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
- Whaikaha - New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) sign name
- Message from Amanda Bleckmann
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)
Kia ora. Ko Paula Tesoriero tōku ingoa, ko taku tūranga mahi, he Tumu Whakarae mō Whaikaha - the Ministry of Disabled People. Talofa lava, kia orana, warm Pacific greetings. My sign name is this representing two pedals on a bike. I'm standing in front of the camera wearing a blue short sleeve shirt and black pants.
My job is the Chief Executive of Whaikaha, the Ministry of Disabled People. It's been quite a year. Since day one Whaikaha is focused on improving outcomes for disabled people and transforming the systems that support our lives. We've been working hard to fully establish ourselves and build our teams. We know what we need to achieve cannot be done alone, and we need to continue to build strong partnerships with disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori. Whaikaha been engaging with many people in our community and have been listening to feedback.
We're aware there are people in our community who are struggling, people who were already doing it tough, have had covid make matters worse and on top of that many people were recently impacted by the severe weather events that battered parts of the North Island. Yet, through the past year, we have felt the support of the community, which we are here to work in partnership with and to serve.
So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in our community who has supported us in our journey so far, including the people who advocated for the establishment of Whaikaha and were involved in its original establishment. People who have met me and shared their experiences. People who bravely shared with the Abuse and Care, Royal Commission of Inquiry and the Wai 2575 inquiry. People and groups who invited me to speak to their organizations or attend their events, and people who have contributed to some of our key projects. And people we work alongside who do so much hard work every day.
Since becoming the Chief Executive in September last year, I've been reminded daily about the privilege and responsibilities which come with this job. We all agree that transforming the disability system requires us to be courageous and that this will take time. And that we must recognize our commitments to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Enabling Good Lives Principles and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities in all our work. And that's why those three pou are so central to our work.
Whaikaha is responsible for the commissioning and delivering of more than 2 billion of disability supports to up to 120,000 people on any given day. And we are taking our first steps towards system transformation. We have also been strengthening our cross-government work with other agencies so we can all start working together towards making meaningful societal changes for disabled people and whānau.
Our work has just begun and with the support of the disability community and our allies, We are already making progress, including continuing the establishment of Whaikaha by developing systems and processes – as well as a larger, more fit for purpose organisational structure – which will enable us to embark on system transformation and fulfill our mandate.
Service provision such as equipment, housing modifications, vehicle purchase, and modification assistance to 68,135 people.We've been working with government and community to be in a position to draw down the a hundred million dollars on contingency to put in place the foundations for the nationwide system transformation using the Enabling Good Lives approach.
We've been developing a strategy to improve the outcomes for those in the care under the intellectual disability forensic framework. We've made the flexible approach to carer support and individualized funding, including the ability to pay family members to provide support, permanent.
We've invested in community development to build disabled persons in whānau leadership. We've promoted the rights of disabled people, including responding to almost 2000 requests for advice from the public government agencies and our Minister’s Office. We led the government delegation to Geneva for the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities examination of New Zealand's progress on realisation of the UNCRPD. We contributed to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care. And to the Waitangi Tribunal Wai2575 Health Services and Outcomes Inquiry which includes claims for tāngata whaikaha Māori.
We led on proactive engagement with Covid 19 strategies. We provided stewardship on the disability action plan. We published the third edition of the Aotearoa Autism Guideline to support autistic people in whānau. We contributed to co-chairing of the Disability Data and Evidence Working Group. We also implemented the safeguarding response for disabled and vulnerable adults as part of the broader Te Aorerekura strategy.
We co-sponsored the governing of the Education Review Office disabled learners’ reviews. We led the International Initiative for Mental Health and Disability Leadership Exchange Regional Hub in Christchurch. We've been managing and governing the board nominations database, engaging nearly 200 disabled people with an interest in governance and board participation. We've been compiling and producing the annual report towards a non disabling New Zealand for the Minister to present to the House of Representatives on implementing the New Zealand disability strategy.
We've participated in a wide range of conferences and forums on issues of importance to our community. That's just some of the things, and I hope that over the next 12 months you'll see Whaikaha add to the list of achievements. Significantly, one of the top priorities is strengthening our community partnership arrangements, expanding our workforce, including hiring more people so we can deliver on our promise. Encouraging other government agencies towards change through our disability stewardship role and progressing the much needed disability system transformation, including establishing a transformation office to drive this work.
Whatever your connection to Whaikaha has been over the past 12 months, thank you.
We have so much more to do and we can't do this on our own, so thank you. Ngā mihi nui kia koutou katoa.
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.
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.
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.
Ngā manaakitanga ki a koutou katoa, best wishes to you all,