It’s about time

“I had been telling people for years that change is coming. We are so ready for it. This will be life changing,” said Tina.

“Are you serious? That’s awesome!” were the words from Tina Lincoln when she heard that MidCentral was the area selected for the transformation of the disability support system.

“I had been telling people for years that change is coming. We are so ready for it. This will be life changing,” said Tina.

Tina is the mother of three young women who all have their own aspirations and plans to contribute to society in their own way.

Her middle daughter Nikki uses a wheelchair and totally relies on people understanding her facial expressions to communicate. Nikki is going to need a range of supports placed around her to ensure these plans occur.

Tina LincolnThe largest goal for Nikki (and family) is to go flatting with her friend. “This timing perfectly lines up with the rollout of the new disability support system (Mana Whaikaha) in MidCentral,” says Tina. This is a collective goal Tina has held for many years with the family of Nikki’s friend.

“We asked a local provider to ensure the young adults’ lives were at the forefront and support this idea and help to make this a reality,” says Tina.

Living life independently

“The vision is for Nikki and her flatmate to have a life like everyone else, and the families to live like other families when their young adults leave home. I need to have Nikki’s life on an ideal pathway so when I depart this earth I will have peace of mind.”

Tina will be there to employ and train the staff in a way that best suits Nikki’s needs while the provider will be on hand to assist with other aspects, yet to be defined.  Nikki will have the flexibility to do what she wants and like many young women her age, this could include concerts, community outings, and overseas travel.

“I am hoping technology will catch up to Nikki’s communication style, then she can clearly tell us what she wants,” says Tina.

Once there is trust in the new arrangement, Tina will take a step back and pop around and connect as Nikki’s mother, not her caregiver.“Some success will be seeing Nikki happy, engaging with the community, and the community connecting with Nikki and knowing her,” she says.

As with most visions, roadblocks pop up along the way.  The big one for the past 2 years has been trying to find an accessible property which Nikki and her flatmate can live in with ease. “In an ideal world, accessible universal builds make sense for most home owners, as none of us know what the future may hold,” says Tina.

There are very few accessible properties in the MidCentral rental market. However, the provider has been able to secure a property where Nikki and her flatmate will move into in the near future.  There was another roadblock with ‘housing modifications’ having to be done. The house has been empty since May 2018 with the projected completion time from 2-5 months from now. Nikki and her flatmate may not move into the property until 2019. “In the new system, I would like to see this time-frame decreased dramatically. We are fortunate that the relationship with the provider and their connections has resulted in a positive housing result,” says Tina.

Creating change

Tina has not just been waiting for the change to the disability support system, she has been actively involved. She put her name forward to be a part of the co-design process and was successful in becoming a family/whānau representative.

As a firm believer in connecting with other parents to provide a supportive, natural network in the community, Tina has been a strong voice for families, placing an emphasis on the importance of community and capability building of disabled people and whānau. ”Without new ideas to stimulate our thinking, we can often be stuck in what we have been experiencing. We know what doesn’t work, we need to start thinking about what we want,” says Tina.

Her involvement also led to supporting the Regional Enabling Good Lives Leadership Group in a co-facilitating role.


For more information on connecting with other families within MidCentral, contact Parent 2 Parent regional coordinator Janine Morrah on 020 4163 9455 and/or on their website.

Visit the Care Matters website (external website)

Mana Whaikaha has a strong focus on capacity building of disabled people and family/whānau.

If you are keen to know more or to make changes to your support, contact us on 0800 626 255. You can also email us info@manawhaikaha.co.nz