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December 10 - Blog

Although there has been much talk of social inclusion for disabled people over the past 20 years, the reality is that much remains to be done before we see disabled people living full, meaningful and inclusive lives in our communities.

One of the roles of Connectors is to work to build the capacity and confidence of our local communities so that disabled people can be fully included both as valued participants and valued contributors.

As part of this role, Mana Whaikaha Connectors attended the Whānau Ora Community Day held at Te Wai Ora Community Health Centre. The day started with a community walk celebrating  life, and instilling the message that no one walks alone - a message we need to continuously embrace as we recognise that many disabled people and families continue to be very isolated and quite marginalised.

This was followed by Whānau Ora day which saw various communities groups performing and a variety of stalls. Mana Whaikaha participated by hosting a community art project with the focus on ‘What is a good life?’ The community were generous sharing their kōrero with us and identifying what a good life is for them. Not surprisingly, the major themes for people were friendships, whānau and connection to community, all of the things that disabled people also value but often find very hard to attain. It does highlight, however, that what makes a good life for people is often things that cannot be funded or bought. The challenge for communities remains how can communities support their members to have a good life to invest in each other and ensure no one walks alone?

Huge thanks go to the organiser of the day for their manaaki, it was a privilege to be involved in such a wonderful celebration of life and whānau ora.

Lorna Sullivan 
Director, Kaitūhono/Connectors team 
Mana Whaikaha.