Blind Citizens NZ is New Zealand’s oldest advocacy organisation in the disability sector, (founded in 1945). It is New Zealand’s largest, generic, blindness consumer organisation.

Our Philosophy and Role

Our philosophy: to make “a blind bit of difference” as “blind people speaking for ourselves”.

Our role: to advocate on behalf of our members and blind and vision impaired New Zealanders in general to:

  • Government;
  • Providers of blindness and disability-specific services (including the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind);
  • Providers of services in general, where blind people have particular requirements that should be taken into account.

Structure of Blind Citizens NZ

Blind Citizens NZ is governed by a Board which comprises:

  • National President – Jonathan Godfrey
  • Vice-President – Martine Abel-Williamson
  • World Blind Union Representative – Paula Waby
  • Members at Large (up to seven positions): Andrea Courtney, Geraldine Glanville, Shaun Johnson, Murray Peat, Daniel Phillips

Board Members are elected by financial voting Members via ballot. The election of National President, and four Member at Large positions occurs in odd-numbered years whereas the election of World Blind Union Representative and three Member at Large positions occurs in even-numbered years.

The position of Vice President is not an elected position – it is appointed annually by the Board from amongst elected Board Members. As soon as practicable following the conclusion of Conference the Board meets to appoint the Vice President.

The Board is tasked with interpreting and implementing the Blind Citizens NZ’s policy, and developing its strategic direction. Policies are established by resolution of Blind Citizens NZ’s Annual General Meeting and national Conference.

Personal Profiles of Board Members

Brief personal profiles of Board members and what motivates them are available by following this link.

National Office and Branches of Blind Citizens NZ

Blind Citizens NZ has a National Office located in Wellington and geographical branches and networks around the country. Special Interest Branches may be established from time to time.

Categories of Membership

  • Full membership: the status of Ordinary Membership is open to anyone eligible for full registration with the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind.
  • Junior membership (up to 16 years of age).
  • Associate Membership: sighted spouses, friends, family etc who support Blind Citizens NZ’s philosophy and work may join as Associate Members.

For membership details or to join Blind Citizens NZ, go to Join Blind Citizens NZ.