Community update: June 2023

Stay updated with the latest community updates from Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People.  

We are trying a new format for our community updates to keep you in the loop with what is happening at Whaikaha. 

You can view a summary video of the latest updates with NZSL, a transcript and optional captions, and you can also find more information on this page 

On this page: 

Community update summary video

This video has NZSL, captions, and a transcript is below.



Ngā kaupapa matua o Whaikaha - Priorities of Whaikaha 

Since our Tumu Whakarae (Chief Executive) Paula Tesoriero joined Whaikaha in September last year, she and the team have been focusing on what is needed to build a new Ministry. This includes understanding the work that we need to do, and planning how we are going to do it.

We also need more people working at Whaikaha to be able to implement this. We will be recruiting for more roles soon, and strongly encourage disabled people and their whānau to apply if you see something that interests you. We list all current roles on our Working with us webpage external URL

Paula  has also had the opportunity to meet so many more members of the disabled community and reconnect with familiar people as she has travelled the motu in her role. She is aware the expectation on Whaikaha is high. The community has shared what is needed and the urgency in which it needs to be done.  We want to reassure you that your voices have been heard. We are working towards making a robust voice mechanism which not only will channel within Whaikaha but also with other government agencies.    

It is important that we keep having conversations with you, our community via online hui and in-person events across Aotearoa. These valuable conversations help us shape our thinking and different approaches to our mahi. Ngā mihi nui and a big thank you to everyone who has attended these events. Engagement with our community is a top priority for us as a Ministry. We will share upcoming events on our website and via social media as well as connecting with community groups to help spread the word.  

As a collective, Whaikaha has been actively seeking ways to progress as a new ministry. A focus for us is ensuring that the needs of disabled people remain at the forefront of our minds, especially when considering our strategies. On 1 July 2022, Whaikaha became responsible for the provision of disability support services. Since then, we have worked hard to deliver work that will serve our community.  

Whaikaha actively engaged with the Abuse in Care – Royal Commission of Inquiry, the UNCRPD also known as United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and WAI 2575 - the Waitangi Tribunal Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry.

Here are the latest updates on these areas. 

Update on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 

Whaikaha has led the coordination of the Government Response to the recommendations from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Committee examined New Zealand in September 2022 and provided 60 recommendations.  

Update on WAI 2575 Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry 

The Waitangi Tribunal Wai 2575 Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry Stage II - Disability held its 5th hearing week on from 20th to 24th March 2023 at Papakura Marae, Papakura Auckland.  

Our Māori Chief Advisor, Marama Parore attended the hearing along with Principal Advisor Policy, Mark Feary as Whaikaha representatives.  A number of Whaikaha Subject Matter Experts also viewed the hearing online. Some of the key themes that were highlighted included the following:  

  • The historical and inter-generational impacts of hearing loss on tāngata turi Māori (Māori Deaf people), which led to them being isolated from whanau, culture, communities and society.   
  • Genuine desire for tāngata turi Māori to have co-design and work with Government to achieve the same access to government services and support as everyone else  
  • The importance of whānau in the transformation of the disability system, and support for a combined Whānau Ora and Enabling Good Lives approach to underpin system transformation and a Te Tiriti framework.  

Week six of hearings was 19-23 June 2023 and two further hearings are scheduled for August and November 2023. 

Tahua 2023 – Budget 2023 

You might have seen that the government recently announced the Budget for 2023. They have allocated $863.6 million to ensure Whaikaha can continue to deliver existing disability support services and develop and deliver future services for disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori. This ensures funding is available to cover the increased costs and additional demand for disability support services in Aotearoa.  

If you want to find out more about initiatives relating to disability in the Government's 2023 Budget, we have detailed information on our Budget 2023 webpage. 

Te para I te huarahi – Paving the way 

We continue to lay the foundation for expanding the Enabling Good Lives approach across Aotearoa; this is being done in partnership with the disability community and Māori.   

With our first-year anniversary nearing, we know we have a long journey ahead. However, we look forward to continuing to work with the disabled community as we seek further opportunities that will benefit everyone.  

We will share another update with you soon, in the meantime, please let us know if you have any feedback about these updates. Visit our Contact us webpage for ways to get in touch.