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Last modified: 22 Jul 2022 9:30am

Katie and Kirstin speak at launch

The Hāpai Access Card, designed to improve access for people with disabilities, officially launched across all Selwyn District Council facilities at a special ceremony, held at the Selwyn Sport Centre this week.

The card enables people with disabilities to communicate discreetly with council staff about the barriers they face interacting with businesses and retailers.

Based on a similar system used in the UK, the icons on each card are unique to the user and clearly signal what support or assistance a person might need. That way participating businesses can better support people to access and use their services.

Selwyn’s Group Manager Community Services and Facilities, Denise Kidd says “the card enables us to reduce the barriers that can make it challenging for people to use our services. We want to make sure everyone feels welcome”.

More than 20% of all people live with some kind of disability. The card will help remove social barriers they face by educating retailers and businesses on how to better serve their customers.

Selwyn Community and Economic Development Advisor, Kirstin Dingwall-Okoye says "it’s been most encouraging to see a fantastic uptake from the business community around Selwyn District accepting the card".  28 businesses have signed on and all customer service staff at Selwyn District Council are now being trained on how best to help these customers.

Katie Bourke from BarrierFree, also talked at the launch about how to create accessible buildings and spaces, and her personal experiences as a wheelchair user.