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RNZFB Names 2006 HumanWare Narrator of the Year

Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB)
Media release
27 February 2006

RNZFB Names 2006 HumanWare Narrator of the Year

Wendy Karstens has finally been rewarded for coming into the homes of blind, deafblind and vision-impaired people over the last 12 years – the 2006 HumanWare Narrator of the Year award!

Announced at Sunday’s celebrations to mark the 40th Anniversary of the RNZFB’s Talking Books Studios, Wendy was presented with the award in front of RNZFB members, friends, and VIPs from government and the international blindness community.

A narrator since 1993 and first-time winner of the award, Wendy has recorded over 100 books and magazines, including the Listener and the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly. Wendy has a 20-year history in the entertainment industry including musical theatre, voice-overs for commercials, documentaries, TV drama and children’s television series.

“It’s a huge thrill to receive the award especially given the calibre of the finalists. The effort of everyone involved in the production of talking books is never less than 100 per cent and it’s great being part of that,” says Wendy.

Blind, deafblind and vision-impaired people check out more than 7,000 talking books and magazines from RNZFB’s library every week, which is testimony to its world-class narrators and the Talking Books studio.

"Talking books are an absolutely essential service the RNZFB provides," says Mary Schnackenberg, RNZFB Adaptive Support Divisional Manager and talking book user.

"We try to offer the full range of books you'd expect to find in a public library or book shop enabling blind and vision-impaired people the same access to information as anyone else."

Guests celebrating the studio's anniversary yesterday also got a sneak preview of a new digital talking book player which will, in the near future, receive titles over the internet. The demonstration was presented by HumanWare, the sponsor of this year’s award.

"The conversion from analogue to digital will cost millions over the coming years but has to be done," says Ms Schnackenberg. “We’re working very carefully and cautiously with partners such as HumanWare to ensure we get it right.”


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