Weekly update: 8 September 2023

Kia ora Tatou,

Hello to all of us,

Two of my favourite things about spring: Being an early riser I am most often up well before the birds in the winter. In the spring we wake up together and I am thankful to still be able to hear them and converse about the day. The other thing I love is that, having shed coats and gloves, I am renewed in wellbeing because of the Vitamin D I get when I spend time in the garden. It’s just a shame the weeds love the spring as much as I do!

This week Kevin and I spent some time in the virtual world of a conference in Venice focused on Social Haptics development around the globe. What is most exciting to me is that universities are getting funding to develop and consult around how Social Haptics can increase wellbeing for deafblind people so we can connect to so many aspects of our world for a fuller, richer life. Kevin and I used Haptics in Ottawa recently and it just made life so much easier for Both of us. He didn’t have to wait for a pause in my conversation to tell me he was leaving and I knew he had gone, often where, and approximately how long he would be gone. All in a simple body sign. We talk a lot about self-determination and this is the living and breathing of it for me because I can easily make decisions and have control over for example how I would mobilise next. All of that encompassed in one gesture and one second! Your questions around development of Social Haptics in the Aotearoa context welcome. Just email, call, or text! You can also reach out to Blind Low Vision NZ Deafblind Coordinators and BLENNZ. They will be able to support your communication.

For those of you interested in technology and what it can do for us, I note that Pacific Vision are releasing a braille display called an Activator. I haven’t looked at it thoroughly however it looks like a braille display – very exciting – and a qwerty keyboard in one linked to an iPhone. Not so good of course if you don’t work with an iPhone. I can envisage huge potential for the intersectionality of learners of Braille, those entering or established in the workforce, and those of us excited about how we can work smarter, not harder. Perhaps you just have that technology excitement. I’m most interested in upskilling my braille alongside the reassurance of a keyboard style I am used to. I started life as a visual learner, struggled to grow all the neural pathways to transition to an audio learner when I lost my sight, and am still growing new ones transitioning into a tactile world now I identify as deafblind. I think the Activator is worth a gander!

Last week I promised more about our work in Ottawa and I am coming back again to research done with older deafblind persons, their caregivers, and their “Church for the Deaf chaplains. Sarah has put the power point presentation into a Word document for us – thank you Sarah! Aimee will put it up on our website in the next couple of days, and we can easily email it to you in full upon request. There is a great reference list at the bottom of the document. Once again we welcome your thoughts and especially around cultural spirituality in the Aotearoa context. Here is a wee taster because I would not do it justice in précis.

Vulnerability, (Dis)Trust, and (No)Fellowship: Existential Encounters Between Older Patients with Acquired Deafblindness and Caregivers

Presented by Daniel Prause, PhD

Signo Conrad Svendsen senter

Oslo, Norway



“Care is a state in which something does matter;

it is the source of human tenderness.”

Rollo May (1909-1994)

(Love and Will, 1969, p. 289)

Overall aims

  • To explore the lived experiences of older patients with acquired deafblindness with receiving existential care.
  • To explore the lived experiences of caregivers providing existential care to older patients with acquired deafblindness.

Why is the study important?

  • Deafblindness is a combined vision and hearing impairment of such severity that it is hard for the impaired senses to compensate for each other. (Nordic Welfare Centre, n.d.).
  • Increasing number of older persons with acquired deafblindness.
  • Healthcare systems are increasingly encountering deafblind patients in various settings (hospitals, nursing homes, homecare nursing).
  • Lack of knowledge.
  • Sensory loss receives little attention.
  • Older deafblind persons are often unidentified, undiagnosed, or misinterpreted.

Existential challenges

  • Social isolation.
  • Loneliness.
  • Depression.
  • Lack of self-esteem.
  • Identity challenges.

This is intensified in older persons with acquired deafblindness.

The existential dimension is about:

  • Being a human
  • Facing death
  • Control
  • Meaning in life
  • Demanding life situations
  • Suffering
  • Re-orientation
  • Religious, spiritual and secular worldviews.(Nygaard et al., 2022)


Pacific Vision Upcoming Release: JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion 2024

We are excited to announce that Version 2024 of JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion will be available on October 23, 2023.

Software Maintenance Agreements (SMAs) for Version 2024 and Version 2025 are available to purchase prior to the release of Version 2024.

Keeping your license up-to-date ensures the best experience as each new version adds bug fixes and new features.

If you are already licensed for Version 2023 and choose to renew your SMA before the release of Version 2024, you will automatically be entitled to use Version 2024 when it is released, plus Version 2025 when it is released in late 2024.

If you would like to purchase an SMA or if your version is older than 2023 and you wish to upgrade, please contact our offices:

Email: office@pvi.co

Phone: 03 376 5071

Link to The Activator update from Pacific Vision in your browser.

Introducing The Activator (Pacific Vision)


Blind Low Vision NZ CV Writing Professional Development Webinar

Tuesday 12 September at 10am.

Writing a CV or resume can be one of the most stressful parts of the job seeking process. You want to highlight all your great skills and accomplishments without sounding arrogant or selling yourself short.

That’s why Sarah Mitchell and Bonnie Mosen from Blind Low Vision’s Employment and Youth Transition team are inviting you to a fun and informative discussion about writing a CV that hopefully will land you an interview.

Join the Webinar, where to learn about:

  • Best format and length
  • What to include
  • How to adjust your CV for specific jobs,
  • What employers and recruiters are actually looking for
  • How to make it a fun exercise!

There is no need to pre-register, just mark this date and time in your diary and join via Zoom at the link below:

Direct link to the CV Writing webinar (Zoom)

If the link doesn’t work, copy paste the following into your browser window.



Work Ready Webinar Recordings

Did you miss the August webinar? Or did you want to go back and listen to Workbridge CEO, Jonathan Mosen, again? A recording is now available on the Blind Low Vision NZ website at the following link:

A link to the Work Ready Webinar Recordings webpage follows.

Work ready webinar recordings (Bling Low Vision NZ)

Go ahead and bookmark that webpage as it will continue to be updated with new webinar recordings as and when they are ready.


Oppenheim Tertiary Education Trust Fund

Applications open on Monday 18 September for the Oppenheim 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.

The Support Grants webpage on the Blind Low Vision NZ website is available at the following link:

Support grants (Blind Low Vision NZ)

For further information, call the contact centre on 0800 24 33 33.

Sarah Mitchell and Bonnie Mosen

Blind Low Vision NZ

Employment and Youth Transition


Half of the Sky, Audio Described Performance Auckland

This information comes from Accessibility – Auckland Live via Mary Schnackenberg.

We are delighted to let you know there will be an audio-described performance of the moving & powerful play Half of the Sky presented by Massive Theatre Company and supported by Auckland Live.

Your describer for this performance will be Rutene Spooner.

Half of the Sky written by BAFTA-award winning actor and playwright Lennie James, best known for his work on hit TV show Fear The Walking Dead, Save Me and Save Me Too, and his third work written for Massive Theatre Company.

“Distinctly Unique to New Zealand and refreshingly funny” – NZ Herald

Show information is available below and at the following link: Half of the sky (Auckland Live)

Half of the Sky: Audio Described tickets – When, Where, and How much?

  • When: Thursday, 14 September.
  • Touch Tour: 5:45pm.
  • Show starts: 7pm. The show is 90 minutes long with no interval break.

Where: Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, Mayoral Drive. A link to information about the theatre follows.

Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre (Auckland Live)

Audio Described ticket price $25.00 plus $5 service fee per transaction

To book: Please call or email the Ticketmaster Groups Booking line

Phone: 09 970 9745

Email: groups@ticketmaster.co.nz

About the show

Half of the Sky brilliantly weaves together themes of love, loss and the importance of familial connections, juxtaposing poignant moments of humour and joy with moving themes of compassion to examine what makes us human. Relatable and resonant, the story explores both love and tension in a perfectly balanced drama, allowing the talented cast to shine in roles that are gritty and complex.

The Rose sisters journey home for a weekend of birthday celebrations beside their awa. Ny, Rua and Rika find themselves caught in a whirlwind of realisations as incomplete truths become whole, and the ties that bind their whānau together are tested. A weekend of pitching tents riverside, sharing snacks, hilarious dancing and reminiscing becomes embroiled with lies, loss, and old and new love as the sisters face the inescapable truths of the past and work out what is most important to them.

“A play that makes us think about our priorities and life choices” – Theatrescenes

Touch Tour Available

If you plan to attend the Audio Described performance, we would love to attend a free event that all audience members are welcome to attend. Half of the Sky offers a touch tour which enables patrons to explore the set, and costumes and possibly meet the director and cast to help them match the characters’ voices with their names. Please feel free to RSVP for our Touch Tour when you purchase a ticket to this performance when making your ticket purchase over the phone with Ticketmaster.

Audio Described performance booking information

There are seats set aside for audience members wishing to attend the Audio Described Performance. The audio describe reader will be sitting in the audience and transmitting descriptions via headsets supplied to patrons.

Please note: Audio-described tickets are on sale now! Audio-described tickets will come off sale when ticket allocation is exhausted.

Links to Auckland Live communication options follow.


Whaikaha Current Job Vacancies

A number of new roles at Whaikaha with alternate formats have now been posted on the Whaikaha website.

These roles include:

  • Senior Advisor, Ministerial and Executive Services.
  • Connector Support.
  • Senior Connector.
  • Budget Advisor.
  • Administrator, Enabling Good Lives.
  • Kaihautū – Chief Advisor Māori.
  • Group Manager, Enabling Good Lives.
  • Group Manager, Partnerships and Stewardship.
  • Group Manager, Quality and Insights.
  • Head of Finance.
  • Manager, Ministerial and Executive Services.

More information on these roles and on working at Whaikaha is available at the following website link.

Whaikaha job vacancies


Links to other newsletters

DPA Information Exchange: 2 September

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

NZ Opera and Black Grace Dance Company (m) Orpheus – Audio Described Performances – Auckland Sunday 10 September and Wellington Saturday 23 September

  • Details were provided in 26 August update. To book, please call our NZ Opera Box Office Manager, Julie Bird, on 0800 696 737

26 August update

Audio described My Fair Lady in Christchurch

Sunday 24 September at Isaac Theatre Royal, 145 Gloucester Street. Touch tour time: 2pm, performance time: 4pm. Details were provided in 1 September update. To book: phone Isaac Theatre Royal Ticketek Box Office: 03 260 5260 Open Tuesday – Friday and quote the password AUDIO

1 September update

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

Research about disabled people’s experiences of supports and services in Aotearoa New Zealand

Information about the Donald Beasley Institute’s (DBI) Disabled Person-Led Monitoring research team questionnaire is available at the following link.

Disabled Person-Led Monitoring of the UNCRPD (Donald Beasley Institute)

Details were provided in 18 August update.

18 August update

Blindness and Mental Health Webinar

Friday, September 29 at 12:00pm ET, which is 5:00am on Saturday, September 30 local time. Discussion on mental health in the blind and low vision community. Details were provided in 18 August update.

18 August update

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

Details provided in 5 August update.

5 August 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.

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

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

  • 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 Board Meeting

Saturday 9 September in Auckland.

RNZFB Annual Meeting

Saturday 11 November in Christchurch.

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’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