Strong Voices

Empowered Lives

December 1, 2021

The Government has announced the very welcome news that it will establish a new standalone Ministry for Disabled People.

This marks a fundamental change in the way people are viewed and valued as equal citizens. IHC has pushed for this change and for the Government to see individuals’ lives in their entirety – their income, support, housing, transport and more – rather than defining people by health need and diagnosis.

July 20, 2021

Tayla Sloot sees a lot from her wheelchair. And she knows that her disability is a barrier that prevents people getting to know her. 

But worse than that, Tayla knows her wheelchair can be frightening for young children. She’s seen young children hide behind their parents, too scared to approach her. 

Tayla, 25, thinks this is because children have limited awareness of those who have disabilities, and her solution has been to write a book about her life to reach out to school children. 

July 20, 2021

Most IDEA Services frontline support workers have now received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination.

IDEA Services has been busy ensuring staff and the people we support have the crucial information they need about the vaccination, communicating directly with the Ministry of Health and, at a local level, district health boards.

“We’ve been engaging with the newly appointed Disability Equity Leads, whose job it is to coordinate vaccinations for the disability sector,” says IDEA Services Director of Nursing Prudence Lennox.

July 20, 2021

Banks have put even more distance between them and their more vulnerable customers by ending cheques.

This leaves disabled people wondering how they can pay bills and withdraw money as bank branches continue to close in cities and towns all over New Zealand.

Cheques have now been consigned to history at ANZ, Westpac, BNZ, Kiwibank, TSB, SBS, Rabobank and The Co-operative Bank, and ASB finishes with cheques on 27 August. Some retailers are also moving away from cash payments.

July 20, 2021

There’s a huge gap at Hirepool in Lower Hutt where Colin Bailey used to work. He’s retired from the Hutt Road branch after more than 30 years on the job.

Colin’s farewell barbeque was an emotional day for everyone as Hirepool staff from across Wellington, along with Regional Manager Stuart Drew from Hawke’s Bay, came to say goodbye.

“He does leave a gap here – 100 percent,” Stuart says. “He swept the yard, kept it clean. No-one did it as well as he did. His work here was exceptional. He brought an excellent work ethic, a great sense of humour, a cheekiness.”

July 20, 2021

Colin Bailey was in the first New Zealand team to compete in the Special Olympics. He won bronze in the freestyle event at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1983.

He was 22 years old and a very strong swimmer but Lee Bailey, his mother, says he had no killer instinct to make him want to win.

“It took a while to get that killer instinct into him. He was happy just to swim.”

Colin first learned to swim when he was seven or eight years of age on a family boating holiday on Lake Rotorua – and discovered something he was extremely good at.

July 20, 2021

In 50 years of indoor bowling tournaments Marjorie Bloor has never picked up a ball. But she has picked up a knife and buttered loads of sandwiches for the players’ morning and afternoon teas.

This year Dannevirke celebrates a long and special relationship between its indoor bowling clubs and IHC. This is a town that has always said yes to supporting local people with intellectual disabilities.

It’s the 50th anniversary of the Dannevirke Combined Indoor Bowling Clubs IHC Tournament and Marjorie has been volunteering at the event from the start.

July 20, 2021

Northland families with disabled children are withdrawing from contact with other people because of the sheer stress of trying to manage the children with little support.

IHC Family Liaison in Whangārei Jim Callaghan says families are barely coping because of the shortage, particularly of respite care that would give parents and carers a break.

The problem can be made worse by a child being excluded from school or from the few respite facilities available in Whangārei, leaving nothing on offer.

July 20, 2021

‘Stand Tall’ is a new app designed to dodge those tricky money situations – like getting to the end of the week and finding there’s no cash left for dinner.

The app is being developed by IHC and online gaming company InGame to make handling money easier for young people with disabilities who want to be independent.

July 20, 2021

North Taranaki’s old and rare pōhutukawa – at risk from either falling into the sea or myrtle rust disease – have been given a second chance at survival.


A partnership between an IHC plant nursery, local iwi and the Department of Conservation is ensuring a new generation of young plants will soon be growing on the cliffs at Paparoa Reef, south of Wai-iti – but not quite so close to the edge.

July 20, 2021

Accessible Properties is carrying out improvements to IDEA Services properties throughout the country as part of a Healthy Homes programme. This will ensure homes are insulated and heated to the appropriate levels. Assessment of properties has started and those that need the most work will be given priority. Contractors will keep in touch with Service Managers to let each area know when Accessible Properties will be assessing properties and doing the improvements. Accessible Properties is committed to meeting the Government’s requirements for providing healthy homes.