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DPA's Information Exchange - 28 August 2020

In this week's Info Exchange:

Online Election Forum tomorrow!

The My Voice Matters online election forum is on tomorrow afternoon. Originally planned as an Auckland event, the physical event has been replaced by an online forum due to the change in Covid-19 alert levels. Anyone from around New Zealand is welcome to register.

When: 1.00 – 3.00 pm on Saturday 29 August 2020.

Where: Zoom webinar (the link is sent out by email on registration for the event). The webinar will also be broadcast live to Facebook with live captioning on the My Voice Matters Facebook page.

How: Go to to register.

Why: The New Zealand General Election is happening soon. It is important that disabled people are informed about the disability policies of each political party to help them make informed decisions.

Who: Candidates from five major political parties: Minister Carmel Sepuloni - Labour, Ms Golriz Ghahraman MP - Greens, Mr David Seymour MP - ACT, Hon Alfred Ngaro - National, Jenny Marcroft MP - NZ First.

Access: There will be NZSL interpreters in the webinar. The webinar will be broadcast to Facebook with live captioning.

More info: 

- Other Election Forums - 

Other disability-focused election forums DPA are involved in are being held in Christchurch (19 September), Wellington (1 October) and Dunedin (date TBC). For more information see our 2020 Election Forums, enrolling to vote, accessible information and more page.


DPA Bubble Hui - 5 September

At our next Bubble Hui we will be exploring Disability and Education, in particular focusing on the new guidelines to be developed around physical restraint.

Come along and learn what the recent changes in the Education and Training Bill mean for physical restraint.

Share solutions that have worked for you and your whānau in terms of prevention and de-escalation.

When: Saturday 5 September

What time: 3.00pm  – 4.30pm

Where: Zoom (all members will be emailed a link on the morning of the hui)

-NZSL interpreters will be present at this event
-This is a national event, members from around the country are invited to attend

About our Bubble Hui

Our Bubble Hui started during the Level 4 lock-down as a way for members to meet and discuss current issues online via Zoom. We are now continuing them monthly, alternating between Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons. We aim to discuss a different topic each month.

Do you want to join in but are not a DPA member? Joining is easy and free – go to to sign up.

Martine sits at an office desk with her guide dog
New Auckland Kaituitui Martine Abel-Williamson

New DPA Auckland Kaituitui

We welcome our new Auckland Kaituitui Martine Abel-Williamson who started with DPA this week. From Martine:

Kia ora,

I’m very excited to be starting as the Auckland Kaituitui for Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA).

I live in South Auckland with my husband and guide dog.

I was born in Windhoek, Namibia, and when my family found out that there was no education opportunity for me in Namibia, we moved to neighbouring South Africa. I immigrated to New Zealand 24 years ago after acquiring qualifications in the fields of counselling and teaching.

I worked in the areas of vision rehabilitation and vocational advice at the Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind, as well as in the mental health sector. I then worked as a Disability Advisor at Manukau City and Auckland Councils .

I am the Vice-President of Blind Citizens NZ and the Chair of Auckland Disability Law. I also serve on the boards of Blind Low Vision NZ and Disability Connect.

Outside of work you will find me enjoying reading murder mysteries, relaxing with family and friends and dabbling in creative writing.

I’m looking forward to liaising with members and agencies in Auckland, even though we’re still at the tail end of Covid-19 lock down.
Keep well and stay safe


Change in Covid-19 Alert Levels, masks, buses etc.

At 11.59 pm this Sunday Auckland will move from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 with the rest of the country. (Yay!)

One of the biggest changes nationwide is that face masks or coverings will be mandatory on public transport from Monday 31 August.

Children under 12 years and people who have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask safely or comfortably - including people with asthma or a disability - are exempt. Dr Ashley Bloomfield said earlier this week that people with medical issues that prevent them from wearing a mask should get a letter of exemption from their doctor.

The Ministry of Health says that if you are someone who relies on New Zealand Sign Language, or visual facial cues such as lip reading, or are needing to communicate with someone who does, you can remove your mask to communicate, but you must maintain a physical distance of 2 metres.

- Read the Ministry of Health's guidance on face masks and coverings

People are also being asked to record their journeys on public transport and continue to maintain physical distancing. In Auckland, people are being asked to continue to use the rear door to get on and off the bus. However, if you use a mobility device or require driver assistance, you will still be able to use the front door. 

- Read about Disability Support Services at Alert Level 2
- Covid-19 Information for the Disabled Community

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