Our volunteers take a group photo in front of a building

About Blind & Low Vision NZ

Every day, an average of six New Zealanders turn to Blind & Low Vision NZ for support with sight loss. Some are still reeling and are looking for emotional support; many want to find ways to remain self-reliant, to stay in work and get around independently. All want to find ways of doing the things that are important to them. The Blind & Low Vision NZ is here to provide practical and emotional support, to advocate for inclusive communities and lead the way in vision rehabilitation.

All across New Zealand, from Cape Reinga to Bluff, we meet with people in their homes or at their local Blind & Low Vision NZ office to find solutions together. Maintaining independence is important – so we support people to get around safely using a white cane, public transport or a guide dog, prepare meals, use technology, stay in employment, or connect with others. No goal is too big or too small. The services we offer are vast.

We advocate for accessible and inclusive communities because we believe people with sight loss should be able to get around public spaces like any other member of the community, access the same information, and pursue the career of their dreams without unnecessary barriers. Age-related eye conditions in New Zealand are rising as our population ages and so we also want New Zealand to do better at taking eye health seriously.

The good news is, now more than ever, the opportunities are here to make a real difference to people with sight loss by helping to remove barriers and educate New Zealand about how we can embrace an inclusive society, where everyone gets a fair go.

If you would like to know more about how we can support you, or someone you know, call 0800 24 33 33 or let us know online

Who we help

We help people who have limited useful sight, making it challenging to do some day-to-day tasks even with the best corrective lenses.

Three quarters of the people we help have some vision (which we call low vision), and the remainder are blind.

Many people we support will have one or more of the four most common eye diseases causing blindness and partial sight in New Zealand: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. In fact, one third of the people Blind & Low Vision NZ supports has macular disease. As New Zealand’s population ages we anticipate seeing more people with age-related sight loss.

Partner and supporters

Our work wouldn’t be possible without the amazing people who support us every day.

Thousands of volunteers rack up an incredible 269,000 hours of their time every year, helping Kiwis with sight loss in a range of ways. Our generous supporters help us raise the $28 million needed to provide services and support for New Zealanders who are blind or have low vision.

We partner with a number of organisations who work alongside us, providing information, social support, events and advocacy for different members of our community. Find out more about consumer organisations.

Blind & Low Vision NZ is delighted to partner with, and thank, our very special partners. The life changing work we do would not be possible without their support. Find out about our partners and supporters here

Governance

We are a member-led organisation, governed by the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB). This means eligible voters can serve as governing members, electing our Board and helping us to guide the future direction of Blind & Low Vision NZ.

Position statements

Blind & Low Vision NZ works collaboratively with related organisations to remove the barriers that prevent blind and low vision people from enjoying equal access, equal opportunities, equal participation and equal mobility in society.

We have developed a number of position statements on issues of importance to people who are blind or have low vision. Read our position statements here.

Plans and reports

Blind & Low Vision NZ has a clear set of priorities and goals that drive our work and purpose. The publications below provide greater insight into the achievements and direction of our organisation.

All documents are available in your preferred format upon request, please contact us at info@blindlowvision.org.nz

Careers

Would you like to make a difference in the lives of Kiwis who are blind or have low vision? Find out more about working for us by visiting our careers portal.

History

Blind & Low Vision NZ has a rich history stretching back to 1890, when it was first known as the Jubilee Institute for the Blind. Learn more about our journey here.

If you’d like to know more about the history of Blind & Low Vision NZ, or about the history of blind and low vision community in New Zealand, visit the  online heritage repository of Blind & Low Vision NZ, Revisionary.