IHC stars celebrated with Queen's Birthday honours

Two volunteers, already celebrated within IHC for their huge contributions, have been recognised with Queen’s Birthday honours.

Maureen Wood, former National Council member and current Chair of the IHC West Central Auckland Association, has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Neil Taylor, former Chair of IHC, has been awarded a Queen’s Service Medal.

“Both Maureen and Neil have made an extraordinary contribution over nearly a century between them to improving the lives of people with intellectual disabilities,” says IHC Group Chief Executive Ralph Jones. “We are delighted to see such worthy recipients honoured in this way.”

As a young mother Maureen challenged the medical establishment of the time, which was separating disabled children from their parents, and for 60 years she has never stopped seizing opportunities to make people’s lives better. Maureen and her husband Ted rejected institutional care for their daughter, Jackie, born in 1958.  

She joined IHC in 1961 and supported other parents to stand up to pressure to have their children admitted to psychiatric and psychopaedic institutions. “The bond was broken with families and it’s very hard to get that bond back again,” Maureen said in 2011 on becoming an IHC New Zealand Life Member.

During the 1980s and 1990s she lobbied for the institutions to be closed and said she would have lobbied “forever” to see them shut down. She worked to ensure there were good quality disability and health services and that the people using them had their say. She evaluated a range of residential and other disability services for auditing agencies contracted by the Ministry of Health from 2001 until early 2019.

As Chair of Waitakere Health Link, she campaigned hard for improvements at Waitakere Hospital, including getting free ambulances in 2001 and a full 24-hour emergency service running at Waitakere Hospital 10 years later.

Neil Taylor has been involved with IHC for more than 40 years and has given his time and expertise to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in Taranaki and throughout New Zealand.
When Neil became involved in IHC in the late 1970s he joined a team of parents in South Taranaki who raised money to provide the services their disabled children were missing out on. Neil did not have a child with a disability, but he joined forces with those who did to make lives better for families. 

“Working in the field of intellectual disability as a volunteer has been incredibly rewarding for me and my family for the largest part of my working life,” Neil said in 2016, when he was reappointed to the IHC Board.

“Joining IHC was for me an opportunity to give something back to the community and to be part of an organisation that upholds strong values and a commitment to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.”

Neil was South Taranaki Branch President from 1986 to 1996. He also served as IHC Vice President, and on the boards of both IHC and Accessible Properties Ltd, chairing the audit and finance committees of both organisations. He was the IHC Board Chair from 2017 until earlier this year and remains on that board. He was made a New Zealand Life Member  in 1998.


This story was published in Community Moves. The magazine is posted free to all IHC members.

Read the full issue of Community Moves.