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Published 11 December 2023

As the balloons pop and the face-paint fades, we take a look at how New Zealanders came together to honour and appreciate the talents, contributions and rights for International Day of People with a Disabilities. 👀

Auckland Tamaki Makaurau

Shining the light on community members, CSS Disability (external link) played a part in hosting four events across the North Island. Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland saw community members digging up new skills at Royal Oak Community Garden.


New Plymouth electrified the town with live music, face paints and photo booths to capture the day. And Hawera took Hawaiian theme to another level with the “Tiki Time” event where visitors broke out floral tops with flip flops, pairing them with games, music and mocktails.

Bay of Plenty

Embracing the incredible voices of Tauranga Moana, whānau were treated to amazing performances from the kapa haka rōpu from Idea Services (external link) and local live performances like Sophie Maude. With the local council's support, ParaFed (external link) and CCS Disability Action locals had a blast with a day full of exciting activities! From thrilling trips up Mount Drury using TrailRider Beach wheelchairs, to adaptive yoga workshops the day was full of activity. They topped these adventures off with face painting, a photobooth, and a delicious sausage sizzle.

Hawke's Bay

Hawke's Bay Star Jam (external link) burst out a 'Wonders of Summer' Disco. The community dressed up in swimming, BBQ Camping and kiwi Christmas gears the mark the day. The community didn’t stop there! Napier organised a afternoon tea with a Christmas Talent Spectacular show to celebrate inclusivity.


A sports extravaganza took center stage in Levin, orchestrated by the collaboration of Enabling Good Lives (EGL) MidCentral, Sport Manawatū (external link) , CCS Disability, and MASH Trust (external link) . With sensory sessions and snags on the BBQ, the event infused the town with fun and laughter.


On the sunny side in Kāpiti, they combined Christmas and IDOPWD celebrations into one with a low-sensory Christmas celebration for our whānau with sensory needs.

The Kāpiti council t (external link) eam said “We know Christmas can be a bit of a sensory overload for some of our tamariki. That’s why our Place and Space team, with support from our Disability Advisory Group, have organised a low-sensory Christmas celebration.”


Disability Rights Commissioner Prudence Walker joined the Disabled Persons Assembly (external link) (DPA) Disability Leadership Canterbury and Hei Whakapiki (external link) in Christchurch for a morning picnic. Celebrating the remarkable achievements in Canterbury this year, the day reflected the incredible accomplishments of the disabled community and looked to 2024.


Further south in Dunedin, the Otago Deaf Society marked IDOPWD alongside the local Santa Parade. Whānau families and friends met the Woodhaugh garden pool and shared kai (picnic food) amongst one another.

Events that were postponed - Hamilton and Wellington

While there were cancellations in Hamilton, Wellington, and a few other locations, fortunately IDOPWD isn’t just a one-day affair. It’s a continuation of our ongoing efforts to create a society where everyone, no matter their abilities, can flourish and make valuable contributions. 

Firstport was proud to share and promote the incredible mahi of talented human-beings across Aotearoa. With so much going on, it was fantastic to bring them all into one place so no matter where you are in the country, you can celebrate with our community. We hope you got a few ideas and inspiration from these groups and we can't wait to celebrate with you on IDOPWD 2024!

Looking for more events to join? Dive into our events hub that spotlights disability-focused activities. You'll find plenty of opportunities to be a part of these inclusive gatherings.