Category Archives: Blind Foundation Updates

Image shows three of the staff members at the new Albany Office.

The Blind Foundation has opened a new office on Auckland’s North Shore in Albany this week.

The office has a Functional Low Vision Assessment room, an Adaptive Technology training room as well as a number of meeting rooms, helping to make our services more accessible to clients who live locally.

The Albany office will be open on weekdays between 9am and 4pm.

We welcome you to come and say hello, and have a look at our equipment display.

Where to find us

The office is located in the Yes Disability building at: Level 1, 3 William Laurie Place, Albany. The office can be contacted on 0800 24 33 33.

How to get there

The office is only a couple of minutes by taxi from the Albany Bus Station. Parking around the back of the building is closest to the entrance that leads directly into the Blind Foundation. Alternatively, you can take the lift to Level 1 from the main entrance.

There are bus stops located approximately an eight minute walk away from the office on Don McKinnon Drive, near North Ridge Plaza. The bus connections to and from here are: 560, 880, 887, 891 and 957, which run every five to ten minutes at peak times. Please download Auckland Transport’s Albany Connect guide for more information.

We look forward to seeing you at our new office in Albany soon.

Theresa Liebenberg, Relationship Manager at the Blind Foundation, receiving a cheque from the Ahmadiyya Muslim community for $7,350.

Back in March 2017 the Ahmadiyya Muslim community held its ninth annual Walkathon in Flat Bush, Auckland. 84 sponsored participants walked up to 10km around the Barry Curtis Park in order to aid their local communities.

The organisation donated thousands of fundraised dollars to both the Blind Foundation and the Humanity First Charities. The event is now a regular feature in the community’s annual calendar, and we want to thank them for their continued support and commitment.

Ahmadiyya Muslim community spokesman Dr Nadeem Ahmad said: “Supporting people in need, as well as helping the poor in one’s community is a central pillar of the Islamic faith. By organising this walk, and reaching out to the wider community to help sponsor the walkers, we are doing nothing more than what we believe to be our duty as true Muslims.

“It is indeed heartening to see the spirit shown by both the participants, as well as all the volunteers who have worked so hard in the background to make this walk a success. The Blind Foundation and the Humanity First Charities both work very hard to improve the lives of hundreds in our country and beyond. We are humbled that in a small way we can be part of their contribution to society.”

Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, as well as representatives of the Blind Foundation and the AA took part in this year’s walk. Sponsors belonging to local businesses, as well as the nurses and doctors at the Manukau and Auckland District Health Board helped reach a total of over $10,000. The attendees were treated to a barbeque and sausage sizzle after the walk that was sponsored by Mike Pero New Zealand, and its representative Mr Sheikhil Khan gave out special prizes to the individuals with the highest pledge amounts.

The motto of the Ahamadiyya Muslim Jama’at is “Love for all and hatred for none” and it is evident in their peaceful actions. The New Zealand branch is a registered charitable organisation and endeavors to be an active and integrated community within New Zealand society.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of New Zealand has been supporting the Blind Foundation since 2009 by hosting the annual walkathon. They have independently raised an excess of $39,000 in support of Guide Dogs in New Zealand. We are very grateful for all of their efforts over the years and support them in their fundraising efforts for 2018.

Nominations for the Blind Foundation Youth Council are now open until 5pm on Friday, 10th November 2017.

Voting will commence between Monday, 13 November and Sunday, 10 December 2017. Candidates will anonymously provide a brief outline as to why they would like to be on the Youth Council.

Please ensure your preferred voting format is up to date. If you don’t know what your preferred format is, please call our National Contact Centre on 0800 24 33 33 or email:

All nominees must be:

  • A registered member of the Blind Foundation.
  • Between the ages of 17 and 28.
  • Living in New Zealand.

Please read the aims of the Youth Council, Youth Council contract and Code of Conduct, before completing the Youth Council nomination form.

Youth Council, Youth Council contract and Code of Conduct.

Image shows Rick Hoskin and 2016 award-winner Thomas Bryan.

Nominations for this year’s Chairman’s Award close on Friday, 13 October 2017. The award is for a registered member who has demonstrated an outstanding level of achievement in any field of endeavours. It will be presented at the RNZFB Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 11 November 2017 in Hamilton.

Please provide full background information in support of the nomination and feel free to nominate persons who may have been nominated previously. Click the link to fill in the Chairman’s Award 2017 nominations form. Send nominations to Jane Moore.

The award comprises a trophy to be held for one year, a cheque for $500 and a framed certificate.

Tel: (09) 355 6894
Mobile: 021 0224 2716

Blind Foundation logo

Voting in this year’s Board Elections is now open.

Voting packs were sent out to all voting members of the Blind Foundation in their preferred formats on 5 October 2017.  If you have not received your voting pack information, please contact the Contact Centre on 0800 24 33 33 to request a copy.

Voting in the Blind Foundation elections closes at 4pm on Friday 3 November 2017.  We encourage all voting members to please take up the opportunity to have a say in who leads the organisation forward for the next three years.

This year’s election has three General seats up for election.  Only governing members are eligible to vote for the general seats.  There are a total of 15 candidates standing in the election for the three General seats.

The candidates in the 2017 Board Elections, listed in the same order as they appear on the voting form, are:

General Seat

  • Krishna Guda.
  • Fraser Alexander.
  • Deborah Boyd.
  • Daniel Holt.
  • Peter Rudd.
  • Ryan McLean.
  • Nicola Owen.
  • Tracey Reason.
  • Geoffrey Warne.
  • Keith Appleton.
  • Jo Breese.
  • David Cullen.
  • Tsarina Dellow.
  • Veronica Aris.
  • Kieran Berry.

For more information on the candidates, please visit

Image shows the Peer Mentoring group and their guide dogs posing in front of a curtain.

The Peer Mentoring program which was piloted in Christchurch in 2016, is now into its next round of training and matching.

The program aims to train and support clients who feel able to support other clients with blind and low vision matters. Mentors attend a two and half day training program where they learn more about what mentoring is and receive the tools needed to support others. Trained Mentors are then matched with fellow clients who would like support from someone who has true empathy and understanding of blindness or low vision. Mentors and mentees are carefully matched based on common interests, areas of skill or need, along with age, life stage and gender. The mentor and mentee connect on a regular basis and build trust and rapport, which leads to crucial conversations and encouragement for people to achieve rehabilitation goals and have a sounding board for the daily challenges they are facing. One area that has been a recurring topic of conversation between mentors and mentees is around other people’s reaction and attitude towards them when using mobility aids or adaptive equipment. Being able to talk about these experiences with someone else who truly understands and can share strategies to deal with these, is hugely empowering.

The Peer Mentoring program has 15 trained mentors in the South Island and is soon to train another 10 in the North Island. If you think you are someone that would like to use your experience to support others as a mentor or if you would like the support of the program as a mentee, please get in touch with the CLE team.

In the South Island contact Heather McGill on 03 375 4327. In the North Island, please contact Felicity Hutcheson on 04 380 2145.

Image shows the Consumer SEED group posing for a photo between 2 tables.

The end of August saw another successful Consumer SEED (Success, Empowerment, Excellent and Developing) Leadership Programme.

Held on Auckland’s North Shore, ten Blind Foundation clients came together over an exciting weekend to build leadership skills, explore their personal style, and make plans to participate in community projects.

The annual programme was extremely successful with the participants leaving inspired and motivated to give to their communities, with the knowledge that they have the support they need.

Over the programme, a newly blind member has discovered some of the many opportunities and services the Blind Foundation offers, including the peer support system another SEED participant plans to set up in Tauranga.

Another participant has hit the streets with her guide dog to raise over $7500 for the Blind Foundation’s charity run in Auckland on October 29.

One keen participant who already runs two Auckland walking groups has even been inspired to fulfil his dream of walking the length of New Zealand.

Participants left with improved confidence and an all-important support system to help them achieve their next set of goals, whether that be participating in a project, or having a courageous conversation involving their vision impairment. Everyone left feeling empowered to reach their personal version of excellence.

Big thanks must go to Felicity Hutcheson for her superb organising and Ali Marshall for her open contribution and support at this year’s SEED.

If you would like more information about the Consumer SEED Leadership Programme contact Felicity Hutcheson at or call her 0800 24 33 33.

Calling all youth who want to have their say!

The Blind Foundation is seeking feedback as to how they can improve Youth events. Currently the main Youth focused events, camps and workshops are the EPIC Youth Event, Youth SEED and being a leader at the annual Summer Camp.

A possible idea of a super event is currently being brainstormed (a combination of summer camp, EPIC and Youth SEED). The event would last 4-5 days and may include workshops on life hacks, leadership skills, camp activities or other Youth relevant content/activities.

Please fill out the google form to ensure these events are reflective of your opinion.

If you have any questions about the form please email

Image of the Blind Foundation logo

It is Māori Language Week this week, from Monday, 11 to Sunday, 17 September 2017.

Every year since 1975 New Zealand has marked Māori Language Week. This is a time for all New Zealanders to celebrate te reo Māori (the Māori language) and to use more Māori phrases in everyday life.

The theme for this year is ‘Kia ora te reo’ – which celebrates New Zealand’s indigenous greeting and the intent of te reo Māori revitalisation efforts between the Crown and Māori.

To celebrate Māori Language Week at the Blind Foundation, Lloyd Ellison – our Deafblind Access Worker based in Christchurch – opened and closed our monthly staff meeting with a Karakia. You can listen to these recordings below.

Image shows low vision watch with black face and white numbers.

Our equipment team are delighted to be stocking a new collection of Swiss-made low vision watches.

These low vision watches are manufactured in Switzerland by Auguste Reymond and assembled by hand in their premises in Tramelan. In 1950 Auguste Reymond engineers developed two new lines of products that ensured the fame of the brand: one of which was the “braille” watches for the blind. Today Auguste Reymond SA is still the unchallenged specialist for tactile “braille” watches and low vision watches, which are distributed under the old brand name ARSA.

We now sell two new styles of the ARSA low vision watches, the Jumbo sized watch is an over-sized wrist-watch with a 40 mm face and a perfectly clear dial made with mat black aluminum which has set a trend that today is not only followed by visually impaired people. The unisex sized watch is made with stainless steel and has a simple, strong, clear design which offers the best possible reading on a smart looking wrist-watch.

Both watches come in two different options; a black face with white numbers and hands and a white face with black numbers and hands. All watches have 12 numbers and two block hands, forgoing the seconds hand gives them a more streamlined design which is easier to read. The watches also come with a high quality leather strap.

To find out more and to order one, please visit the Blind Foundation online shop.