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Disability Rights Group Celebrates 10 Years

Disability Rights Group Celebrates 10 Years
Media Release
14 October 2013

A New Zealand organisation that empowers people with intellectual disabilities to know their rights and speak up for them is coming of age.

This year People First New Zealand Nga Tangata Tuatahi will celebrate its tenth anniversary with an event at Parliament on the 16th of September. The afternoon event will be hosted by Minister for Disability Issues Tariana Turia, and will be attended by politicians, People First members, Human Rights Disability Commissioner Paul Gibson and other distinguished guests from the disability community.

To mark the occasion People First is launching a new website, Facebook page, and logo, and will be presenting its annual Self-Advocacy Award.

People First was launched in New Zealand to provide a collective voice to self-advocate for the rights of people with intellectual disabilities. It was first set up 1984 as part of IHC, and was supported by the charity for 20 years. In 2003 People First became an independent Incorporated Society.

“Over the past ten years People First has grown to a strong national organisation, with approximately 600 members, and 32 local groups throughout New Zealand,” said National Manager Cindy Johns.

While People First New Zealand is celebrating its ten-year anniversary, worldwide the organisation is marking its 40th anniversary. The organisation was founded in the United States of America in 1974, and was born from the social movements of the 1960s and ‘70s. Cindy Johns said the rights of people with disabilities were ‘some of the last to be recognised’.

“’Nothing about us without us’ is our motto, because in the past we have had things ‘done’ for us when in fact we are able to make our own decisions and speak up for ourselves,” National Chairperson, Hamish Taverner, said.

People First is active in Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia, Europe, the United States of America and Canada.

People First is also one of the Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) that is tasked with monitoring the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


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