20 Sep 2013

Keeping blind whanau at home celebrated

7:45 pm on 20 September 2013

Keeping visually impaired and blind Maori with their whanau is the biggest success of the past 30 years for the Maori Blind Society.

Ngati Kapo o Aotearoa celebrated its 30th anniversary this week with an event in south Auckland which included speakers such as Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia.

Head Chrissie Cowan says although technological improvements have enhanced its members lives, the most significant thing has been getting Maori out of institutions and living with whanau.

Ms Cowan says 40 years ago, all blind people, had only one choice and that was to go to the blind centre in Auckland - a devastating move for Maori from close-knit whanau.

A lot of Maori became disconnected with their whanau but, despite that, remained strong in their cultural identity, she says.

Ms Cowan credits the older generation of blind Maori with establishing Ngati Kapo o Aotearoa.