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Your Way | Kia Roha Welcomes New Board Members Committed to Empowering Disabled Community 

Press Release

Auckland, 12 December 2023 — Your Way | Kia Roha, a leading organisation dedicated to empowering and supporting disabled people, is excited to share the news of its latest Board of Trustees appointments. Martine Abel-Williamson and Renata Kotua have joined the team, bringing valuable experience and dedication to support disabled individuals. 

Martine Abel-Williamson sits on a chair next to her guide dog, Greg. Martine wears a black shirt and a chunk necklace. She has red hair.  Greg is an alert looking golden retriever.
Martine Abel-Williamson and guide dog, Greg.

Martine Abel-Williamson, QSM and the current President of the World Blind Union, is a respected advocate in the disability sector. With a background spanning mental health, blindness advocacy, and accessibility in local government, Martine also served as a senior human rights advisor for the Human Rights Commission, contributing significantly to the promotion of human rights and inclusivity. She expressed her enthusiasm, saying, “I’m thrilled to be part of Your Way | Kia Roha, contributing to its mission of enhancing the lives of disabled people. I look forward to bringing my international experiences to the board and challenging the expectations set by society.” 

Renata Kotua, from Ngāti Toa Rangatira, is another valuable addition to the board. Renata has spent the past seven years in various roles in disability advocacy, research, and leadership. Currently serving as a Programme Coordinator at the Cerebral Palsy Society, Renata is dedicated to challenging stereotypes and changing assumptions about the capabilities of disabled individuals. Renata emphasised the importance of reframing conversations around disability, highlighting that being disabled is an integral part of who individuals are. 

Renata Kotua has long brown hair with highlights. She wears a blue button-up shirt.
Renata Kotua.

“As kids, we’re often told to ‘rise above’ being disabled. In reality, being disabled is a fundamental part of who we are,” Renata shared. “It took me a long time to realise this and understand the damage framing disability as something to be miserable about can cause. It’s crucial that we work together to reshape conversations and ensure our community thrives.” 

Your Way | Kia Roha bids farewell to Mary Cave-Palmer as she steps down from the board. Expressing gratitude for Mary’s impactful contributions to the organisation, Michelle Bentham, Chairperson at Your Way | Kia Roha, said, “We extend our gratitude to Mary for her pivotal role during her time with us. Mary’s financial expertise and insights have been invaluable, and we are thankful for the legacy she leaves behind.” 

Your Way | Kia Roha looks forward to the positive impact Martine and Renata will make on the organisation’s goals, aligning with its mission to empower and support the disabled community. 

For media enquiries, please contact: 

Suzanne Gaier 
Communications and Marketing Manager 
021 468 346 
[email protected]

About Your Way | Kia Roha: 

A national charitable trust, Your Way | Kia Roha offers information, support and equipment to help disabled people thrive, living the lives they choose in their communities. Creating opportunities for people for over 40 years, our services include Connections and Funding (NASC and LAC), Hearing Therapy, disability and autism information and advice, community programmes and mobility equipment stores. 

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