Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


PM's Surprise Appearance at Star-Studded Disability Ball

Prime Minister’s Surprise Appearance at the Most Star-Studded Disability Ball of the Year

05 November 2019

Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, Hon Jenny Salesa, Kerre McIvor, Niva Retimanu and Government VIPs all helped light up the night at the annual Geneva Healthcare Ball for people with disabilities. This year's 'Dance of Nations' themed Ball was one of the biggest yet with over 250 people from all over New Zealand celebrating diversity, culture and inclusion at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland City.

Ms Ardern astounded everyone at the Ball by arriving unexpectedly - talking to as many people as she could, she posed for photos and addressed the crowd with an impromptu speech to kick-start the event after the Karakia. Thanking Geneva's Clients who put together a personalised video invite, Ms Ardern recalled how it brought her to tears and that she just needed to be a part of the event, even if it was only a fleeting appearance. 

This night is for all of you to celebrate your vibrant culture, all your amazing achievements, and the things that make us all unique, 

says Veronica Manion, Geneva Healthcare Chief Executive. The cultures that make our country great were honoured in various ways - from a dance medley by Geneva staff featuring Pasifika, Indian, European and to Maori Poi; a Haka; Client videos demonstrating how they celebrate their culture in Aotearoa, to a buffet banquet of dishes inspired by India, Aotearoa, Asia, Pacific Islands, France, Italy and the list goes on.  Hon Jenny Salesa, Associate Minister of Health and Minister of Ethnic Communities, was wowed by the dancing prowess of Geneva's own staff in the dance medley. 

I was told that they are all [Geneva] staff. I thought you had hired people in to come and dance tonight! My gosh, you are so talented, and you all look so fabulous, she adds.

Hon Jenny Salesa (Associate Minister of Health and Minister of Ethnic Communities)

The festivities continued with special guests from Newstalk ZB, Niva Retimanu and Kerre McIvor 

Thank you so much for inviting us to your special party. One of the best things about coming out tonight is that everyone puts their best face on, their best dress on, and their best attitude on, because we are here to party!

Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Disability Issues, sent an inspiring video in her absence to Geneva Clients 

I hope you take this great opportunity to celebrate each other, your achievements and your community. Dance the night away, be proud of the challenges you have overcome and most of all, enjoy your night!

Nicky Stevenson, Geneva Group Quality, Risk & Residential Manager, presented the winners of Ball King and Ball Queen, and Best Dressed Support Worker.

Josephine Gagan, New Zealand Health Group Chief Executive, and Hon Jenny Salesa took to the stage to present the Geneva Pillar Industry Award in recognition of organisations who have gone above and beyond to remove barriers to services, and allowing for inclusion. The Cookie Project took out this year's award, with other nominees Will&Able and Recreate NZ. 

The dance floor was packed for hours; there was a lot of fun, laughter, and good times at this year's Geneva Ball. Everyone left with smiles beaming on their faces and warm hearts as they look forward to next year's event.

The annual Ball is a fantastic partnership between Geneva and other organisations who have come together to make the event possible. Thank you to Pullman Hotels & ResortsCerebral Palsy Society of New ZealandCactuslabSecurecomBuddle Findlay, and Vodafone New Zealand for helping make this event happen.

Check out the photo highlights HERE

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Benjamin Ree's The Painter and The Thief

The Norwegian filmmaker had long been fascinated by art thieves who commit high-stakes crimes with a delicate touch when a chance Google search in 2015 uncovered a botched heist in Oslo. More>>

Howard Davis: Anna Coddington Beams

Anna Coddington's thin, wispy vocals fit her songs beautifully, providing a wonderful lilting quality that pervades her latest album, producing instant ear worms. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>

Howard Davis: The Phoenix Foundation Friend Ship Tour Docks in Wellington

A sense of local pride was certainly running high at the Opera House on Saturday night, as the lads ran through a tasty little set drawn mostly from their latest album Friend Ship (splash out for Xmas on the shocking pink extra-thick vinyl edition). More>>

Howard Davis: Avantdale Bowling Club

Auckland rapper and MC Tom Scott brought his stunning jazz-infused Taite Music Prize-winning project Avantdale Bowling Club to the Opera House headlining Wellington's 2020 Jazz Festival. More>>

Howard Davis: Troy Kingi Rules The San Fran

The award-winning Northland musician performed songs from his new record The Ghost of Freddie Cesar, the fourth installment in his 10/10/10 series - ten albums in ten years in ten genres. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland