Inclusive NZ

Who we are

Inclusive NZ is a federation of organisations and individuals involved in the provision of employment and community support services for disabled people. Our ultimate vision is for New Zealand to become '100 percent inclusive and accessible to all'. Supporting members is our main priority, and we work hard to make sure that they have the resources, information and networks they need to provide the best services and supports for disabled people. Currently we support 70 Inclusive NZ members from all over the country. We are always happy to welcome new members to the fold, so if you are interested in working alongside us, see the Membership Section of our website to find out more.

What we do

At Inclusive NZ engaging in activities that benefit our members is what we are all about. We have a strong belief that our goal of inclusive communities cannot be achieved without active engagement with both the disability sector and wider community sector. We work with government agencies, disabled people’s organisations, the business sector and other NGOs, and represent our members on a number of advisory groups and networks. Access to opportunities for learning and information is important to our members. Inclusive NZ has a culture of collegial support and we offer regular opportunities for networking and learning through our Forums and conferences. Professional development is supported through the Training Fund and our members are kept up-to-date through our newsletters and social media platforms.

Our vision and values

Our vision is a society where disabled people are working, participating and fulfilling their aspirations in inclusive communities. Our mission is to support our members as we work together to create an inclusive Aotearoa. We value:
  • inclusion and diversity
  • working together, in a collegial environment, based on integrity, respect and trust
  • ongoing learning and the shared knowledge and wisdom of our community
  • pro-active service delivery based on finding the best option for individuals
  • we value and encourage innovation
  • we value and recognise the autonomy/self-determination of individuals and member organisations

Our story

Inclusive NZ has come a long way since its humble beginnings back in 1982 when it was originally known as the NZ Federation of Sheltered Workshops and had 10 members. Much like anything though, this name reflected the social, political and disability sector landscape of its day. But times have changed, so in order for us to reflect the aspirations of disabled people and stay relevant to our members, we have gone through a number of changes over the years. Our most recent change, in 2015, proudly saw us take on the name Inclusive NZ - a network for change, which has become a guiding principle for us and the work we do. It has also meant a shift towards strategic priorities and a vision, mission and values that align with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and our role as an allied organisation. Despite these changes, what hasn't changed over our 34 year history is our commitment to our members who will always remain our number one priority. To read more about some of our historical highlights, read The Inclusive NZ story so far.

One Fish Solutions

Inclusive NZ has an organisational development service called One Fish Solutions. We have worked with a wide range of disability support services, schools and social services to help them strategise, build their organisational capability and undertake self-reviews. Our philosophy is that organisations have a deep understanding of their work and their communities and are, therefore, best placed to identify and create the solutions that will work. We have developed a facilitated approach that helps organisations to ask the right questions, engage their stakeholders and design responsive systems and solutions. We will work with you to customise a session that is right for you and have successfully facilitated small group sessions with Boards and senior management teams, and community meetings of over 100 people.

Resources

We have developed an extensive range of resources that assist organisations to provide effective and responsive employment and inclusion services. These include best practice guidelines, reports and presentations. You can find these in the Members Only section of our website. If you are not a member then feel free to contact us to find out more. We believe in the power of telling stories and you can find a collection of stories about the work of our members in the Inclusive NZ Community section of this website. We have enjoyed working with a diverse range of project partners. Check out these links to learn more about Tuhana – a resource for people involved in facilitating inclusive communities and to discover more about the Our Place Conference.

News

Mental Health Inquiry must engage with affected communities

Inclusive NZ welcomed the news that the Government has committed to an inquiry into mental health and addictions. We would have liked, however, to have seen an explicit commitment to specific consultation with all affected communities and their representatives. To read our full press release click through to the link. To read the Radio NZ story on How the Ministerial […]

Join Us!

Keen to become part of the Inclusive NZ whanau? If so, get in touch we would love to hear from you! To find out more about what we could offer you, as well as determine the type of membership that would best suit your needs, please click through to the Membership Section of our website by clicking on the link.

Highlighting the key challenges of implementing the CRPD

Inclusive NZ were pleased to be able to highlight some of the key challenges in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) through its submission to the United Nations Committee. Within the submission Inclusive NZ recommended the Committee consider 11 questions that we think are important if Aotearoa is to be a place where all people can work, […]

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Member websites

Become part of the Inclusive NZ Community
Join Inclusive NZ

Our Board and Staff

Karen Covell

Karen Covell

President

Karen Covell is Chief Executive of Progress to Health which is based in Hamilton. Progress to Health is a community based organisation providing mental health and disability support services throughout the Waikato, Taranaki and Taupo. Progress to Health’s vision is that all people with mental health and associated disabilities are supported holistically to maximise their potential. Karen has worked in the health sector for the majority of her career and has been at Progress to Health since 2004. Prior to which she was the CE at Epilepsy New Zealand. She has been in a member of the Inclusive NZ Board for three years, of which she has been Vice-President for the past two. She is also Chair of the Waikato District Health Board mental health local advisory group, a member of the Fundraising Institute of New Zealand, an associate member of the New Zealand Institute of Management, and the Not-for-Profit Network. Outside of work, Karen is a gym instructor at her local gym in Cambridge, and enjoys spending time with her greyhound, Fox, and her partner Ian.

Michelle Sharp

Michelle Sharp

Vice President

Michelle Sharp is the Chief Executive Officer of Kilmarnock Enterprises which is based in Christchurch. Kilmarnock was established more than 55 years ago and now employs more than 80 staff, with its core purpose being to employ and support individuals with intellectual disabilities, so they can realise their full potential within the communities they live in. Michelle has been with Kilmarnock for the past four years where she originally started out as the business development manager. She has now been CEO for the past 18 months where she has been able to put her background in business and the telecommunications sector to good use. Away from work Michelle likes to spend time outdoors with her family and is a keen runner.

John Grant

John Grant

Board Member

John Grant is General Manager of SkillWise which is based in Christchurch. SkillWise provides community participation support which includes training, education, leisure and recreation opportunities and links to voluntary work and employment opportunities, for adults who have mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. As well as his role as GM of SkillWise John holds a part-time lecturing position, at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, on the Bachelor of Applied Science course (disability specialisation). John has worked at Skillwise since 2005, and began lecturing in 2008.

Glenn Murtagh

Glenn Murtagh

Board Member

Glenn Murtagh is Service Development Manager for Pact which is based in Dunedin. Pact is a support organisation for people, with a wide range of services including Day programmes, vocational services and community participation to supported accommodation services for both the intellectually disabled and for people with mental illness. PACT operates in Otago, Southland, the West Coast and have a small presence in Christchurch. Glenn began work at PACT five years ago, and his responsiblities include managing client programmes in Otago and developing services. Previously he worked for Housing New Zealand, prior to which he spent a considerable number of years in the New Zealand Army. He has been a Inclusive NZ Board member for three years. As a father-of-five he is also on his local high school Board and has been managing Otago rugby teams for the past seven years.

Claire Pye

Claire Pye

Board Member

Claire Pye is the General Manager of Pou Whakaaro which is based in Whakatane. Pou Whakaaro offers a range of free courses and activities to people living with a disability and/or mental illness in Whakatane and Kawerau. Courses include community led education, a peer support service for people who experience mental illness and/or addiction and micro business support. It also offers support, advocacy and information to families of people who have someone with an experience of mental illness. Claire has been General Manager at Pou Whakaaro since 2008 and came on board following a stint at Whakatohea Iwi School and Health Services in Opotiki as Mental Health Team Leader. In her spare time Claire enjoys spending time with her whanau, gardening and taking in the great outdoors.

Mike Noonan

Mike Noonan

Board Member

Mike Noonan is Executive Trustee of Coromandel Independent Living Trust and Chairperson of the Supported Life Style Hauraki Trust. Both organisations, based in Coromandel town and Thames respectively, aim to provide support and education for people with varied abilities, disabilities and disadvantages. CILT’s mission is to enhance the well-being of all people in the local Coromandel community with initiatives for young and old including the provision of affordable social housing for those on low incomes and the elderly. SLHT aims to remove barriers to independence by providing a community integrated service for those with mixed abilities, through the maintenance of flexibility and versatility in service provision. Outside of work Mike and his wife Alison Carter maintain their block of native bush, whilst nurturing their olive grove which annually provides them with sufficient oil for the needs of their kitchen and also for local sale. Originally from Sydney, Mike has a background in advertising and the media.

Lynda Millington

Lynda Millington

Board Member

Lynda Millington is Chief Executive of Interactionz which is based in Hamilton. Interactionz is committed to assisting people with disabilities, with support from their families/whanau and communities, to lead lives that have meaning to them. Interactionz work is about interacting with people and communities, and to enable this the Trust has developed a way of working called Person Driven Practice. Alongside the services Interactionz provide to enact this practice is a transformational framework that is used by Interctionz to change the thinking and behaviour of staff. Lynda has been involved with Interactionz since 1999 when she was appointed CE, and she has been an Inclusive NZ Board member since 2000, having held both the Vice-President and Treasurer role in that time. When not working her passion is travelling, with a major overseas trip on the cards every two years. She also enjoys tramping, social cycling, reading and cooking.

Tania Wilson

Tania Wilson

Board Member

Tania Wilson is our newest board member and is the Chief Executive of Avalon BOP (Inc). Avalon BOP (Inc) is a long-standing disability provider operating out of Tauranga which is focused on providing activities that foster social inclusion, community participation and employment opportunities for disabled people. Tania started out as the Commercial Manager at Avalon before stepping into the role of Chief Executive in June 2016. Prior to this, she worked in commercial positions, which offered her the chance to strengthen her abilities in strategic planning and business acumen. These specific skills are what she hopes to bring to her role as an Inclusive NZ Board Member, as well as her keen sense to think outside the box. With her busy schedule Tania admittedly has little downtime, however when she does, likes to engage in actively relaxing activities that help give her life balance. These include reading, yoga and walking. Spending time with her family is also very important to her.

Fern Ryan

Fern Ryan

Board Member

Fern Ryan is the Chief Executive of ConneXu in Te Awamutu and was co-opted onto the Inclusive NZ Board in November 2016. Fern has been with ConneXu since 2012, but prior to that spent more than 20 years working in mostly leadership roles in the community and disability support sector. Throughout her time working in these two sectors, Fern has always been committed to community development practices that foster self-determination. Due to this, the Inclusive NZ Board are especially looking forward to her sharing her skills and knowledge in these areas. Away from work, Fern enjoys spending time in the beautiful Te Awamutu with her family, her dog, three cats and a couple of cows. Reading, walking and traveling are other pastimes she likes to engage in during her downtime.

Michael White

Michael White

Chief Executive Officer

Michael White is the Chief Executive Officer of Inclusive NZ and is based in our Wellington office. Michael came on board in November 2017 and has been working hard to transform the organisation’s strategic goals into reality. Michael’s background is in law and throughout his career has worked in private practice, for the New Zealand Government, as well as international organisations. His most recent position was working as a Senior Legal Adviser at The New Zealand Human Rights Commission.

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Wendy Osmond

Wendy Osmond

Office Administrator

Wendy Osmond joined Inclusive NZ as Office Administrator in April 2014. Prior to joining us Wendy worked for the Ministry of Justice as a Community and Programmes Senior Adviser, so is looking forward to transferring some of the skills she learnt there into her new role – as well as gaining new ones. She is also looking forward to interacting with our members and learning more about the Disability Sector. Away from work Wendy enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter as well as gardening and travelling.

Leanne O’Connell

Leanne O’Connell

Finance Administrator

Leanne O’Connell originally came on board as Inclusive NZ’s Office Administrator back in 2011, but now works remotely from Rotorua as our Finance Administrator. She comes from a financial background and prior to working with us, worked in the tourism industry for ten years. Leanne enjoys working at Inclusive NZ and is learning lots about the disability sector, as well as meeting some wonderful people. Away from work Leanne enjoys spending time with her friends and family – especially her granddaughter and grandson.

Deb Stringer

Deb Stringer

Communications and Projects Ninja

Deb Stringer joined Inclusive NZ back in 2013 and is the Communications and Projects Ninja! Before joining Inclusive NZ Deb worked as a Communications Assistant for the New Zealand Police Association and prior to that worked as a reporter for The Christchurch Press’ Community Newspaper. When away from work Deb likes to get out on her bike as much as she can, spend time with family and travel.

The Inclusive NZ Community

Darrell and Allan setting things in motion through cycling

Riding along on a bike, with the wind in your hair, has got to be one of the most freeing sensations that we can experience. It seems to engender that feeling of not having a care in the world, perhaps it’s because it gives you a different perspective on it, as it whips past you in a blur; cold air […]

Joel’s P.A.T.H to a meaningful life

Joel has been on a remarkable journey of self-discovery since he undertook a PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope) with ConneXu last year. Being non-verbal, severely autistic, deaf and with limited communication, life for Joel and his supportive family hasn’t always been easy. In fact, managing the dynamic of Joel reacting physically to situations he was not comfortable with, meant […]

Afterschool programme making sport accessible to all

Getting back to basics is the main philosophy behind an innovative sports programme aimed at young people with disabilities in the Waikato. That is because the programme’s premise is based on the Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) approach where instead of teaching a specific sport, participants are taught basic sport skills such as target, net/wall, striking and territory skills that […]

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