Rick has chosen to retire from his governance role after 11 years on the board and 9 years as Chair.
While in the position of Board Chair, some of Rick’s achievements include being instrumental in setting up Foundation Properties Limited (FPL), a subsidiary of RNZFB.
The purpose of the FPL is to diversify Blind Low Vision NZ’s revenue streams to best serve people who are blind, deafblind or have low vision and provide them with personalised vision rehabilitation services well into the future.
Rick helped steer Blind Low Vision NZ through a Global Financial Crisis, then under leadership of Chief Executive Sandra Budd, and more recently through the Covid-19 pandemic, with current Chief Executive John Mulka at the helm.
Being a client of Blind Low Vision NZ since he was 17-years-old, Rick has been a passionate advocate for blind, deafblind and low vision people. Under his leadership, Blind Low Vision NZ have fought for the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty in NZ which opens up access to information, and through the Access Alliance we have achieved cross party support for accessibility legislation that the current government is committed to introduce.
RNZFB (Blind Low Vision NZ) is pleased to announce its new Board Chair as Judy Small. Judy has been a member of the Board since 2013 and as a client of Blind Low Vision NZ since she was four years old, is well versed on needs and issues of blind, deafblind and low vision New Zealanders.
Judy graduated in 1999 with a Masters of Social Science (Hons) from the University of Waikato. Her thesis was a sociological study of blind people and how they identify themselves. She worked as a Policy Analyst for 12 years in the Office for Disability Issues and has also served on the Blind Citizens New Zealand National Executive. Judy is currently employed as a Disability and Older Persons Advisor to the Hamilton City Council.
Fraser Alexander, who joined the board in November 2017, will be Deputy Chair.
“I wish to acknowledge and thank Rick for all he has done for the blind, deafblind and low vision community for over a decade,” says Judy Small.
“I look forward to taking up the opportunity to lead RNZFB and carry out the goals and priorities in Our Vision, Your Future – Strategic Plan, 2020 – 2024. I am excited and energised to carry on the important work of Blind Low Vision NZ in our mission to empower New Zealanders who are blind, deafblind or have low vision to live the life they choose.”
The board will next meet in February to determine who their 9th member will be.