About us

We offer meaningful support, information and connections that assist disabled people and their whānau to plan for, and have, their good life. The support we provide is disabled-person led in that the disabled person has the choice and control over the decisions made.

What we do

My Life My Voice offers Kaitūhono/Connector support to disabled people and whānau. Many of our Kaitūhono/Connector team are people who have personal lived experience of disability.

My Life My Voice currently operates its Kaitūhono/Connector service in the MidCentral region only (at this stage) and has an office in Palmerston North. The team travels across the region to meet people wherever and whenever is best for them.

People can choose between our service, Mana Whaikaha or an independent connector. If people decide to work with us, our role is to assist people to have a good life in whatever way that may look for them. We can connect people to disability supports, arrange funding, build connections with community options and help people work through issues.

We have established a Peer Supporters programme where disabled people support other disabled people by providing informal support and advice. People can choose which peer supporter they wish to connect with.  Peer supporters are volunteers who offer a listening ear, have been trained to support other disabled people, understand the challenges and unique joy of being a disabled person, and can share experiences and offer practical solutions.

We also have a Community Capacity Builder role in the Waikato region to develop and build disabled people and community capabilities and capacity to progress disability rights, disabled voices and leadership and to improve outcomes for disabled people.

How do we work?

We use the Enabling Good Lives principles to guide our work and have a strong disability rights focus. Our actions align with Whāia Te Ao Mārama which is a culturally anchored approach to supporting Māori with disabilities (tāngata whaikaha) and their whānau.

Connector/Kaitūhono are time-limited options, with the aim being to get disabled people and whānau to a place where they have a future of increased resilience and capability.

How are we funded?

The Ministry of Health is the primary funder of My Life, My Voice. We hold contracts for the delivery of our Kaitūhono/Connector services. Supplementary funding is obtained through philanthropic grants and other avenues to enable us to grow and develop our work.

How disabled people and whānau can access us?

People can contact us directly, there is no referral process. However, for our Kaitūhono/Connector service disabled children, young people and adults have to meet the Ministry of Health disability support services definition of disability to be eligible for our support. As we are a small service, there may be a wait for a few months before we can start working with you.

Our Commitment

My Life My Voice acknowledges the Te Tiriti o Waitangi / the Treaty of Waitangi (Treaty), the New Zealand Disability Strategy (NZDS), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and any other relevant regulations regarding people with disabilities, and their principles as touchstones for our commitment to helping and supporting the disability community and reducing the inequities that exist in health, social and life outcomes for disabled people.

My Life My Voice board members

Male silhouette - Grey

Tristram Ingham

Tristram is a member of the governing body and the Chairperson of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (Tuaatara | Central Region) Incorporated.

Gerri Pomeroy photo.

Gerri Pomeroy

Gerri has identified as a disabled person for more than 20 years and has been active in the disabled community during that time. Gerri has built strong relationships with disabled people, family and whanau as well as disabled person’s organisations. Gerri believes passionately in disabled people’s right to have authority, control and choice in their everyday lives. Gerri supports the development of strong peer networks so disabled people can provide support to each other and grow their expertise together.

Timothy Young photo.

Timothy Young

Tim has a background in educational psychology, research, and app development and now focuses on using technology to solve accessibility issues after facing many accessibility issues in his own experiences as a tetraplegic. He has a business, Smart Access, which collects and sells data on 40 accessibility variables to local governments to help better prioritise infrastructure spending, and to help disabled people plan safe travel routes. Tim is also a PhD student in Environmental Planning and co-supervisor of machine learning research at the University of Waikato using the data he collects with his Smart Access application.

Female silhouette - Grey

Joanne Dacombe

Joanne was diagnosed as deaf in 1972 and Autistic in 2012. Joanne is passionate about the UNCRPD and the NZ Disability Strategy and is keen to see disabled people from all walks of life increase in their capacity and capability to have a good life of their choosing with the right support. Joanne is passionate about disabled people helping other disabled people and saw My Life My Voice as a natural vehicle to facilitate this.

Female silhouette - Grey

Bernadette Ingham

Bernadette is a member of the governing body and the Secretary of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (Tuaatara | Central Region) Incorporated