Take a break with us

All families, whānau and carers need a break from their caring routines to rest and put their feet up.

COVID-19 update

Although we are now in Alert Level 1 and enjoying some semblance of normality again, New Zealand is still not free of COVID-19 and as such, it is important that we work towards keeping everyone as safe as possible.

IHC has temporarily suspended the online application for short breaks through the Take a break with us programme.

Please be assured that we will carefully monitor the situation and as soon as it is safe to do so, we will reopen the online application process.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Our best wishes to you and your family/whānau.

Take a break with us

All families, whānau and carers need a break from their caring routines from time-to-time to relax and put their feet up.

People that care for children, young people or adults with an intellectual disability often face a range of pressures, be they emotional or financial, and it can be difficult to find an opportunity to take that much-needed time away to unwind and re-focus.

This is where IHC’s Take a break with us programme can come in. This programme aims to make a tangible difference in the lives of families, whānau and carers by providing an opportunity for that much needed time-out from the stresses that can be encountered during the usual day-to-day.

We are very lucky to have the support of a number of organisations that donate hotel nights. We thank them all.

So Take a break and come relax for a night or two with us.

How Take a break with us works

Take a break with us is available to IHC members who care for a person with an intellectual disability, or a person with an intellectual disability and autism.

It is a referral programme where people can be nominated and referred to Take a break by anyone – a friend, neighbour, support worker, IHC Area Manager or you can fill it in for yourself.

You don’t need to be using an IHC service to be eligible but you must be a member of IHC.

If you are referred and are eligible for the programme, you will be offered one or two night’s free accommodation, at IHC's discretion, at one of our participating hotels, holiday homes or alternative lodging experiences.

In addition, as part of the programme you may also be offered assistance with leisure activities and transportation to and from your break if you need it.

Although you are welcome to bring members of your family on your break, we are unable to provide additional care for your child or children through the programme for when you are away.

What do you do with a boy who’s mad on water?

Five-year-old Anakin Kingi thought all his Christmases had come at once. All of a sudden the family were packing into the car and heading to Hawkes Bay for a couple of days of fun at the National Aquarium in Napier and at Splash Planet in Hastings.

Anakin loves anything to do with water, so the break was designed to do as many activities involving water as possible.

Thomas and Chante Kingi, Leisana, 12, and Anakin had two nights in a Hastings motel. It was the family’s first visit to Napier and their first holiday in a motel, and they made the most of it. They started early from home in Palmerston North for the drive to Napier so they could take in the aquarium before check-in time at the motel in Hastings. “To be honest, we don’t get away that much.”

They got a good deal on tickets to Splash Planet and spent the entire day at the adventure park from opening until closing time. “Our tickets were for full access to everything that was in the park. Anakin is a water baby and he just wanted to go swimming – he just thoroughly enjoyed the whole of the park,” Thomas says. “We made our sandwiches in the morning and we took down our drinks and had a good picnic lunch.”

Five years ago, Thomas faced the fact that his heart condition would no longer allow him to work. So he and his wife Chante swapped places. He stayed home to care for their children and Chante went back to fulltime work.

He looks back now and says he is happy to ‘play the cards he was dealt’. As it turned out Anakin, who was only a baby at the time, was to be diagnosed with autism and Thomas has been on hand to provide the support he needed. Anakin was non-verbal until he was three years old and is now slowly gathering words. He started school in October.

“It has basically worked out well – just being able to be there for a lot of firsts – his first steps, first words. It is so rewarding just being there to nurture and coach him,” Thomas says. “I have little patience and he has got none. We are both learning off each other. He is teaching me patience and resilience and I am teaching him the basics.

“These are the cards that I have been dealt – my condition and my son. Beside my son having autism, I have got a heart condition called cardiomyopathy. I have a pacemaker and an ICD (internal cardiac defibrillator). I have got a little battery pack that they inserted under my skin. That battery pack sends a charge through the wire to my heart to try to bring it back to a normal rhythm. It is exactly like getting kicked in the chest by a horse,” Thomas says.

“I used to drink and smoke. I have given all that up – I had to if I wanted to see my son and daughter grow up. I am not one to sit down in a corner and to wait for the inevitable. I want to be there as long as I can for my children and my wife,” he says.

Thomas says he and his family are very grateful for the summer break. “It was so much fun – just the fact of something new.”

The Hertzig's enjoy family time in Wairarapa

Quality time was on the agenda when the Hertzig family recently took a short break in Wairarapa as part of IHC’s Take a break with us programme.

The family stayed at the Copthorne Hotel & Resort Solway Park in Masterton, which kindly donated the accommodation for the break. The spa pool on site was a great place for the family to gather and to relax together.

“The timing was great because our son will be away for the next three weeks,” said Mum, Carmen. “It was just nice for us to all be together before he leaves.”

The Hertzig’s were treated to perfect weather for checking what the Wairarapa had to offer. They drove out to Castle Point, a small beachside town and they explored the Waiohine Gorge.

Their daughter Emily, who has Down syndrome, really enjoyed herself. Carmen says, “she really enjoyed herself and pretty much laughed or giggled through the whole weekend.”

The Walshe family make the most of Hanmer Springs

The Walshe family were recently able to Take a break with us in beautiful Hanmer Springs, Canterbury.

“Getting away at any time for a family of 6 is difficult and expensive but this gift was amazing and thoroughly enjoyed” says Vanessa Walshe.

The family were able to make the most of what Hanmer Springs had to offer including hot pools, delicious food and beautiful vistas. With accommodation walking distance to the hot pools and all amenities, making the most of their 24-hour stay was easy.

Vanessa says the trip marked a celebration for the family. “Our youngest son Aidan has down syndrome, low vision and dyspraxia. Whilst we were away it was Aidan’s 10th birthday and he loved it!”

How you can support Take a break with us


Take a break with us is one of IHC's charitable activities supporting people with intellectual disabilities and their families to live satisfying lives, funded through donations to IHC.

However, we cannot run Take a break with us without the support of fantastic organisations that provide hotel nights for the programme.

If you'd like to donate an experience to support this great cause please contact Suzanne Downes at takeabreak@ihc.org.nz or 027 299 2105.

We'd love to hear from you.

Thank you to our sponsors

Short Break Sponsors

North Island

Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Bay of Islands

Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Hokianga

Copthorne Hotel, Auckland City

Grand Millennium, Auckland

M Social, Auckland

Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre, Auckland

Millennium Hotel and Resort Manuels, Taupo

Copthorne Hotel, Rotorua

Millennium Hotel, Rotorua

Copthorne Hotel Grand Central, New Plymouth

Millenium Hotel, New Plymouth Waterfront

Kingsgate Hotel The Avenue, Wanganui

Copthorne Hotel & Resort Solway Park, Wairarapa

Copthorne Hotel, Palmerston North

Copthorne Hotel Oriental Bay, Wellington




South Island

Kingsgate Hotel, Greymouth

Kingsgate Hotel, Dunedin

Copthorne Hotel & Apartments Queenstown, Lakeview

Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown, Lakefront

Millennium Hotel, Queenstown

Kingsgate Hotel, Te Anau