News and opinions on disability
and inclusion

The Gathering

Tom McAlpine is a 26 year old CCS Disability Action local committee member who resides in Otepoti, Dunedin. In 2013 Tom McAlpine set up his own network Paths Together regarding sexuality and disability issues.

“The Gathering,” was an event held from 8-9 March 2016 by CCS Disability Action at  Te Papa Museum, Wellington. People from across New Zealand came to the two day event.

It was a privilege to be asked to attend this event. The theme for 2016 was Karanga Maha – Many Voices. The focus was on disabled youth so that they could express their opinions and collaborate on ideas for future goals. It is vital that disabled people, who make up 24% of our nation’s population, can have a bigger say in their own individual lives, so they can live life as fully as possible.

A big issue that had a major focus was employment as only 61% of the nation’s working age people with disabilities are in employment and $11.7 billion dollars is being wasted each year due to this workplace exclusion. The international statistics are not any more optimistic.

A video presentation was also made on bullying, a topic which in future could lead to a whole day of shared conversation. The video was really well made and showcased talented young people in our community.

Maori were really well represented and a number of radical, realistic and cohesive goals were planned. Other topics such as sexuality, individualized funding and transport were also discussed at this event.