Making disability rights real 2012-2013 report.

7 Aug 2014

This report details some of the experiences disabled people in New Zealand encounter each day.


Manaaki whenua, manaaki tangata, haere whakamua. Care for the land, care for the people, go forward.

Human rights in New Zealand have bicultural origins, a Tangata Whenua whakapapa that sits alongside tauiwi (settler) beliefs about the importance of human dignity and rights. The Treaty of Waitangi was the promise of these two peoples to manaaki, to take the best possible care of each other. It is about us all, in all our diversity.

For Mäori, mana tangata (the dignity and rights of people) and mana whenua (the customary rights and connections between people, generations, and land) are intertwined and central to tikanga (culture and practice). This intrinsic value of all people and the importance of freedom, justice and peace are also central to many other cultures and belief systems around the world.

New Zealand has often helped lead the way in promoting these principles and in taking steps to protect the rights and wellbeing of all its citizens. Following the Second World War, New Zealand played an important role in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The declaration recognises the inherent dignity and “equal Introduction and inalienable rights of all members of the human family”.

New Zealand has adopted many other important international human rights standards including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Disability Convention or the Convention). Many New Zealanders were instrumental in the development and introduction of this Convention. As a country we now have an obligation to ensure that the purpose of the Disability Convention is fully realised. This is necessary so that all citizens with disabilities are able to fully enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other members of the community.

Developments such as the increasing engagement between Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) and government agencies are to be applauded. Moves towards the introduction of people driven service models are also encouraging. However, there is still a long way to go and some changes are occurring too slowly.

This second report of the Disability Convention Independent Monitoring Mechanism (IMM) details some of the experiences disabled people in New Zealand encounter each day. It highlights barriers that prevent the full realisation of the rights set out in the Disability Convention. The report also recommends steps that need to be taken to better respect, protect and fulfil those rights.

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