Advocacy is when you get support to have your say. At times we may all need someone alongside us to assist with this.

Usually the people who assist us are family, friends and supporters.

Self-advocacy is the ability to speak up for yourself and the things that are important to you

Having someone to support you have your say can help ensure that, as a disabled person, or family member you:

  • have your voice heard on issues that are important to you
  • have your rights upheld and protected
  • have your views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions are being made about your life
  • can access information and services
  • can explore choices and options
  • are kept safe from harm and abuse.

This approach supports the Enabling Good Lives principles of:


Disabled people are in control of their lives.

Ordinary life outcomes

Disabled people are supported to live everyday lives in everyday places. They are regarded as citizens with opportunities for learning, employment, having a home and family, and social participation – like others at similar stages of life.

Mana enhancing

The abilities and contribution of disabled people and their families are recognised and respected.

Who can support me to be heard?

You may choose someone you trust from your own networks, for example a friend or family member, or you may choose to access a service that offers advocacy.

There are some people who have no one in their lives to ensure their voice is heard. For these people there will be the option of accessing a trained and paid advocate whose role is to ensure the person’s will and preference is being enacted. If you think you or someone you know needs this type of support, please talk to a Kaitūhono/Connector or contact us at:


phone 0800 626 255 or 0800 MANA55

Other advocacy options and information

Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service

A free service that operates independently from all health and disability service providers, government agencies, and HDC. If you want to know more about your rights when using health or disability services, get questions answered, or make a complaint, we can help.

freephone 0800 555 050


Visit the Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service website (external website)

IHC Advocacy Toolkit

View the IHC Advocacy Toolkit Information Sheet (external website)

Personal Advocacy Trust

The Trust provides lifelong advocacy for enrolled members with learning disabilities after the death of their parents

Visit the Personal Advocacy Trust website (external website)

Auckland Disability Law

(ADL) provides free legal services to disabled people associated with their disability legal issues. ADL is the only specialist disability law community law centre in Aotearoa New Zealand

Visit the Auckland Disability Law website (external website)

Heath and Disability Commissioner

The purpose of the Health and Disability Commissioner is to promote and protect the rights of consumers as set out in the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights. This includes resolving complaints in a fair, timely, and effective way. You have the right to complain if you are not happy with a health or disability service you have received.

Freephone: 0800 11 22 33


Visit the Health and Disability Commissioner website (external website)

Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission offers a free, informal enquiries and complaints service to deal with discrimination (including discrimination on the grounds of your disability) and racial and sexual harassment issues. If you think you have faced discrimination you can make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission. We can help with advice and information and, if necessary, mediating your complaint.

Postal address: PO Box 6751, Wellesley St, Auckland 1010

Freephone: 0800 496 877

Text: 021 0236 4253


Visit the Human Rights Commission website (external website)

People First New Zealand

A self-advocacy organisation that is led and directed by people with learning disability

View the Easy Read resources on the People First website (external website)

Supported Decision Making - How-I-make-my-decisions

A tool you can use to help you tell others how you make your decisions

View the Supported Decision-Making tools on the People First website (external website)