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April 2022 Edition
Kia ora koutou

We hope you are enjoying the unseasonably warm (and calm!) weather in the Capital of late. The change in traffic light setting back to Orange has been a welcome relief and the Committee is delighted to let you know we're starting to bring back face-to-face community events so let's hope this weather holds out for a little bit longer.  

This month we said a sad goodbye to our wonderful Treasurer, Amanda, who has stepped back from the Committee to focus on her family. Huge thanks Amanda for all your hard work over the years. We'll introduce you to the new Treasurer soon. 

For more interesting information relevant to our community, continue to read below...


And please do drop us a line,, if you have suggestions for this newsletter or ideas that might enable us to better support you as a community.

Ngā mihi
Selena and the WDSA Committee
My name is Sophia Griffiths. I like to play H20, TikToks, singing and dancing.
I like doing my makeup, dressing up and going out for dinner.

Blair is my Dad; Yvonne is my Mum. Charlotte and Luca are my sisters. I live with my Dad and Mum in Upper Hutt. I have lots of fun playing with Genna, Alice and Ben. I also like having a spa.

My favourite food is pizza, sushi and McDonald's. My best friends are Genna, Alice and Ben. I go to Dance Jam and Star Jam and for school I go to Heretaunga College. When I'm older I would like to be a masseuse and a babysitter.
Family Network – Think, Plan, Do Workshops
Growing your Vision, sustaining the future. Building and supporting a vision that will secure the future for your family member with an intellectual impairment.

This seminar will introduce:
  • strategies to help articulate and set your Vision for your disabled family member with intellectual impairment
  • tools and an understanding of the importance of planning for what you want and don't want for your family member

2 sessions: 17 May or 18 May
(Morning tea & lunch provided)
Wellesley Boutique Hotel
Maginnity St

Register at


Sexuality & Intellectual Disability
Family Planning are offering this free workshop for whānau and caregivers that focuses on what whānau and guardians can do to support their loved ones in their sexual and reproductive wellbeing. 
The workshop will be 1.5 hours long and will be held across multiple dates:

7pm, 4 May
6pm, 20 July
7pm, 5 September
6pm, 3 November

Register at

Save the Date - Enabling Good Lives Workshop

The NZDSA will be collaborating with Care Matters to present a series of online workshop about Enabling Good Lives. To find out more join us at the introductory evening. 

Zoom Meeting
7pm, 12 May 2022 (To be confirmed via Facebook)
Meeting ID: 885 9982 0699
Passcode: 208092

Down Syndrome & Autism - A Dual Diagnosis

Please view this video before joining the session. This session will also involve a Q&A with Geraldine Whatnell, Nurse Practitioner, Mental Health & Addictions Service, Palmerston North Hospital. Geraldine brings with her nearly 40 years of professional skills and knowledge in the specialist area of developmental disabilities (intellectual disabilities and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder) and mental illness. Alongside this, Geraldine has a wealth of personal experience as her younger brother Mark has Down syndrome.

Zoom Meeting
7pm, 17 May 2022 
Meeting ID: 840 8883 4621
Passcode: 778032

Under 5s Catch Up

Bring your kids along to awesome Avalon Park for some fresh air and a play, and meet other parents with littlies like yours. This event will be hosted by our new parent liaison, Ruth Coard. Wet weather location will be Ruth's house.

10am, Wednesday 18 May
61 Taita Drive
Lower Hutt 5011


WDSA Mid Winter Christmas

We missed holding our annual Christmas party last year. So we've decided that a Mid Winter Christmas is just the ticket to ward off the winter blues. Dust off your party frocks and blue suedes, we'll be putting in a call to the Big Man in Red to see if he can join us for the festivities too. More details next month.
New Ministry for Disabled People

In October 2021, the government announced they would be setting up a new provisionally named ‘Ministry for Disabled People’. The disability community has been advocating for a separate Ministry dedicated to the needs and rights of disabled people and their whānau for many years. The new Ministry will begin operating on 1 July 2022.

Importantly, disabled people and their whānau are involved in all stages of the set up of the Ministry. This includes through appointed positions on the Community Steering Group, which is made up of disabled people and whānau with a wide range of skills and experience, through to wider community engagement through online platforms like AmplifyU. In a first for Aotearoa, the Ministry will have names in New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), reo Māori and English. The name will replace the current working title – Ministry for Disabled People.

The Ministry will be responsible for the development of disability-related policy as well as for the delivery of disability supports. It will also work to ensure that disabled people’s needs are considered across all government departments, not just in relation to disability supports (housing, transport, education and so on).

Read more about the set up of the new ministry here.
National roll out of Enabling Good Lives (EGL) approach to disability supports

EGL is a new way of supporting disabled people and their whānau to have greater choice and control over their lives and supports. EGL is based on a vision and a set of principles. As shown by the pilot projects in Christchurch, Waikato and Mid Central region, an EGL approach to disability supports has led to improved outcomes for disabled people and whānau, for example, increased autonomy and social connectedness, and better access to education and employment opportunities. The national roll out of EGL will be phased over a four-year period.

Some of the key features of an EGL approach to disability supports include:

  • having access to a personal budget that can be used flexibly 
  • access to Kaituhono who can walk alongside disabled people and whānau to help them identify what they want in their life, how to build their life, and the range of supports available to live their life
  • investment in capability and capacity building to help equip disabled people and whānau to exercise self-determination and leadership in their own lives and communities.

The creation of Regional Leadership Groups will ensure that communities have a say in how the new system is designed and delivered. Regional Leadership Groups are an independent forum that enable disabled people and whānau to lead and influence development. You can read more about Regional Leadership Groups here.

Care Matters provides some useful information for families to help them understand how the changes will impact them and what they can do to prepare for and make the most of a new EGL approach to disability supports.
COVID Survey

The NZDSA would like to know how life is going for parents, whānau and people with Down syndrome in the Omicron environment. Your stories and feedback will ensure that the NZDSA can effectively represent the Down syndrome community when we advocate to various Government Ministries and Providers.

Take the survey here to have your voice heard.
  • There were some excellent entries in our Rock Your Socks Colouring Competition, celebrating WDSD - well done to all the winners! You can check out their entries in the Facebook album
  • Congratulations to Raewyn Kohu, winner of our firewood raffle. We raised over $650 - thanks for supporting this fundraiser. And thanks again to our Chair, Blair Griffiths, for donating it
The WDSA Committee is made up entirely of volunteers.
We'd love to connect with members of the community who can spare a few hours to help here and there. If that sounds like you, sign up to our Friends of the Committee Facebook group.
Copyright © 2022 Wellington Down Syndrome Association, All rights reserved.

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