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.

November 30, 2020

The Rocky Road Runners don’t mind rain and mud – and every kilometre logged is a few more dollars for IHC.

Five Auckland-based runners (from left), Michelle Sang, Kelly Walsh, Nick Garner, Rob Smith and Amon Jones, did plenty of slipping and sliding on a recent trail run event in the Waitawa Regional Park on Auckland’s south coast.

November 30, 2020

In the past year Chamodh Aththidya (right) has signed up more than 800 monthly Smile Club donors for IHC.

He was one of three finalists for the recent Public Fundraising Regulatory Association Face-to-Face Fundraiser of the Year Award and is pictured here with Mick Rose of marketing agency Community Solutions.

“Although not the ultimate winner, Chamodh is definitely a winner in my eyes,” says IHC National Fundraising Manager Greg Millar.

November 30, 2020

IHC Director of Advocacy Trish Grant says four reports touching on the lives of people with intellectual disability this year highlight the failure of our disability system.

Four major reports released this year show the widespread disadvantage and discrimination that intellectually disabled people in New Zealand experience daily.

Collectively, they should send a message that our current system is undervaluing and failing our intellectually disabled community – the Government must take a wrecking ball to this decrepit structure.

November 30, 2020

A six-year-old boy who couldn’t spell cat and didn’t know his last name was sent to an institution where for 13 years he was put to work and physically and sexually abused.

IHC Director of Advocacy Trish Grant told the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care that a man, referred to as M, received no schooling, no pay for the work he did, and State authorities frustrated his attempts to have his abuse investigated.

November 30, 2020

There was a cruel divide in Ollie and Ted Morris’s family. To be born a boy was to be born with an intellectual disability.

The cause of the disability that affected each of their four sons and none of their five daughters remains a mystery after nearly 90 years.

The Gisborne couple’s eldest son Donald, born in 1932, was the first to be affected. Then it affected brothers John, Peter and Rex.

November 30, 2020

In May 1989 Frances Clarke died of acute myeloid leukaemia; she was three and a half years old and had Down syndrome.

For the past 30 years Frances’ short life has been remembered by Wellington Down Syndrome Association’s Frances Clarke Memorial Awards recognising outstanding achievements.

Frances was diagnosed with leukaemia only nine months before her death. Those with Down syndrome are at a higher risk of developing the disease.

The extent of her disability was revealed as Frances grew.

November 30, 2020

Accessible Properties tenant Garry Hopa is a laid-back kind of chap, but he sprang into action when he saw a dangerous fire.

He’s been praised for stopping the fire from spreading and causing widespread damage.

Garry, 64, who lives in the Accessible Properties’ Graham Street complex in Hamilton, was first on the scene after a fridge went up in flames recently at Robyn Cann’s nearby unit.

“I was moving some pot plants from my place to my girlfriend’s on a trolley and I went around the corner and seen all this smoke,” Garry says.

November 30, 2020

John Holdsworth ONZM didn’t say much about what he did for people, he just did it. His influence vastly improved the quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities.

John Holdsworth died on 15 August in his garden on the family’s farm in central Hawke’s Bay, aged 78.

IHC Group Chair Tony Shaw and IHC Group Chief Executive Ralph Jones paid tribute to John for the major role he played in shaping the organisation.

November 30, 2020

Christine Lee believes in the power of storytelling to build acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities.

“Telling stories contributes to understanding in the community, because cultural change takes time,” she says. “You have got to keep telling people’s stories so that it becomes the norm.”

November 30, 2020

Maureen Wood wonders what it will take for her to walk down the street and not have people poke fun at her daughter Jackie.

Or for hospital staff to not automatically assume she wants a not-for-resuscitation order for her.

Maureen, 83, has campaigned for more than 60 years for her eldest daughter, who was born with Down syndrome and autism, and for others with intellectual disabilities.