Strong Voices

Empowered Lives

March 9, 2021

Guest editorial 

I wish to pay tribute to our former IHC President, Chair and IHC New Zealand Life Member Donald Thompson, ONZM, who died early in February.

It was a great shock to lose Donald so suddenly. He made an enormous contribution to IHC and the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.

But most of all he was a husband, an incredible father and a friend to many of us.

March 9, 2021

Close to 50 community workshops will be held by May to develop local approaches to services around the country. This is part of the National Services Review by IDEA Services.

“We recognise that no two communities are the same, and so it is crucial that we understand what is important in your area. Our goal with these workshops is  to develop a localised approach for people with intellectual disabilities,”  says IDEA Services Chief Operating  Officer Joan Cowan.

March 9, 2021

Charlie Waigth was a lifetime crusader for his daughter Catherine and for people with intellectual disabilities throughout the country.

Charlie died in Auckland on 9 November 2020 at the age of 96, after working for 50 years with IHC.

It was a personal crusade at first. Charlie and Mary’s daughter Catherine was born in 1961 with Down syndrome. They were living in Takapau in southern Hawke’s Bay when Catherine turned five, and there were no services for her. Charlie set out to change that.

March 9, 2021

Actor Lily Harper is riding the wave of success in her first leading role and planning to do it all again in a Wellington season of Up Down Girl at Circa Theatre.

Up Down Girl is about a young woman with Down syndrome getting ready to leave home for the first time and her mother’s hilarious perspective on bringing her up.

March 9, 2021

Just pull the curtains and your lounge becomes a stage. Tear an old white sheet into moonbeams. Then find a soft, fluffy jumper to be The Badger.

Now you are ready to hear, see, touch, taste and smell The Badger Story. This is new digital, multi-sensory theatre delivered online by the Glass Ceiling Arts Collective to people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

March 9, 2021

You can’t get a greener, more sustainable scheme than the Bike Project, run by the bike repair guys at Mersey Street, Invercargill.

The team at the IDEA Services day base collect old bikes, fix them up and pass them on to people who need them. They recycle and reuse bikes that would otherwise go to the landfill, encouraging people to use pedal power rather than motor vehicles. They also hope to gain skills that might lead to future employment.

March 9, 2021

Shelby is the youngest of the five Porowini kids and his arrival upended their family life. But being told he was beautiful made all the difference.

Stephanie Porowini and her husband Mark were living on the Gold Coast in Australia with their four children. She was selling real estate when she became pregnant with Shelby and they headed for home in Whāngārei. That was in 2016.

March 9, 2021

New Zealand just inched a step closer to fully inclusive education for disabled children.

In December the Human Rights Review Tribunal issued a decision – five and a half years late – that it would hear a complaint from IHC that our education system discriminates against disabled students.

The complaint has languished in a queue waiting for a ruling from the overloaded Human Rights Review Tribunal.

March 9, 2021

School leavers looking for work will have extra help this year thanks to a new scheme being trialled in a number of secondary schools.

The pilot Employment Service in Schools was launched on 1 February 2021 and will run until 30 June 2022. It is being managed by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and the Ministry of Health (MOH).

March 9, 2021

Free bus travel for carers of people with accessibility concession cards is now available in the Waikato region. Around 2400 people hold concession cards for free bus travel in the area. The card was introduced in 2019 and is for people with permanent or short-term disabilities of longer than six months. Cardholders who need assistance to travel can now register their ‘plus ones’ with Waikato Regional Council.

March 9, 2021

People with hidden disabilities such as autism, dementia and ADHD can now travel a little easier after Wellington Airport launched a new initiative to discreetly let staff know when a person might need extra help. Anyone travelling through the airport can now request a special green lanyard, which will help staff identify people who might need extra care.