Paula Tesoriero on International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Our Chief Executive Paula Tesoriero wants to say happy International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and acknowledge the change needed to improve the lives of disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori and their whānau in Aotearoa.
Video transcript is included and closed captions (subtitles) are available.
Ngā mihi nui kia koutou katoa. Ko Paula Tesoriero toku ingoa. I'm Paula, the Chief Executive of Whaikaha the Ministry of Disabled People. My sign name is Paula, which is mimicking riding a bike, something I love.
Today I'm wearing a black top, with a silver chain. I have short brown hair. I want to say Happy International Day of Disabled People. We use the term disabled people to reflect the social model of disability, which is all about understanding that we are not disabled because of the individual impairment that we have, but rather because of the way society is created.
And the social model reminds us all that we have a collective responsibility to reduce barriers for disabled people.
While today is about celebration, it's also really important to acknowledge that for many people in our community, many disabled people and their families, it's not a happy day because there are many in our community who need to see change.
Just this year, we have heard harrowing stories from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into abuse in state care. We've heard from the Waitangi tribunal on kaupapa hearings about the experience of disabled people and their families.
And earlier this year, we had the United Nations report on what New Zealand needs to do, to do better for disabled people and our families. These stories and recommendations are crucial to ensuring that we improve the lives of disabled people tāngata whaikaha Māori and their whānau.
But we're building from a foundation and a mandate for change. Those foundations are critical. We also have in Whaikaha a brand new ministry, the first in the world, Ministry of Disabled People and that is something to celebrate.
In partnership with our community we will lead the change that is needed. I hope that New Zealand becomes a first in everything around disability. The theme of the International Day this year is a bit of a mouthful. Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development. The role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world.
I said it was a bit of a mouthful, but it's also really relevant for us and out here in partnership we’ll be transforming the disability support system using an Enabling Good Lives approach. We'll be ensuring disabled people have more choice and control over their lives by unlocking access to innovation.
No one knows better which Innovative technology, transport support or wellbeing solutions will lead to a great life, then disabled people ourselves. Whaikaha also has a role in stewarding change across government. This means we can influence policy in areas such as education, transport, housing, employment and many others.
This is how we will develop a pathway to a more inclusive, accessible and equitable Aotearoa. Let the world follow our lead. Hoake tatou, let's go. Thank you. Ngā mihi nui, kia koutou katoa.