First anniversary - Message for the community and providers

On 1 July 2023 we marked the first anniversary of the establishment of Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People.

On this page

Message from Chief Executive Paula Tesoriero

To mark the occasion our Chief Executive Paula Tesoriero MNZM has made a video for the disability community to share her thanks, update everyone on some of the things that Whaikaha has been up to and to share some of our top priorities over the next 12 months.   

You can watch the video below with NZSL, a transcript and the option to turn captions on. You can also download a word doc version of the transcript. (DOCX 16KB)



Whaikaha - New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) sign name

On 29 June 2023 Whaikaha was gifted a sign name on behalf of the Deaf community, making Whaikaha the first Ministry to have a name in all official languages of Aotearoa New Zealand.  



The one-handed sign TREE moving upwards reflects the rātā vine, which is part of the Whaikaha visual brand and whakatauākī – “Me he aka rātā ka tipu tahi, ka puāwai tahi kia tū kaha i ngā hihi ō Tamanuiterā - Like the rātā vines growing together and flourishing to stand strong in the warmth of the sun”. 

You can learn more about our new NZSL name in our NZSL name announcement article.

Message from Amanda Bleckmann

Amanda Bleckmann, Deputy Chief Executive - Organisational Design and Delivery

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work our providers do, and the good will and good faith you have shown us through the establishment of Whaikaha. I recognise our shared commitment towards delivering on the aspirations of disabled people and whānau.

Thank you for working with us to ensure that there was no disruption to the delivery of disability support services to disabled people and whānau during this time.

August Provider hui

Whaikaha is acutely aware of the pressures on our providers - including the financial, workforce and cost pressures you are facing. We are committed to ensuring we pass on the price uplifts from this year’s Budget as quickly as possible. 

We will be setting up online hui in August when we will be in a position to update you on:

  • the uplift and expected timelines
  • our finalised organisational structure
  • the contingency funding which we are seeking to draw down for the national rollout of the Enabling Good Lives approach; and
  • our work moving from supporting disabled people by responding to their prioritised needs through centrally designed services, towards supporting disabled people and whānau to live the life they are seeking.

Details of these events will be emailed to our provider network and posted on our website.

Our collective responsibility

Whaikaha shares a collective responsibility with providers and the disability support sector at large to respond to the aspirations of disabled people and whānau. Delivering on this collective responsibility will require us to work closely together, to have open and frank discussions, and to recognise that we cannot succeed in delivering systems transformation using an EGL approach without each other.

Accepting this collective responsibility is how we demonstrate our joint commitment to the UNCRPD and the primacy it places on the voices of disabled people in directing their own futures, being leaders in their own communities, and guiding the development of the system that supports them.

Thank you to John Taylor

I particularly want to acknowledge John Taylor ONZM, and the contributions he has made to and on behalf of the provider sector, as he moves on from his role as Chief Executive at Community Connections.

John has always stuck true to his conviction of improving the lives of disabled people and has been on the Enabling Good Lives journey right from the start. He has represented providers on the National Enabling Good Lives Leadership Group throughout most of its’ existence.

NZDSN Conference

Whaikaha is proud to be a sponsor of this year's NZDSN conference on 18-19 July.

Myself, and some members of my team will be attending this event and we look forward to seeing some of you there.

We could not have got to where we are without you. The work you do matters to us, and to the people you support.

Thank you!

Ngā manaakitanga ki a koutou katoa, best wishes to you all,  

Amanda Bleckmann