update

A link to the online survey follows.

e-Scooter declaration survey (Waka Kotahi)


The story of The DStarList

This comes to us from Martine Abel-Williams via the Blind Discuss List

Over a year ago now, the Human Rights Commission worked along-side Curative, a social change agency in the disability space on Project Mobilise, to help change attitudes around disability. Some of you would have participated in their focus groups with disabled as well as non-disabled persons, as their contact details got promoted on this and other lists.

This worked carried on to the formation of a trust and that trust is now independently funded via philanthropic means I think (not sure if they’re also receiving central government funding.

They’re asking people to visit their website, or people could also sign up to their weekly email newsletter – the link for that newsletter sign-up follows. If you enter your email there they’ll send you a weekly update.

The D*List Delivered (newsletter on Substack)

If by any chance you have a hard copy of this new publication, you should be able to scan the QR code which one can feel/locate on the inside of the first page, from your phone basic camera app – and then tap the link that appears, to listen to an audio copy. It has an audio bar at the top of the page that you can play to listen to the audio book version. If you do not have the hard copy booklet then following is the link to the page!

Dawn: The Story of The D*List (The D*List)

I’m not one of their trustees but got featured in this publication; that’s why a hard copy booklet including the QR code for its audio version was forwarded to me. Other disabled persons you may know also feature in this publication.

Ngā mihi ,



Webinar notice from Blind Low Vision NZ

On August 8 at 10:00 a.m. the Employment and Youth Transition Team, as part of our monthly webinar series, welcomes Jonathan Mosen, CEO of Workbridge and leader in the disability community for an informative discussion about Workbridge’s services and his personal and professional experiences as a blind employer and employee.

You can register for the webinar by emailing employmenttransition@blindlowvision.org.nz

If you are unable to attend the webinar and would like to ask questions, please email Sarah Mitchell smitchell@blindlowvision.org.nz or Bonnie Mosen at bmosen@blindlowvision.org.nz

A recording will be made available and Zoom links will be sent prior to the event.

About Jonathan Mosen

Jonathan Mosen MNZM is CEO of Workbridge, the largest New Zealand-owned agency dedicated to the employment of disabled people. He also hosts the popular Living Blindfully podcast, heard by members of the blind community in more than 113 countries.

Jonathan has been totally blind from birth and is also hearing impaired. He has been a thought leader, broadcaster, podcaster, advocate, change agent, government relations professional, author, senior manager, DPO leader, information technology consultant, Internet start-up founder, candidate for Parliament, IT product designer, and non-profit Chair. He is married to Bonnie and has four children – two daughters and two sons, as well as a granddaughter.

Jonathan was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2019 for his services to the blind community and has received numerous other awards for his work for blind people.

NZ Opera and NZSO audio described Touch Tours and Performances of Bluebeard’s Castle in Wellington and Christchurch

New Zealand Opera in collaboration with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra are offering touch tours and audio described performances of Béla Bartók’s trailblazing, psychologically penetrating opera Bluebeard’s Castle.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear a live performance of Bartók’s first and only opera. This innovative and moving production of Bluebeard’s Castle from Theatre of Sound (UK), reimagines the work as a love story between a long-married couple living with dementia.

Performed by your New Zealand Opera and National Orchestra, Bartók’s music draws deeply from the well of traditional Hungarian folk music, giving this age-old story a 20th-century injection of loneliness and fear.

A free touch tour is held before the performance and allows you to explore some of the set pieces on stage, feel costumes, handle key props and learn more about the bespoke percussion instruments NZSO musicians have built for this performance.

We are delighted that Kevin Keys from Audio Described Aotearoa will be broadcasting the live commentary for each performance.

Wellington, Thursday, 10 August 5.30pm Touch tour, 7.30pm performance, Michael Fowler Centre.

Christchurch, Saturday, 12 August, 5:30pm touch tour, 7:30pm performance, Christchurch Town Hall, Christchurch Central.

Concert duration: one hour (without any interval).

Tickets: $35 Adults, $25 Child.

No booking service fee required. Seats situated in the front stalls. A free companion ticket is available if required and guide dogs are welcome.

For more information or to register interest for the audio described performance and the touch tour, please contact NZSO Education & Community Engagement Senior Manager, Pascale Parenteau 027 293 8865, or email pascale.parenteau@nzso.co.nz

Tim Bray Theatre Company presents Audio Described performances of Roald Dahl’s The Twits

Dates and venues: The PumpHouse Theatre, Takapuna on Tuesday 19 September and Saturday 7 October. 1pm show, 12pm touch tour and at Māngere Arts Centre, Māngere: Wednesday 18 October, 10:30am show, 9:30am touch tour. The show is 50-60 minutes long, designed for ages 5-10.

Roald Dahl continues to delight readers of all ages, and now Tim Bray Theatre company brings this iconic story to you live on stage! Giggle and gasp at the antics of Mr and Mrs Twit, a hideous and hilarious couple who love to play nasty pranks on each other and their pet monkeys, the Muggle-Wumps. Glass eyeball in your drink anyone? How about worm spaghetti made with real worms? And bird pie made with real … you get it. Ugghh! Luckily, when Mr Twit tries to create the world’s first Great Upside Down Monkey Circus, the Twits get a dose of their own nasty medicine. A brilliantly entertaining show for Roald Dahl fans of all ages.

Link to website with more information about the show follows.

Tim Bray Theatre: The Twits

This show is on track to completely sell out fast, so book soon to avoid missing out. $25 discount price access tickets available for blind/low vision audience and a companion. Book tickets online at the following link:

Tim Bray Threatre: accessible performances

or call The PumpHouse at 09 489 8360

After booking, call Gail at 09 486 2261 to reserve your headset and book the touch tour.

In My Mind Conference

We invite you to join us for In My Mind LGBTQIA+ Black and Peoples of Color Mental Health Hybrid Conference. This year, our ninth, with our title and theme, “Embracing Differences” – Uplifting LGBTQIA+ Black and Peoples of Color Disability Communities, will be held on Thursday, Oct 12, from 9:00am to 5:30pm at Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY.

A link to the In My Mind website follows.

In My Mind Conference

We are working to ensure that LMSWs, LCSWs, LMHCs attending presentations could receive CEUs/CRCs; the Program will be updated to reflect CEU/CRC eligible presentations. A website link to the draft programme follows.

Draft program (In My Mind)

Early registration is underway, and expires on August 31.


Links to other newsletters

Blind Sport New Zealand: 31 July update

Carers New Zealand: 4 August update

Office for Disability Issues

Office for Disability Issues: Brian Coffey to new role at Whaikaha

Office for Seniors: August Seniors Newsletter

Links to the recent DPA Information Exchange newsletter follow.

Information Exchange 30 July (DPA)

Information Exchange 24 July (DPA)

A link to the recent Disability Connect follows.

This newsletter includes information on two workshops in Penrose on 9th and 16th August on how to put the theory of Enabling Good Lives into practice when planning for your next needs assessment as well as how to get the most from your supports.

Newsletter 3 August (Disability Connect)

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

FIFA Women’s World Cup Audio Description

Details on accessing this were provided in the 23 July update.

23 July update

The round-of-16 matches will take place from 5 to 8 August, with Stadium Australia hosting its first match of the tournament. A further five will take place in Australia and the remaining two matches will be played in New Zealand (Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau and Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara).

The quarter-finals are on 11 and 12 August split between the two hosts, with matches in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau, Brisbane/Meeanjin, Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara and Stadium Australia in Sydney/Gadigal.

Both New Zealand and Australia will also host one semi-final each at Eden Park on 15 August and Stadium Australia on 16 August, while the match for third place will take place on 19 August at Brisbane Stadium, Australia. The final will take place on 20 August at Stadium Australia in Sydney.

Wellington Audio-described Screening at the New Zealand International Film Festival

Wellington Deluxe Cinemas, Embassy Theatre 10 Kent Terrace, Mount Victoria – Loop Track – 12 August at 10:00am.

Phone bookings: NZIFF Box Office 04 802 4001

Or email: access@nziff.co.nz

Audio described We Will Rock you in Palmerston North

Matinee show, 4pm Sunday 13 August at the Regent on Broadway, with a touch tour prior to the show at 2.30pm. Book in person at the Regent on Broadway box office or over the phone at 06 350 2100. Details were provided in 23 July update.

23 July update

Sunday 27 August, Braille House, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington – Deafblind Association NZ Annual General Meeting and gathering. Please email Sarah boardsecretary@deafblindassociation.nz or call Amanda on 0800 450 650 if you are interested in attending.

Wednesday 30 August, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington – Audio Described Performance of Wicked – the Untold Story of the Witches of Oz. Details were provided in 23 June update.

23 June update

19-20 October 2023, Tauranga Arts Festival – The Haka Party Incident Audio Described Performance atBaycourt Community and Arts Centre. Details and booking arrangements were provided in 19 June update.

19 June update

The Haka Party Incident Audio Described Performance Court Theatre Otautahi Christchurch. Show runs 25 October – 11 November 2023. Further details to come.

Election Access Fund – supports disabled people to be candidates in parliamentary general elections and by-elections, including helping candidates to complete an application. The 2023 General Election will be held on Saturday 14 October 2023. Nominations for candidates standing in this year’s General Election open on Monday 28 August and close at noon on 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)

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


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