Disability Organisations in New Zealand
Disability organisations and websites
This page lists disability-related organisations and service providers and some of the resources they produce.
On this page:
- Disabled people’s organisations and resources
- Government agencies and resources
- Further resources and organisations
An advocacy organisation for blind and vision impaired people.
An organisation of people with mental health issues and mood disorders that provides support and advocacy.
- Living Well Booklet (compiled for the information of those who suffer from bipolar disorder and their families and friends)
- Information on bipolar disorder for families
- Information on Seasonal Affective Disorder
An organisation that provides information and resources on life for Deaf New Zealanders, Deaf culture and New Zealand Sign Language. Deaf Aotearoa also provides New Zealand Sign Language classes and Deaf awareness training.
An organisation that provides advocacy and support for Deafblind people in New Zealand.
A national pan-disability organisation. Its website publishes various resources, including on the rights of disabled people.
An organisation that offers kaupapa Māori-based disability support services with a focus on kāpo Māori and their whānau.
- Te Whakaaheitanga Marae – Kua wātea te haurahi – a resource which aims to enable ‘Kaumātua and whānau with health and disability impairments to actively engage at marae and remain effective contributors to their marae’
A national self-advocacy organisation that is led and directed by people with learning disabilities.
The organisation provides an Easy Read translation service, which involves translating a document into an accessible format for people with learning disabilities.
It also provides trained meeting assistants.
- Guide to writing Easy Read Information: Easy Read Version or an online version is available on the Office for Disability Issues website
Disability Support Services (DSS) within the Ministry of Health is responsible for funding support and services for people with disabilities.
It also leads the development and implementation of strategic plans that aim to ensure people with disabilities and their families are supported to live the lives they choose.
- Disability Support Services Strategic Plan 2014 to 2018
- Whāia Te Ao Mārama: The Māori Disability Action Plan for Disability Support Services 2012 to 2017
- Māori disability support services (including information on accessible marae)
- Faiva Ora – National Pasifika Disability Plan
- Refugee health
- Information on making a complaint
The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) provides funding and support for individuals who have an impairment as a result of an accident.
- Serious injury and disability - help for people affected by injury-related disabilities
- Resources – a range of resources are available on the ACC website on specific injuries, disabilities, rights and advocacy as well as information for parents, carers
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) website hosts the Kia Tūtahi Relationship Accord.
The DIA’s Community Matters website provides advice for involving the community in decision-making, targeted at government officials but generally applicable.
The DIA is also responsible for the New Zealand Government Web Toolkit.
- Kia Tūtahi Relationship Accord
- CommunityNet Aotearoa is ‘an online hub of resources designed to strengthen communities’. It enables organisations to post and share resources on a variety of topics, including leadership, communication and evaluation. Materials include Diversity Toolkits, a how-to guide on communications and project management templates.
- The New Zealand Government Web Toolkit, ‘provides standards, guidance, tips and strategic advice on effectively using the online channel’. It outlines the Web Accessibility Standard.
The Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) aims to ‘ensure that the rights of consumers are upheld. This includes making sure complaints about health or disability services providers are taken care of fairly and efficiently’. The HDC also provides the support of free independent advocates to assist with concerns or complaints about a health or disability service.
- Disability Resources
- Health and Disability Advocacy
- Making communication easy – Useful tips to make it easy to communicate effectively with people with impairments
The Human Rights Commission (HRC) promotes and protects the human rights of all people in Aotearoa New Zealand.
It provides information about discrimination and offers a free and confidential service for people with human rights enquiries or complaints of unlawful discrimination.
- Your human rights and making complaints: A guide for disabled people and their families
- How to make a complaint
Special education supports children and students to access the curriculum by providing extra help, adapted programmes or learning environments, and specialised equipment or materials.
The Ministry for Pacific Peoples liaises and communicates with Pasifika communities about government policies, processes and services. It aims to foster greater engagement with, and participation by, Pasifika peoples in government decision-making.
- Pacific Analysis Framework, with Pacific Consultation Guidelines (written ‘to provide assistance to government agencies in the development of policies and programmes aimed at Pacific people’)
- Think Differently is a social change campaign to encourage and support a fundamental shift in attitudes and behaviour towards disabled people. It’s about maximising opportunities and focusing on what people can do rather than what they can’t. The campaign is led in partnership with the Office for Disability Issues. Think Differently produces a Social Change Toolkit with a range of useful resources, templates and tips.
This new Ministry came into existence on 1 April 2017. It brings a whole of sector child-centred approach to working with vulnerable children and young people. It establishes the new Ministry as a single point of accountability which will ensure that government agencies work together to provide coherent and complete services to these children, young people and their families.
The Police are responsible for protecting public safety and maintaining law and order.
The Office for Disability Issues (ODI) is a strategic and whole-of-government focused policy group, located within the MSD.
It promotes and monitors the implementation of the New Zealand Disability Strategy and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It also works in partnership with the MSD to lead the Think Differently campaign (see the MSD resource list above).
The ODI’s website publishes helpful access guides and toolkits to inclusive practice.
- New Zealand Disability Strategy
- Effective communication with deaf people: A guide to working with New Zealand Sign Language interpreters
Office of Ethnic Communities (previously the Office of Ethnic Affairs)
The Office of Ethnic Communities provides advice and information to support people working with ethnic communities.
- Language Line (a telephone interpreting service available in 44 languages)
The Office of the Ombudsman is an independent resource to help the community deal with government agencies, with a focus on fairness and impartiality. It undertakes investigations where necessary.
- Make a complaint
- Information about the Ombudsman’s role under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Altogether Autism is a nationwide information and advisory service for people living on the autism spectrum, their families/whānau and the professionals who work with them.
Altogether Autism is a service funded by the Ministry of Health. It is provided in partnership by Parent to Parent (see below) and Life Unlimited (a charitable trust whose mission is ‘to enhance individual wellbeing by enabling people to live the life they choose’).
- Altogether Autism Journal (a publication for professionals, families and people on the Autism spectrum)
- Questions People Ask (answers to commonly asked questions)
Autism NZ provides support, training, advocacy, resources and information on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to those with these conditions, their family/whānau, caregivers and professionals.
The Blind Foundation provides its members with adaptive skills, technology, resources and support with moving around (including through the use of guide dogs) and accessing information. It also provides services to the wider community, including: web accessibility consultation, accessible format production, built environment advice and awareness training.
- Information for work and study
- Information on guide dogs – contact Blind Foundation Guide Dogs (09 269 0400)
The Brain Injury Association provides support, education and information services throughout New Zealand to people living with brain injuries.
Carers New Zealand is the national body supporting family, whānau and aiga carers. It provides information, advice, learning and support for families with health and disability needs.
CCS Action’s purpose is to strengthen communities and provide information, advocacy and support so people with disabilities are included in the life of their family and in their community. It also has 16 branches nationally that provide frontline support and services, create local awareness and education around disability issues.
The Cerebral Palsy Society of New Zealand’s purpose is to enhance the lives and wellbeing of people with cerebral palsy. It provides programmes designed to enhance the independence and quality of life of people living with cerebral palsy and their families, and grants to its members for this purpose.
The Complex Care Group Trust is a support and information network run by and for carers who look after people with complex needs.
It provides up-to-date information and support to carers to help them navigate the many challenges they face and is also responsible for communicating to Ministry of Health, funders and other providers, the needs of this group.
- A list of local and national services, as well as targeted information and contacts for some of the most commonly faced issues within the community
- Access to social media and shared experiences, images and videos of the families that make up the CCG network
- Information about rights and how to have a voice
Continence NZ was established to provide a service to people with continence problems, caregivers, health professionals and the general public by providing information and education on continence topics.
Continence NZ contracted Sapere Research Group (Sapere) to undertake an independent analysis of the current state of continence services in District Health Boards (DHBs) in New Zealand.
eCALD is a website that hosts a range of resources to support the NZ health and disability workforce to develop competencies to work and engage with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) migrants and refugees from Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and African (MELAA) backgrounds.
- A range of cross cultural resources and publications providing responsive approaches to ensure equitable, culturally appropriate, effective and safe services and engagement with CALD groups
- Other resources on the website include translated resources, migrant and refugee services and news
The Hearing Association is a volunteer-based organisation that helps people with any type of hearing problem.
Local branches offer one-to-one support for members and non-members alike, socially and in the workplace.
Hearing Dogs supports and trains hearing dogs for people with hearing problems.
- Information on ‘What is a hearing dog?’
IHC New Zealand is a membership-based organisation that supports people with intellectual disabilities to live satisfying lives in the community. IHC provides a range of services, including advocacy, and a library related to intellectual disability.
iSign is a nationwide booking organisation providing New Zealand Sign Language interpreters.
Te Pou o Te Whakaaro Nui is a national centre of evidence-based workforce development for the mental health, addiction and disability sectors.
- Let’s get real: Disability (a workforce quality initiative created to help the disability workforce meet the needs of disabled people, whānau and communities)
The Mental Health Foundation provides a range of services and campaigns addressing all aspects of mental health and wellbeing.
It provides free information and training, and advocates for policies and services that support people with experience of mental illness and their families/whānau and friends.
The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of New Zealand is a non-profit organisation that provides on-going support, education and advocacy for people with MS and their support networks. It also aims to educate the general public, employers and health professionals about MS and actively funds key research into the condition.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association is a New Zealand not-for-profit organisation which provides information and support to people affected by neuromuscular conditions. Its services include a national fieldwork service, as well as specialist information and advice.
The National Foundation for the Deaf works to promote the rights, interests and welfare of people with hearing loss. It offers support, prevention and advocacy programmes. The Foundation’s website publishes various resources.
The Needs Assessment Service Co-ordination Association (NASCA) is the national association for managers of NASC organisations. The Ministry of Health contracts these organisations to:
- work with people with disabilities to identify their strengths and support needs
- tell people about available support services
- determine people’s eligibility for Ministry of Health-funded support services
- allocate Ministry-funded support services
- help people access other supports.
Support services are then delivered by their respective service providers.
The New Zealand Disability Support Network is a national association of disability support providers.
The New Zealand Down Syndrome Association promotes the participation of people with Down syndrome in their community. It provides:
- information, support, education and advocacy services for the Down syndrome community
- support for parents and families/whānau
- information resources and a quarterly journal
- support for regional groups so that they can offer support and services to the Down syndrome community in their area through family events, social groups, guest speakers, individual support and advocacy.
- Information on Down Syndrome
- provides generic, impartial and accurate disability information through 23 community-based hubs across NZ.
- employs Information Consultants (20% with lived experience of disability) to assist people to navigate the disability support services sector.
- has expertise in community engagement and facilitating responsiveness in communities.
- is a respectful ally of disabled people, working together to ensure that New Zealand is a fully inclusive and accessible society where everyone has a good life.
- Locate a centre close to you – there are 23 Member Centres throughout New Zealand
- National free phone 0800 693 342
Le Va is the national hub for Pasifika mental health and addiction workforce development and coordination for the disability support services sector.
- Organisational Guidelines for Disability Support Services: Working with Pasifika People with Disabilities and their Families
Parent to Parent supports parents of children with a disability, health impairment or health issue by connecting them with trained volunteer support parents who have a child or family member in a similar situation. It also provides training programmes for families and siblings.
Vaka Tautua is a charitable organisation that aims to help improve the health and wellbeing of Pasifika people in New Zealand. It provides community support for older people, people with a disability and those needing support for mental health.
Sign Language Interpreters Association of New Zealand is a national professional association of sign language interpreters.
- SLIANZ Member Directory (includes qualifications and areas of specialty)
Weka is a website providing information on a range of disabilities, resources, support and services.