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New Zealand Health Group (NZHG) is strengthening our commitment to amplify the voices of our disabled communities with the establishment of Whakapuāwai (our disability transformation taskforce).

Jane Kelley, Chief Executive of NZHG, said the members of the newly formed taskforce all have lived experience of disability and will help ensure NZHG offers more choice and control for disabled people over the support they receive, so they can plan for the lives they want.

The taskforce is guided by the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) approach – a vision and eight principles established by the disability community in 2011 to shift decision-making in their own lives and transform how they and their whānau are supported to live everyday lives.

“I want to welcome Whakapuāwai to our New Zealand Group whānau and thank our members for sharing their invaluable insights into the difficulties they face when navigating the disability support sector,” said Ms Kelley.

“With the recent launch of Whaikaha (Ministry of Disabled People) and reform of the entire disability support sector on the horizon, now is the time for Government, support providers and community organisations to come together to ensure disabled people have control of their lives and the support they need to thrive.”

Ms Kelley adds Whakapuāwai is ready and willing to be part of any discussions on transforming the disability support sector at a nation-wide level and will look to foster relationships with other organisations and groups that are also aligned with the EGL approach.

Founding Whakapuāwai member Sue Robertson says she joined the taskforce to promote wellbeing in our disabled communities and help transform the disability support system.

She is looking forward to working with some familiar faces on the taskforce to ensure the EGL principles are embedded in future service design and delivery at New Zealand Health Group.

NZHG welcomed Ms Robertson and the other 6 members of the taskforce with a Mihi Whakatau (welcome ceremony) in Auckland earlier this week.

“As was quoted at the Mihi Whakatau: ‘Kua tawhiti kē tō haerenga mai kia kore e haere tonu, he tino nui rawa ōu mahi kia kore e mahi nui tonu (we have come too far not to go further, we have done too much not to do more)’,” said Ms Robertson.

“We can all play our part, no matter how small. Together we are stronger.”

NZHG supports disabled communities through a range of residential and community-based services including day programmes, respite support, and employment support services. Our NZCL team also supports more than 2,000 people with disabilities to live independently in more than 210 homes across the motu.