Strong Voices

Empowered Lives

November 25, 2022

We are heading rapidly towards the end of year – the weather is supposedly warming up (though I’m writing this in Wellington, where November is notoriously windy and disappointing) and many of us are dreaming about holidays ahead.

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.

March 9, 2021

IDEA Services and Choices NZ are trialling an extension of the IHC MySupport database to allow the people we support and their families to view their information. It’s important for the people we support to have a good team around them. A big part of this is involving family members at the right time. At present, information such as support plans and goals can only be viewed by staff.

March 9, 2021

Belinda Donaldson is our new IHC i-Volunteer coordinator. Her role is to implement an online/virtual volunteer programme to help link carers and people with intellectual disabilities with online friends. Belinda isn’t new to working with IHC Volunteering and for the past several years has been working behind the scenes on annual customer satisfaction surveys and updating the coordinator manual.

March 9, 2021

Debbie Kennedy has done years of work experience in hospitality and customer service with little pay to show for it. She estimates half of the work she has done has been unpaid.

Work experience can be a trap for people with disabilities if it never leads to ‘pay experience’.

IHC recently tried a new approach to see if Debbie Kennedy, a 24-year-old Dunedin woman, could finally break through the job barrier.

March 9, 2021

Researcher Sharon Brandford is keenly aware of the outrage felt in the disability community over the way New Zealand treats the lives and premature deaths of people with intellectual disabilities.

It was her own outrage that led her to look at how we investigate their deaths.

Her report released late last year, ‘Counting for Something’, says life expectancy for New Zealanders with intellectual disabilities is between 18 and 23 years less than for the general population.

March 9, 2021

Disabled artists came out of lockdown and into the heart of the New Zealand art scene – selling more art than ever before.

Thanks to a brainwave of IHC Art Awards Ambassador Dame Denise L’Estrange Corbet, the three top works in the 2020 IHC Art Awards were auctioned live at Webb’s art auctioneers in Auckland, in association with a WORLD Legacy Charity Project event called Artists 4 Artists.

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 7, 2021

Lisa Holten didn’t imagine that her daughter Sarah would, or could, become an artist. Lisa was caught up in the grind of managing day-to-day services. Like many families dealing with disability funding, she had become focused on services – what was there and what wasn’t there.