Community update - December 2023

Welcome to our latest community update for December 2023.

Sign up to receive these updates by email.

There are several ways to access this update.

You can watch the video summary of this update with NZSL, captions and audio narration. A transcript is also available.

You can also read our written community update with more information including links or access  alternate formats below.

Alternate formats

Video update

This NZSL video has captions, audio narration and a transcript.

Written community update

In this update

A word from Paula

Kia ora, 

As more and more Christmas decorations and songs appear in stores, and the weather starts to get warmer, we are constantly reminded the year is about to wrap up. And what a year it has been!

I have been proud to see how our community has continued to unite and support one another through extreme weather events, impacts from the increased cost of living and times of uncertainty across the globe.  

2023 has continued to be a year of establishment and growth for Whaikaha. I am feeling confident that with the team we are building we will be able to achieve our ambitious mandate and contribute towards creating an accessible Aotearoa New Zealand.

We have also focused on strengthening our relationships with the disability community, whānau and providers, to enable us to work together in partnership to improve outcomes for disabled people and their whānau.  

This year, I have been hosted by members of our community from Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) in the North to communities across Te Waipounamu (South Island), hearing what is working for them and how they are incorporating the enabling good lives vision and principles into their mahi, along with the challenges they are currently facing.

I look forward to continuing to build on the relationships that Whaikaha has developed over the past 18 months, along with forming new ones.   

I would like to thank you all for your continued engagement with Whaikaha throughout 2023. Each piece of feedback, encouragement, and suggestion on how we can continue to work together to improve outcomes for disabled people and their whānau has been greatly appreciated.

I hope you continue to engage with us, join us in celebrating successes and hold us accountable when it is needed.  

However you celebrate or acknowledge this time of year, I hope you find some time for yourself, time to reconnect with those close to you and to plan for the year ahead.  

I look forward to talking with you all again in the new year and continuing the mahi (work) that lies ahead.

Ngā mihi nui, 

Paula Tesoriero MNZM

Te Tumu Whakarae, Chief Executive -

Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People

Whaikaha 2022/23 Annual Report

Our first Annual Report is now available and provides information on the services, activities and achievements of Whaikaha for the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.

Whaikaha was established on 1 July 2022 as a Departmental Agency hosted by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), so our Annual Report is an appendix to the 2022/23 MSD Annual Report.

View the Annual Report and Executive Summary with alternate formats.

My Home, My Choice engagement

The My Home My Choice programme focuses on the work needed to transform the way people in residential services are assisted so they have more choice and control in their lives.

The programme is on track and in the engagement phase, we are committed to working alongside disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori, family and whānau to ensure their voices and experiences guide the change.

In late October and early November, we ran engagement sessions for disabled people, tangata whaikaha Māori, Pacific people, family/whānau and providers. Our learnings from these engagements will be used to inform the design of the My Home My Choice Programme.

We will share more opportunities to be involved soon, in the meantime, find out more information on our My Home, My Choice webpage.

Review into policies, processes, and practices for managing complaints 

We recently welcomed the findings of a report we commissioned into the processes and practices for managing complaints about the delivery of disability support services by IDEA Services. We will be working with IDEA Services and the community to strengthen processes and practices for managing complaints.

More information on the report and how to give feedback or make a complaint is available on our webpage: Whaikaha welcomes review into policies, processes, and practices for managing complaints external URL  

Disability Action Plan review

The Disability Action Plan external URL is currently being reviewed, and a 2024-2028 Plan will be developed to deliver the eight outcomes in the Disability Strategy.

If you would like to have a say about what actions government agencies could include in the 2024-2028 Disability Action Plan, email your name and contact details to and put Disability Action Plan in the subject line.

Partnerships update 

Working in partnership is what makes Whaikaha different from other government agencies.

We want to make sure disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori and whānau can have a say on how we advise government, design services, and work with other agencies to incorporate disability perspectives and needs into their policies and services. 

An initial set of partnership structures has been put in place and the following groups have already met for the first time or will meet before the end of the year.

The Insights Alliance

Oversees the monitoring and evaluation of the Enabling Good Lives system transformation and the implementation of the Monitoring, Evaluation, Analysis and Learning (MEAL) framework.

The Advisory Group to Review the Eligibility for Disability Support Services

Has a specific focus on people who are underserved or not able to access support services. Their experience informs the advice Whaikaha will provide to government. 

Strategic Advisory Group

Provides strategic advice on major work items including policy work, strategic intentions, Cabinet papers, and the impact of change on the lives of disabled people.

Transformation Management Board

Provides governance over a defined transformation work programme and advice to support the implementation of transformation initiatives.

In the new year, we will be focusing on how we engage and partner with young disabled people, older disabled people and whānau. We will also be sharing opportunities for the community to get involved. 

Find out more information about Whaikaha partnerships

UNCRPD update

Whaikaha has been leading the coordination of the Government response to the recommendations from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

To inform the next steps in the Government response we are continuing to work with other agencies on the development of their implementation plans. We will continue to provide updates as this work develops.  

More information about the UNCRPD external URL can be accessed including the Cabinet paper and alternate formats.

NZSL Office update

Whaikaha provides support through the NZSL office for the NZSL Board and monitors the New Zealand Sign Language Strategy 2018-2023.

The team has been busy supporting the NZSL Board with their meetings, allocating community grants, consulting on interpreting standards, external URL and starting work on the next New Zealand Sign Language Strategy external URL .

They have also supported Te Rōpū Kaitiaki - bringing together Māori Deaf to support access to te Ao Māori through NZSL and have been managing contracts for the NZSL Dictionary and Sign Language Proficiency Assessment service. 

To keep up to date with the NZSL Board, check out the NZSL Board Facebook page. external URL

Jobs at Whaikaha 

Over the Christmas break, we will continue to advertise a small number of positions as we look for people to join our team and help shape the future of disability services in New Zealand. Our recruitment will be back in full swing from mid-January 2024.

There will be opportunities across all teams in Whaikaha working to deliver better outcomes for disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori, families and whānau in line with the Enabling Good Lives approach.

We welcome applications from disabled people, or those who have a lived experience of disability through whānau or community involvement.   

Our website continues to be updated with our current vacancies.

Want to get in touch? 

If there is something specific you would like to hear about in future updates, other general feedback or you want to get in touch, please visit our contact us webpage. 

Wishing you all a safe and happy festive season

We will aim to send the next community update in early 2024. Please tell your whānau and friends in the disability community that they can sign up to receive these updates too. 

Ngā manaakitanga ki a koutou katoa | Best wishes to you all,

Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People