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Te Rōpū Kaitohutohu Take Hunga Hauā

Disability Advisory Panel

Applications for membership of the demographic advisory panels closed on Sunday 12 March 2023. We will update details of the new panels on 27 April 2023.

The role of the Disability Advisory Panel

Panel members will:

  • identify the issues that are important to people with disabilities
  • provide advice on our regional strategies, policies and plans
  • help us to effectively engage with people with disabilities.

How disability is defined

The New Zealand Human Rights Act defines disability as:

  • physical disability or impairment (such as respiratory condition)
  • physical illness
  • psychiatric illness (such as depression or schizophrenia)
  • intellectual or psychological disability or impairment (such as learning disorders)
  • any other loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function (such as arthritis or amputation)
  • reliance on a guide dog, wheelchair or other remedial means
  • the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing illness (such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis).

Meetings of the panel

The Disability Advisory Panel holds scheduled meetings and a number of workshops with staff each year.

Scheduled meetings are open to the public.

For dates, agendas and minutes, see Disability Advisory Panel meetings.

Get in touch with the panel

Email to:

  • attend a meeting
  • present at a meeting
  • find more information.

Demographic advisory panels terms of reference


For the latest end of term report, see Disability Advisory Panel achievements 2016 to 2019.

Meet our advisory board members

Back row (from left to right): Gerard Martin and Ursula Thynne
Front row (from left to right): Martine Abel Williamson, Renata Kotua, Jason Boberg, Kramer Hoeflich, Bonnie Robinson.

​Bonnie Robinson

Bonnie Robinson has more than 20 years' experience working in the community social services sector.

Her roles have included policy analysis, research and advocacy, communications, and management. Much of this work has focused around services for older people and those living with chronic conditions and disability.

Currently Bonnie is chief executive officer at HBH Senior Living, which operates residential care, housing, and community day services for older people.

Bonnie has had a parallel career in governance, and is often called on to give workshops and presentations on issues relating to non-profit social services.

As someone with multiple sclerosis (MS), Bonnie understands first-hand the impact of negotiating life in Auckland with a disability.

She is married and has young adult children. Outside of work, she sings with a choir, swims and sews.


Chantelle Griffiths

Chantelle Griffiths is a vision-impaired professional who works at Blind Low Vision NZ.

She has held leadership roles within the Braille Authority of NZ Aotearoa Trust, NZ Braille Music Retreat and the Pasifika Braille Literacy Project.

Chantelle is a Be Leadership graduate and brings strategic thinking and policy skills, good stakeholder relations and strengths in training and mentoring.


Gerard Martin

Gerard Martin is a relationship manager with Immigration New Zealand, for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

He manages a portfolio of organisations that support skilled migrants and former refugees to settle in New Zealand.

His areas of interest includes addressing discrimination and unconscious bias affecting those with disabilities and advocating for greater accessibility in infrastructure and building design.

Gerard leads the transport sub-committee for his local residents association where he advocates with Auckland Transport and the local board for improvements to pedestrian and traffic safety.

He is a former board member of the Institute of Public Administration of New Zealand (IPANZ) and has served on the Committee of the Auckland/Northland Amputee Society.

Gerard uses an above-knee prosthetic after losing his left leg to a bone tumour in his early twenties.


Jason Boberg

Jason Boberg is the co-founder and creative director of social impact agency Activate.

A proudly disabled film director by trade, Jason has a disability rights and justice focus to his work. This includes ethical representation of disabled people in decision-making and media.

He is an advocate for disability rights in the climate movement, both locally and internationally.

The founder of Sustained Ability, he advocates on behalf of people with disabilities at the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Human Rights Council, and Framework Convention on climate change.

He is passionate about supporting the next generation of disabled decision makers to understand the expertise and [definition pattern] whakapapa of our disabled community.


Kramer Hoeflich

Kramer Hoeflich was born and raised in the Cook Islands on the island of Rarotonga. When he was 15, a spinal cord injury changed his life and brought him to New Zealand.

He has faced many challenges and overcome a lot of barriers to become the person he is today. This helped him discover a passion to work alongside young people of all abilities, cultures and backgrounds, to make a difference within the community.

Kramer has a strong focus on equality, inclusion and diversity, which is reflected in the projects, events and boards is involved with.

He is currently a team leader at Vaka Tautua and is a strong voice for both the Pasifika and disability sectors.

Kramer's ultimate goal is to lead from the front and become Minister for Disability Issues.


Martine Abel Williamson

Disability advocate, accessibility consultant and policy advisor Martine Abel-Williamson QSM, has held numerous governance and leadership roles in the disability area.

These include treasurer and strategic lead for the World Blind Union as well as Asia-Pacific Regional UN Advocacy Network coordinator.

She has also held governance roles with the Workbridge Council, the Guide Dog Society, Disability Connect, Independent Living Service, and worked at Auckland and Manukau local councils.

Martine is usually accompanied by her guide dog, Westin.


Rachel Peterson

Rachel Peterson is the Community Relationship Manager at YES Disability which includes being the project lead of Parenting with a Disability New Zealand.

She has lived and worked in the health and disability sector for over 30 years, and as a returning panel member, brings experience and strong work networks.

Last year she was chosen to attend the four-day International Initiative for Disability Leadership (IIDL) conference in Washington DC where she spoke about her passion for youth with disability, leadership and succession planning.

She believes in using creative solutions and cultivating relationships to enhance communities. She has a love for design, with a particular interest in eco-design and accessibility.

She has two daughters, and in her younger days she also played wheelchair basketball for New Zealand.


Ursula Thynne

Ursula Thynne is profoundly deaf, but comfortable using both spoken language and New Zealand Sign Language. You will often see her with hearing dog Casper.

She has a history of working with the deaf community in social services, youth development and education as a qualified youth weorker and teacher of the deaf.

Currently, she works full-time as a teacher for Ko Taku Reo Deaf Education New Zealand.

Ursula is a proud Aucklander who has lived in central Auckland for the past three years. Prior to that she lived at Piha, west Auckland for 12 years. She has a son currently doing NCEA Level 1.

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