Disability Support Agencies
NASCs (Needs Assessment and Service Coordination services) identify support needs and determine eligibility for Ministry of Health funded support services. A referral to your local NASC can be done by yourself or anyone else. Once a referral is received, a needs assessment will take place. Contact details for local NASCs can be found following the link above.
IHC New Zealand
IHC advocates for the rights, inclusion and welfare of all people with intellectual disabilities and supports them to live satisfying lives in the community via a range of services. They also provide an extensive library service.
CCS Disability Action
CCS provides support, advocacy and information for people with a disability. They work in partnership with disabled people and whānau to provide dedicated and flexible support services. They also provide a library service.
Vaka Tautua is a charitable organisation providing disability, mental health, older peoples, public health and other support services for Pacific people within New Zealand.
Te Roopu Waiora (Auckland)
Te Roopu Waiora Trust is a unique kaupapa Maori Organisation founded and governed by whanau with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities. Its role is providing disability information and advice and assisting whanau access Maori communities, providers, agencies and government. Other regional Maori health providers can be found here.
Enable New Zealand
Enable facilitates and delivers access to resources for people with identified health and disability support needs, i.e. housing modifications. They are the Ministry of Health provider of EMS services for all national areas which are South of Auckland.
Accessable provides equipment, housing alterations and vehicle modifications on behalf of the Ministry of Health. They are the provider of EMS services for Auckland and Northland.
Explore Specialist Advice
Explore is the national provider of specialist behaviour support to people with disabilities who experience challenging behaviours.
Other Support Agencies
The NZDSN is a national network of NGOs that provide disability support services. They maintain a list of service providers which can be searched using the link above.
Carer Support Resources and Links
Disability Support Guide (Disability Connect)
This booklet helps families navigate their way throughout the disability sector, and sheds some light on the roles of the various ministries and organisations involved. There is also information on disability policy and legislation in New Zealand. It is available in 4 languages and hard copies can be ordered from Disability Connect.
Disability Support Services – your guide to (LeVa and MOH)
General information booklet about disability support services.
Disability Services – Ministry of Health
This web page outlines the range of services available to support people with disabilities – and the people who care for them.
Disability Connect (Auckland)
Disability Connect is an information service provider based in Auckland helping families to navigate the NZ disability sector. They regularly offer useful seminars and workshops and keep you up to date with new activities, services and groups in the Auckland region.
A Guide for Carers
This guide is published by the Ministry of Social Development and includes information on services and supports available for carers, such as: financial help, transport and travel, help at home, having a break, taking care of yourself, contacts in time of mental health crisis, making and resolving complaints.
Care Matters is a carer learning and wellbeing resource service that aims to provide current information, strengthen carer knowledge and understanding, enhance the relationships between carers and those they care for and increase carer confidence. They operate a freephone service for carers and facilitate a range of workshops and courses around NZ.
Carers NZ provides information and advice for carers, answers your questions and has a helpline available. They are the Secretariat for the NZ Carers Alliance and promote the interests of family carers in government decision making.
My Care is a carer matching service which helps you find, manage and pay for the help you need.
Parent to Parent
Parent to Parent connects parents, informs and support families. Services are free and confidential. Regional offices connect parents with support parents who have a child or family member with a similar disability. They also provide sibling support programmes.
Sports, Arts and Community Organisations for People with Disabilities
Adaptive Snow Sports NZ
All commercial ski areas in New Zealand support the work of the Snow Sports NZ Adaptive programme. Some ski areas that do not have an official adaptive programme do have instructors that have adaptive training. Find adaptive programmes near you.
New Zealand Riding for the Disabled Association
NZRDA provide goal-based and therapeutic horse riding and horse related activities to people with disabilities of all ages. A person may be referred to the RDA programme by a health professional, teacher or caregiver. NZRDA is an association of member groups – find a group near you.
People First NZ
People First is a self-advocacy organisation that is directed by people with a learning disability. People First has leadership projects and opportunities, provides courses for people with disabilities and has regional groups.
Recreate NZ (Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty & Canterbury)
Recreate NZ provides social and recreational services to young people with disabilities through a variety of programme types ranging from ½ day to 6 days in length.
Special Olympics New Zealand
Special Olympics offers a year-round programme of various sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Find clubs and programmes near you.
StarJam empowers young people with disabilities to explore their talents, gain new skills and build confidence through music and performance workshops. Branches in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch.
Arts Access Aotearoa
Arts Access Aotearoa | Whakahauhau Katoa o Hanga advocates for people in New Zealand who experience barriers to participation in the arts and facilitates access. Key stakeholders are people with physical, sensory or intellectual impairments; individuals and organisations in the community and professional arts sectors; and people with lived experience of mental ill-health.
InterACT Disability Arts Festival
The InterAct Festival offers an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of disabled people in the arts and creates a pathway forward toward a thriving and vibrant future for Disability Arts in New Zealand. Through live performances, wearable arts parades, drumming, singing, and creative workshops, InterAct fosters the talent of people with disabilities and provides an environment in which everybody can thrive.
Dance Therapy NZ (Auckland area)
DTNZ support and empower through the use of Dance Movement Therapy and Arts Therapy, with a focus on those with disabilities, special needs, and at risk/low income communities. They offer a range of programmes, including: Dance 4 Us (Dance Therapy for Adults with disabilities & special needs), STARS (Dance Movement Therapy for children and young people with Autism, and other special needs) and Arts 4 Us Specialty (Art Therapy for children and young people with Autism, and other special needs).
Touch Compass Dance Company (Auckland)
Touch Compass is a professional inclusive performance art company, forming the points where disabled and non-disabled dancers meet, on the floor and in mid-air. Specialising in aerial work and dance-theatre, performances draw from Contact Improvisation, a dance practice that emerged out of the ’70s.
Mapura Studios (Auckland)
Māpura Studios (formerly Spark Centre of Creative Development) is a creative space and art therapy centre located in central Auckland. They offer art classes and art therapy programmes for people of all ages living with physical and intellectual disabilities, impairment, or other social and personal need.
Discovery Gymnastics (Pukekohe, Auckland)
From pre-school aged children to adults with intellectual or physical disabilities. Held at Franklin Gymsports – see the class timetable for details.
Tri Star Disability Gymnastics (Mt Roskill, Auckland)
Gymnastic skills taught in a personalised setting, whilst improving coordination, strength, balance and motor skills. Adaptable to any age or ability and a class can be created around the athlete’s individual needs and goals. Held at the Auckland Regional Gymsports Centre.
Arohanui Art and Education Trust (Tauranga)
Arohanui is a service provider offering community participation and meaningful day activities for people aged 16 years and over with a disability. Various programmes: art/craft, recreational, life skills and vocational.
Arts for Health Community Trust (Hamilton)
Art and craft sessions are provided to people who are disadvantaged due to illness, injury or disability. Clients are given the opportunity to meet others and share in the creative experience.
Alpha Gallery (Wellington)
Alpha Gallery is an accessible gallery space in the heart of Wellington’s creative district- on vibrant Cuba St. It serves as the commercial face of Alpha Art Studio – an art studio and vocational space for adults with intellectual disabilities, housed in the same building.
Vincents Art Workshop (Wellington)
A free art space and gallery in central Wellington. Vincents provides access to arts and craft facilities, skilled tuition, and materials within a supportive environment. People with disabilities, those moving into the community from institutions, the unemployed, people on low incomes and anyone from the wider community are welcome!
Wellington Integrated Dance
WIDance is a collective running weekly community integrated dance classes in Wellington at Te Whaea: National Dance & Drama Centre.
Aqua Juniors (Christchurch)
An inclusive swim school specialising in teaching water safety and swimming skills to children of all ages and all abilities while providing support and understanding for the family. Unique surroundings ensure a calm and welcoming environment.
Jolt Dance (Christchurch)
Jolt is based on the belief that everyone has the right to dance and find their own creative voice. Jolt believes our communities are strengthened by the beauty of diversity. Classes are run for all ages and abilities.
Dance for Abilities
NEW! Social opportunities can be limited for people with intellectual disabilities so Dance for Abilities’ vision is to host events for people with intellectual disabilities in the same venues that we ‘all’ like to attend with the same frills that we ‘all’ take for granted. Auckland only so far…
Transition and Employment Support
Although a few links in this 2012 Wellington focused booklet may be a little out of date, it contains great general information and advice about transition. Click to download a copy.
A transition expo, hosted by Disability Connect and MSD, is usually held around August each year in Auckland. Click the link to check the Disability Connect website for the next date. Transition expos are also sometimes held in Wellington and Christchurch (Next Steps) – check the NZDSN and Enabling Good Lives websites for any forthcoming dates.
Transition Guidelines – ‘What’s Next?’
These guidelines by NZ Disability Support Network (NZDSN) and the Ministry of Education have been produced for the Wellington, Waikato and Central (Whanganui, Manawatu, Tararua, Horowhenua & Kapiti) regions so far, however, the general advice provided can apply to all regions.
Transition services are delivered by a range of government and community based organisations; many are funded by MSD and are free, dependent on ORS funding. Click the link above to read the Ministry of Education guidelines which detail best practice principles for transition. Some of the main providers of transition services are: CCS, IHC, Hohepa, Spectrum Care, Geneva Elevator and regional providers, such as Emerge Trust.
‘Disability Confident’ resources by MSD
Links to the LEAD Toolkit for businesses, providing advice on employing disabled people, and to services and assistance available. Plus, an employer advice line: 0800 805 405
Diversity Works NZ
Diversity Works are a national membership organisation who help businesses develop diverse and inclusive workplaces that embrace ‘difference’.
National and Regional Supported Employment Providers
Vocational and employment support is offered nationally by IDEA Services (IHC), CCS and Imagine Better, but there are many regional providers. The NZDSN have a list of disability support service providers which can be searched under category (i.e. employment) and region. Here you will find links to agencies such as A Supported Life, Brackenridge, Career Moves, Catapult, CCT, Emerge Trust, Enrich+, Geneva Elevator, Lifeskills Taranaki, Options, PACT Group, Poly-Emp, Q-Nique, Wellington After-Care, Workmates and Work Opportunities.
Workbridge support disabled jobseekers, employers and workplaces across the country, with more than 85 employment consultants in 22 service centres. They also administer support funds on behalf of the MSD. Workbridge is the largest employment agency for people with a disability, injury or illness.
Workwise is a national employment agency for people facing personal or health challenges in their lives. Services are free and the focus is on sustainable employment – matching the right people with the right jobs.
As mentioned above, IHC and CCS Disability Action provide advocacy services, in addition to those listed below:
Health and Disability Commissioner
The Health And Disability Commissioner is responsible for promoting and protecting the rights of health and disability services consumers, and facilitating the fair, simple, speedy, and efficient resolution of complaints.
The Health and Disability Advocacy Service
The Health and Disability Advocacy Service is a free service that operates independently from all health and disability service providers, government agencies and HDC. They can help with knowing more about rights when using health or disability services, getting questions answered or making a complaint.
People First NZ
People First is a self-advocacy organisation that is directed by people with a learning disability. People First provides an information and advice service, has leadership projects and opportunities, provides courses for people with disabilities, has regional groups and makes sure people can speak up and be heard on important community or national issues.
YouthLaw provide free legal services to anyone under 25 unable to access legal help elsewhere, or those acting on their behalf. They specialise in areas such as school disciplinary procedures, special education and bullying. The PWSA helped fund their ‘Challenging the Barriers’ research about the unmet needs and barriers within education for children with disabilities.
Auckland Disability Law
ADL are a branch of Community Law specialising in disability law. They provide free assistance and referrals to disabled people on their legal issues, and work with other Community Law Centres, legal professionals and community organisations to raise disability awareness and achieve the best outcome for disabled people.
Community Law Centre
Community Law have centres around the country. They give free legal help when needed (for example, if you’re on a benefit or have a low income) for all types of legal problems, i.e. finding it hard to handle WINZ, fines, facing criminal charges, or facing particular challenges as a result of having a disability or mental illness. Each centre runs differently – some give legal advice over the phone, some run drop-in legal clinics, and some ask you to make an appointment in advance.
Citizens Advice Bureau
CAB try to help people to know and understand their rights and obligations and how to use this information to get the best outcomes, providing people with the confidence and support they need to take action. They provide a free and independent service. They do not have an advocate service but will help you find an advocate if needed.
Human Rights Commission
The HRC’s purpose is to promote and protect the human rights of all people in Aotearoa/NZ. The main focus of their service is on resolving disputes involving unlawful discrimination, such as on the grounds of age, gender, ethnicity, or disability. They can advise whether your discrimination complaint is covered by the Human Rights Act and if it is, they can help with mediation. If mediation doesn’t work, they can advise you on your legal options. They have a confidential information line.
Disabled Persons Assembly
The DPA is a national organisation governed by disabled people which provides a collective voice and advocates for the aspirations of its members and for systemic improvement of all disabled people lives.
BeChange Behavioural Services
BeChange provides private behavioural services for individuals, families and professionals. Behaviour therapists use ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) which is the application of scientifically validated principles of learning and behaviour to bring about socially significant change. Self referrals for an initial consultation accepted via phone or email.
Common Ground aims to support young people to manage hard times and enjoy happier lives. A support website created by a partnership between the Mental Health Foundation, Youthline and Skylight. Lots of information, video clips, a facebook community and opportunities to engage.
Family Services Directory
A directory of service providers that can help you and your family. Search under a variety of categories for each area.
Firstport has replaced WEKA as New Zealand’s disability information database. Firstport is for anyone looking for information, advice, support or equipment relating to disability in NZ.
A New Zealand website selling a range of sensory and motor therapy toys and equipment.
Skylight Trust enables children, young people, their families/whānau and friends to navigate through tough times by building resilience. They offer resilience programmes, support groups, counselling, specialist information, advocacy and have a range of useful resources, plus a library service.
TalkLink – Assistive Technology Services
TalkLink works with people of all ages who, due to a disability, have difficulties with speaking, writing, learning and/or with controlling their environment. The TalkLink Trust has contracts with the Ministry of Health and ACC which allows TalkLink to offer free assessment services to eligible clients.
Variety – the children’s charity
Variety can provide grants for much needed medical or mobility equipment, educational assistance, therapeutic care and IT devices.
WINZ – Disability Assistance from Work and Income NZ
Information on benefits such as Child Disability Allowance and Supported Living Payment.