HVDRT – Connecting with their Community
Creating inclusive communities may not happen overnight, but if Hutt Valley Disability Resources Trust (HVDRT) has anything to do with it, it will happen.
Never one to rest on its laurels in pursuit of this goal, staff are always on the lookout for ways in which they can make this a reality.
One such way that the staff came up with, to satisfy both its own goal as well as the goals of the people they work alongside, was organising a partnership between Karori Wildlife
Through this partnership it allowed for HVDRT service users, who held a special interest in wildlife and/or tourism, to become visitor guides on International Day of Persons with Disabilities at the Sanctuary. A special training day was also held for those involved in preparation for their big day.
By all accounts, the day was super special for both Zealandia staff as well as the visitor guides from HVDRT.
HVDRT service user and self-confessed bird enthusiast Jason Taylor was very taken with the kākā bird and thoroughly enjoyed interacting with them during his watch as a visitor guide. “I was caught by surprise when the kākā flew between us and I really think that everyone should go and see them, they’re my favourite. Others, who stepped into the role, for the day, enjoyed the social aspect of interacting with the people who came to visit the Sanctuary.
During the visitor guides’ training day, trainee Kirsinta Forrest believed she had the kākā bird’s call down pat and proceeded to demonstrate loudly. This prompted the rest of the team to try their hand at kākā calling all together. After a sudden silence from the trees, it was decided by the group to leave the bird calling to the birds.
Russ Drewry, Manager Sanctuary Care for Zealandia, commented that “it’s significant that this was the first time we’ve recognised the International Day of People with Disabilities and have done something to mark it and I’m really keen to see how we can grow it next year.”
HVDRT CEO Susan Gray says that for HVDRT to be involved in these kinds of partnerships was great for not only the wonderful people they support, but also offers others the opportunity to tangibly see what inclusive communities can look and feel like.
“This was such a wonderful opportunity for our service users who love nature and tourism and I want to personally thank Zealandia for supporting our goal of working towards inclusive communities.