Strong Voices

Empowered Lives

August 5, 2022

Where would we be without the internet?

August 5, 2022

Eight families have diagnoses for rare genetic disorders thanks to the latest work by a team of researchers at the University of Auckland.

The DNA of 25 people with undiagnosed intellectual disability from 19 families was studied using advanced genome sequencing and analytical methods. The project aimed to uncover the genetic causes of the neurodevelopmental conditions and improve the health of these individuals. The study was funded by the IHC Foundation.

August 5, 2022

Scientist Dr Whitney Whitford is skilled at finding missing pieces of DNA.

Her complicated version of a jigsaw puzzle involves things called copy number variants (CNVs). They are responsible for the duplications and deletions of genes or parts of genes that cause neurodevelopmental disorders.

As a PhD student at the University of Auckland Whitney developed a filtering and annotation system – called a ‘bioinformatic pipeline’ – to find and track CNVs in individuals with neurodevelopmental conditions.

August 5, 2022

A cool morning didn’t spoil the warmth of the welcome for Accessible Properties’ tenants to a new pop-up park in Tauranga.

“It was brilliant to see the local community come out over Matariki and have some fun at 899 Cameron, our new pop-up-park,” says Vicki McLaren, General Manager of Accessible Properties Tauranga.

August 5, 2022

Awhi Ngā Mātua is a community of parents who Emily Writes wishes she had known in those long nights when she felt alone and overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring for a sick child.

Emily, a mother of two boys living in Wellington, is the author of best-selling parenting books Rants in the Dark and Is it Bedtime Yet? – with another, Needs Adult Supervision, just released.

She is also the Director of the ‘Awhi’ online community.

August 5, 2022

Every person portrayed in this multimedia exhibition has a story to tell, but their pictures alone are worth a thousand words. More than a thousand.

Take a moment with us’ is an IHC travelling multimedia exhibition that has grown and evolved as it has moved around the country. This year it will open on 15 August at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato in Hamilton.

August 5, 2022

Tom Russell has just finished a day’s work at the Te Tuhi Training Café in Pakuranga working at the till, taking orders and baking a batch of almond friands.

He loves it. He loves it so much he wants other people with disabilities to come to the café and ask him or the trainers about whether it’s something they would like to do “because it’s a very good opportunity”.

August 5, 2022

David Snelgar doesn’t say much when he’s concentrating on art. But during the 10 years he has shared Bruce Maunder’s art studio the men have come to an understanding about a few important things.

Art is one of those things. For both men the art session at Bruce’s place every second Wednesday is a firm commitment.

David, 59, has autism. Art has always been central to his life, revealing the way he views the world. He covered the walls of his family home in his paintings, encouraged by his mother Hazel, who was an artist who worked in clay.

August 5, 2022

Alannah was being home-schooled in Hanmer Springs during the lockdown. Diksha was in India wondering when she would be able to see her mother in New Zealand.

The two girls started writing to each other – old-fashioned letters between pen pals across 13,000 kilometres. The letters went back and forth between Hanmer and Punjab in north-west India for two years. Then the two girls finally met.

August 5, 2022


Researchers tracking the development of young children in Australia and New Zealand with Williams syndrome are returning to New Zealand to catch up on lost COVID time with Kiwi kids.

The research is being led by Associate Professor Melanie Porter, a senior clinical neuropsychologist, and clinical neuropsychology intern and PhD candidate Jessica Reeve from Macquarie University in Sydney. Jessica recently submitted her PhD study on Williams syndrome.

August 5, 2022

Four art works – all winners of the IHC Art Awards L’affare People’s Choice Award – have been chosen as the designs for new NZ Post stamps.

The IHC Art Awards showcase the creativity of hundreds of Kiwi artists with intellectual disabilities. The winners of the top prizes are selected by a panel of judges. Since 2013, members of the public have been able to cast their votes to choose a popular winner.