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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.


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:

email admin@manawhaikaha.co.nz

phone 0800 626 255 or 0800 MANA55


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.

Our website advocacy.co.nz  (external website) has the LiveChat service pop up when we are available to chat, and you can leave a message for us to get back in contact when we can.

Freephone:         0800 555 050

Email:                 advocacy@advocacy.org.nz

Facebook:          https://www.facebook.com/NATAdvocacyNZ (external website)

Instagram:         https://www.instagram.com/NATAdvocacyNZ (external website)

Visit the Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service 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)

Deaf Aotearoa

Deaf Aotearoa is the national organisation representing the voice of Deaf New Zealanders, and the national service provider for Deaf people in New Zealand. Their services are available to deaf people throughout their lives, from early childhood access to New Zealand Sign Language and transitioning from school to greater independence, to employment support and assistance with accessing equipment.

Phone: 0800 332 322
Email: national@deaf.org.nz
Website: www.deaf.org.nz (external website)

Deaf Action New Zealand

Deaf Action is a national Deaf Advocacy group advocates and lobbies together with Deaf New Zealanders to uphold their human rights to government, public and private institutions, and service providers, disability service providers locally, nationally and internationally.

Deaf Action NZ ‘objective’ is to ensure services Deaf people use are accessible and accountable. Deaf Action is committed to the Treaty of Waitangi and to access and equality for all Deaf people in NZ.

Email: info@deafaction.org.nz

Visit the Deaf Action New Zealand 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

Email: hdc@hdc.org.nz

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

Email: infoline@hrc.co.nz

Visit the Human Rights Commission website (external website)

IHC Advocacy Toolkit

View the IHC Advocacy Toolkit Information Sheet (external website)

People First New Zealand Inc. Ngā Tāngata Tuatahi

People First New Zealand Inc. Ngā Tāngata Tuatahi is a national Disabled Persons Organisation that is led and directed by people with learning (intellectual) disability. 

People First is here to:

  • make sure people with learning disability can speak up and be heard on things that are important to them in government, in services and in the community
  • represent people with a learning disability who cannot speak for themselves
  • promote the rights of people with learning disability.

Phone: 0800 20 60 70

National Office: 04 381 3242

Email: ask@peoplefirst.org.nz

Visit the People First New Zealand Inc. Ngā Tāngata Tuatahi website (external website)

View the Easy Read resources on the People First New Zealand Inc. Ngā Tāngata Tuatahi website (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)

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 Inc. Ngā Tāngata Tuatahi website (external website)