Telefriend volunteers team
When you need a friend, talk to our Telefriend team
During Covid-19 lockdown Alert Level 4 and 3 – it increased feelings of isolation for people who are blind, deafblind...
Read more
Our volunteers take a group photo in front of a building
Meet some of our wonderful volunteers
This National Volunteer Week, June 21-27, we shine a light on our volunteers and the roles they play in empowering...
Read more
Born Accessible: New Zealanders with a print disability and publishers both win By Geraldine Lewis, Blind Low Vision NZ Library Manager It was a monumental moment for Blind Low Vision NZ and the disability community when New Zealand become a member of the Marrakesh Treaty earlier this year. It was something we had been advocating for over ten years. Ninety percent of information is inaccessible, and this puts about 168,000 New Zealanders with a print disability, including people who are blind, low vision and deafblind, on the back foot. Not being able to access information can be a barrier to many aspects of life including employment, education and recreation. The Marrakesh Treaty means we can exchange accessible versions of information with other countries who have also joined the Marrakesh Treaty without us having to clear copyright in its origin country, it is a straight exchange of accessible material for print disabled people. It is a win for accessibility and it also means the Government are complying with the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which was ratified in 25 September 2008. Publishers and authors have recently spoken out in opposition to the treaty because they believe they will have a loss in revenue. Blind Low Vision NZ also believe that publishers and authors should be compensated fairly for their work. New Zealanders with a print disability are legally entitled to access information to fully participate in society. We would like to work with publishers to help them create books that are ‘born accessible’. An EPUP3 format is easily accessed by people who use adaptive technology such as screen readers or a braille display. Not many publishers are producing books in this way. It would not only open up access for print disabled New Zealanders, but it would also open up publishers to a new market. Blind Low Vision NZ for one would be a customer – it costs less for us to buy an accessible version of a book than produce an accessible copy in our studios. Last year we hosted a workshop about EPUP3 with publishers who have been very receptive and it is exciting to go on this journey together. To break down barriers to information we would like to see these steps taken to ensure everyone benefits: 1 The Government requires all school material to be provided in a ‘born accessible’ format. If accessibility is required then publishers would be recompensed for their creation 2 All Government documents are created in a ‘born accessible’ format. 3 Workshops are organised to enable publishers to create ‘born accessible’ content. 4 A central repository created, probably in Te Puna (National Library) where all accessible copies are kept. Practically this means that if someone wants an accessible copy they can find one already made which means they won’t create their own. Everyone deserves access to information and we want to work towards a solution that will also work for the publishing industry – after all, they are the creators of many wonderful stories and information.
Born Accessible: New Zealanders with a print disability and publishers both win
By Geraldine Lewis, Blind Low Vision NZ Library Manager It was a monumental moment for Blind Low Vision NZ and...
Read more
Thomas Bryan, Blind Low Vision NZ technology advisor
Smart Speakers: Using my voice to open the door to information, goods and services
Thomas Bryan, National Technology Advisor, has penned a piece on what a Smart Speaker has meant to him in honour...
Read more
Thomas Bryan, Blind Low Vision NZ technology advisor
Lockdown Stories: Thomas Bryan shares some tech tips
Thomas Bryan, Blind Low Vision NZ National Technology Advisor, tells how lockdown has been for him and gives some technology...
Read more
Amy Luxton-Esler
Amy finds a slice of her family history in our archives
Amy Luxton-Esler has been volunteering with our libary team since April last year. While working on our archives, she discovered...
Read more
Donna Brookbanks
Meet a narrator of our library’s audio books: Donna Brookbanks
Our Blind Low Vision NZ accessible library is one of our most loved and popular services. With more than 30,000...
Read more
Ite Lemalu
The real winners at inaugural People’s Choice Accessibility Awards for Business
Ite Lemalu, Access Alliance Campaign Volunteer and Blind Low Vision NZ client, gives his perspective of the People Choice awards....
Read more
Callum McMenamin's profile photo
Callum embarks on campaign to repair silent or quiet pedestrian crossings
“We need the ability to cross the street before we can march down them.” Callum McMenamin, a client of Blind...
Read more
Zach with his chocolate slice with M&Ms spelling ‘braille is fun’
Winner announced: World Braille Day baking competition.
We challenged you to share your baking creations with us on World Braille Day, 4 January, and you did not...
Read more
Cake reads ‘enter now’ with chocolate buttons
Competition: Bake for World Braille Day.
Show your appreciation for the life-changing six-dot system and get baking for World Braille Day, 4 January 2020. We’re running...
Read more
The Telefriend team holding the Telefriend call list.
Spotlight on: Telefriend, our award winning peer support team
George, Michael, Sue, Elaine, Gale and June. These names may be familiar to some readers as the group of dedicated...
Read more