And more of WonderBum's Mischief


New Member
Sorry I don't have the html links... as this was emailed to me...

Thursday, October 2 2003 - 01:59 pm Routine





By Chris Peters of NZPA

Wellington, Oct 2 - As captioned movies start screening in

Auckland and Christchurch today, it's another goal ticked off by

Deaf campaigner Kim Robinson.

The lobbyist last year saw the successful end to an eight-year

campaign to force the telecommunications industry to commit to

providing a phone relay service for the Deaf, hearing-impaired and

speech-impaired, and next on his list is television subtitles, with

political funding further down the line.

``It's a question of rights,'' he said this week.

``It is our right to be able to enjoy the same services as anyone


The genesis of his campaign was a year he spent as an exchange

student in the United States in 1990, where he saw facilities for

the deaf that he had only dreamed of in New Zealand.

Robinson, a community support worker who was deaf by the age of

12, met people with careers unheard of for deaf people in New

Zealand, such as surgeons, lawyers and pilots.

``In the USA it was like the world opened for me,'' he said.

``When I came back here it was closed, so it was either go back

and become an American, or stay here in New Zealand and kick ass --

I chose the latter.''

His first target, along with other members of the Deaf community

-- ``we have our own identity, and we always spell Deaf with a

capital'' -- was the phone relay service whereby those who can't

normally use the telephone, use phones with text units and screens

attached, to make calls via a specialist call centre.

After eight years and a case with the Human Rights Commission,

victory came when the Government last year announced the

establishment of a service which is expected to be running early

next year.

Captioned movies were next.

``It started in November 2000, when I started campaigning for the

Lord of the Rings to be captioned,'' he said.

``The government was promoting this as a New Zealand thing and it

was a world-wide hit, but we Deaf Kiwis couldn't be part of this

because we couldn't hear it.''

Robinson was back at the Human Rights Commission in 2001, lodging

a complaint that led to a series of meetings with film distributors,

cinema owners, the Deaf Association, the Hearing Association, which

represents the hearing-impaired, and Captioning Access NZ, over the

last four months.

The result was the launch today of captioned movies on a 13-city

circuit throughout New Zealand.

The issue, said Robinson, was one of access.

``Cinemas have always been one of society's very first picture

domains -- the oldest motion media screen around,'' he said.

``Box office releases cannot be rented out on DVD until about

nine months after the release in theatres. They can be purchased

overseas earlier than that for personal use, but this is out of the

range of many people. Fifty-three percent of more than 700,000

people with disabilities earn less than $15,000 a year.''

Rather than make the Deaf and hearing-impaired wait for the best

part of a year before they could see a movie with subtitles on a TV

screen via a DVD, Robinson decided they should be able to see those

movies in proper theatres in a reasonable time frame.

With captioned movies now achieved, albeit on a limited scale of

one movie a month, the next target is television, and he's already

laid a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

While many captioned programmes are available on the three main

public channels -- TV One, Two and Three -- they are not available

on TV4, Prime, or the Sky channels. Further, those who receive the

public channels via satellite connections cannot access the


Robinson's case is two-fold -- to get a major increase in funding

for captioning, and to see those channels which do not provide

captioning, made to do so.

Those who will benefit are the 220,000-plus New Zealanders who

are Deaf, or whose hearing loss qualifies as a disability.

Beyond that is the longer term goal to see state funding of

political parties, so those who can least afford to flex their

political muscle -- the disabled -- will be able to do so, possibly

through a party of their own.

``By having such funding, people with disabilities will have a

platform to stand on and a voice to use,'' he said.

And beyond that?

``Once the groundwork of access is available in New Zealand, we

can raise the bar into other arenas that were previously taboo for

people with disabilities, such as the ability to serve in the police

force or the military.''

NZPA WGT ctp gs kk

Fly Free

New Member
WTG WonderBum!!!!!! :thumb: ive read both of ur threads and thats GREAT!!!!!!!!!!! u are making progress and keep up the great work!


New Member
WTG, WB! :thumb: Things are starting to happen in Australia as well, but in some areas NZ's ahead -- for example, they set up the first Deaf Cafe of the southern hemisphere after France did.


New Member
Thanks all...

Yes - the Deaf Cafe is a great start to assist getting Deaf here into Employment and off the Benefits/Social Security.

If that fails... we could always set up a Deaf Massage Parlour since prositution is legal in New Zealand now. (Is anyone here that wanna work in one?) :fly:


Premium Lurker
Premium Member
Congrats!!! way to go. I do remmy about ur telling about ur doing in NZ. Glad u did not give up for ur goals. :thumb:


Well-Known Member
Premium Member
WTG!! and congrats to your hard work eh! hopefully next step will be a good improvement!


Well-Known Member
Premium Member
WonderBum said:
Thanks all...

Yes - the Deaf Cafe is a great start to assist getting Deaf here into Employment and off the Benefits/Social Security.

If that fails... we could always set up a Deaf Massage Parlour since prositution is legal in New Zealand now. (Is anyone here that wanna work in one?) :fly:

That won't be me working there ofc! :rofl: