#32 Dames & Knights of Accessibility

Teacup with british biscuitsThe Queen’s Birthday Honours List is a rare occasion for New Zealanders to celebrate the outstanding contribution that so many Kiwis are making to our country, including numerous role models who have, and continue to shape a more accessible New Zealand.

Sir John Kirwan, who we all know from our television screens, be it on the rugby field or talking frankly about depression, was awarded this great honour for his services to mental health and rugby. Mental health is a hugely important aspect of accessibility, and Be. applauds the work of Sir John and the Mental Health Foundation in their Like Minds, Like Mine campaign.  Granting people the confidence to speak out about their mental illness is a critical part of advancing accessibility in our world.

Sir Roderick Deane, was knighted for his services to business and the community. Sir Roderick is the Chairman of the IHC Foundation and along with his wife, the patron of IHC New Zealand, as well as patron of the Employers’ Disability Network. His visible role in the disability community brings great awareness to accessibility issues in New Zealand, and it’s great to have such a great advocate recognised for this passionate display of interest in the accessibility movement.

Dame Beverley Anne Wakem, the current Chief Ombudsman was also awarded this honour for her services to the State. In her current office as the Chief Ombudsman, she is responsible for the protection and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a significant and critical role in the advancement of accessibility in New Zealand.

Gary Williams of Christchurch was given the privilege of becoming a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM). Mr Williams played an integral role in the development of the United Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and has had an extensive career as part of the Disabled Persons Assembly and the Access Ability Board.

Several recipients of Queen’s Service Medals were also recognised for their service to the disability community in New Zealand:

  1. Frances Karen Pointon of Lower Hutt is a Maori community liaison with Deaf Aotearoa and also works with Massey and Victoria Universities to develop Te Ao Maori Sign Language to improve Maori deaf access.
  2. Vicki Louise Hall, also of Lower Hutt, was part of establishing the Dawn Trust – a community-based service in the Hutt Valley for people with an intellectual disability who had lived in institutional care.
  3. Rainus James Baker of Whakatane was recognised for his work supporting people with a learning or intellectual disability to live a meaningful, fulfilled life.
  4. David Tamatea of Opunake has worked for 30 years as an advocate and coordinator for multiple disability groups, particularly working with disabled Maori.
  5. And Hemi Hema of Hamilton was recognised for his services to the Deaf community as a strong support of opportunities for deaf Maori.

We of course also congratulate the other recipients on the Queen’s Birthday and Diamond Jubliee Honours List for 2012, including His Royal Highness The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Dame Margaret Clara Bazley, Sir Peter Jackson, Dame Malvina Major, Dame Mabel Hinekahukura Mariu, Dame Pieter Stewart, Sir Michael Cullen, and Sir Maarten Laurens Wevers. To see the full list click here

Be. the Change!