Did you know? (members information)

This information page is provided for blind and vision impaired members (both within Taranaki and New Zealand wide),
to advise them about a variety of options that may be useful to them.

Audio description has come to channel 3

Discovery NZ now has audio described content on Channel 3. (This is great news, as it is another channel providing audio described content for visually impaired/blind people in New Zealand). The ground work seems to have been done so the shows that have it will air with audio description on them. There will be more content coming for you to watch. To know which shows/movies are audio described at present, sign yourself up to get a weekly email from Able at http://www.able.co.nz

There is also some information on how to enable it on your TV etcetera if it can do it.

"Talking about seeing" podcast series

The following series is hosted by Access Media NZ and the series is about blind people from the Taranaki area and beyond. You can listen to the series from the following webpage at https://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=43abe378-0e7a-4c56-9dd7-9187373e4b91
The podcasts were recorded at Access Radio Taranaki.
Access Radio Taranaki 104.4 FM

Freeview NZ accessible TV guide

For an accessible TV guide (while using a screen reader) please see the following link at https://freeviewnz.tv/tvguide/whats-on/?mobile=true

Obtaining the equipment price list for Blind Low Vision NZ members

Have you noticed that on the Blind Low Vision NZ website there is no longer a page with equipment on it? There is now a link to the Trade Me listings by Blind Low Vision NZ which has equipment that both Blind Low Vision NZ members and the public can buy 24 hours a day.

For a direct link to the TradeMe listings by Blind Low Vision NZ, please go to the following web page at https://www.trademe.co.nz/Members/Listings.aspx?member=7689276

If you as a Blind Low Vision NZ member do not find what you are looking for there, then you need to ring the 0800 243333 phone number and get put through to equipment services. You can also ask them to send you through the equipment price list which is in a PDF format to your email address. It can then be opened with a PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader and browsed through. You can also ask them for it in another format.

When you browse through the equipment price list, there is a product code which you can use when you ring them back up to order your piece of equipment.  They will need this number so that they can get the correct product for you. Equipment will have a specific code assigned to each item.

You can pay via internet banking or via credit card over the phone or if you visit any of our offices you can pay there.  If you decide to pay by internet banking please put in the following information. You can use the member name and EQS (for equipment services) as a reference. The account number is 02 0192 00 28330 00

Please note if you get the equipment price list, there are usually 2 prices for the same item. One price is a member's price and the other price is for the general public who are not blind members. If you are buying on behalf of a blind member, please state their name and address so that you can get the equipment at the members price when you ring BLVNZ up to place an order.

Subtitles for the hearing impaired and audio description for the vision impaired at some movie cinemas in NZ

Are you aware at certain cinemas in New Zealand you can watch movies with either subtitles for the hearing impaired or audio description for the blind? To find out more, please go to the following page at https://www.eventcinemas.co.nz/Promotions/ClosedCaptions Please check with your local movie cinema to see if these features are available in your area.

Did you know that the Auckland city libraries network have a copy of the NVDA screen reader installed on their public computer terminals?

There are 55 locations that you can go to, and there are 600 computers with NVDA on them.
To see what software is on each computer (and also the locations of the libraries) please go to https://www.aucklandlibraries.govt.nz/Pages/computer-use.aspx

As librarians come and go, they may or may not be aware of the NVDA screen reader on a computer. They are also willing to help log you in to the network and, if needed, to start your copy of NVDA for your session.

To see which other networks have a copy of the NVDA screen reader on them, and to find out how to start NVDA, please go to http://www.accessibilitycentral.net/nz%20libraries%20with%20nvda.html

Vision impaired access card - Kiwi Access Card - evidence of identity card

Are you aware of the new access card for the vision impaired?

It is being marketed as “Proof of identity that gives you freedom” and replaces the 18+ card.

The new Kiwi Access Card has been designed with the blind, vision impaired, deafblind and disabled communities in New Zealand in mind. Kiwi Access Card has been designed to give you the freedom you need. It has been created to give you better and easier access to goods and services, and is readily accepted throughout New Zealand.

To find out more information about this card please go to the following link at  https://kiwiaccess.co.nz/vision-impaired-access-card/

NVDA screen reader now also available in Christchurch city public libraries

Are you aware that the NVDA screen reader has been installed on 390 public terminals at 19 libraries in the Christchurch city area? As this has just been done at the end of 2018, some librarians may not be aware of its installation. If you need help signing in etcetera, they will be glad to help.

For more information on how to start NVDA on their public terminals and to see what other accessibility software they have on those public terminals please go to the following link at https://my.christchurchcitylibraries.com/faq/computers/#faq_5895

Blind Foundation Library service now open to all kiwis with a print disability

Are you aware that the Blind Foundation has opened up its’ online Book Link service to any person in New Zealand with a reading disability.

How to join the Blind Foundation digital library

If you or someone you know has a print disability and would like to become a member of the Blind Foundation’s library, please visit our website or call 0800 24 33 33. A health professional’s declaration is required for access.
For more information about this please go to the following link at https://blindfoundation.org.nz/tech-innovation/blind-foundation-library-service-now-open-to-all-kiwis-with-a-print-disability/

Ministry of Health New Zealand funding for eyesight related expenses

Are you aware, that even if you are not entitled to ACC assistance, that you may still be able to access a range of eyesight related equipment through the New Zealand ministry of health?  For more information please visit the following link http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/services-and-support/disability-services/types-disability-support/hearing-and-vision-services/equipment-people-who-are-blind-or-have-reduced-vision

Are you considering buying a new touch device?

Are you aware that when you go to buy a new smart phone which is a touch only device, being blind or visually impaired will not stop you using it. When you go to buy either a new Apple I phone or a new Android phone, they may come with built in screen readers. For the I phone, the screen reader is called VoiceOver and for the Android phone the screen reader is called Talkback. They can be turned on under the accessibility section in the phone. While you are there you might as well check out some of the other sections that are there. You can also buy apps or get free apps for your smart phone that can help you in everyday life. Some examples are colour identifier software, money readers, GPS software, magnification software and so on.

This will also apply to tablets for Android and Apple devices.

If you are also considering buying a tablet with Android on it go for the latest version of the operating system. The tablet should also have Talkback installed. The Apple I pad also comes with the VoiceOver screen reader. Windows tablets only come with the Narrator screen reader which is a very basic screen reader. For a more comprehensive screen reader (that will not break your budget) you can install the NVDA screen reader from http://www.nvaccess.org

Please note:
NVDA will work on an x86/x64 device, or a laptop tablet with touch input but will not run on a Windows tablet running the Windows RT operating system which is also found on Windows phones.

Not all touch enabled devices have accessibility built into them (for example a screen reader or magnification etcetera). Not all Android devices have TalkBack installed. This may be something that may need to be downloaded to your device. If you are purchasing the device from a shop, ask the shop assistant to demonstrate the accessibility features to you before purchasing, or ask them which devices might already have the features that you are looking for. Remember not all shop assistants have experience in this field and it may be a learning curve for them as well.

If you find it hard to use a touch screen device, you may also use a bluetooth keyboard.

Netflix features both audio description and subtitles

Were you aware when Netflix (an online streaming service) came to New Zealand in April 2015, they also introduced extra services. One service was audio description (for the visually impaired and blind) and the other service was subtitles (for the hearing impaired). These services will have to be turned on in Netflix. For more information on how to enable these features on your device please go to https://help.netflix.com/en/node/25079?ba=GSButtonClick&q=
Hopefully these two services will come to our on demand services (streaming) here in New Zealand as well!

Audio description listing information for TV 1 and TV 2 (from able.co.nz)

Have you ever wondered which programmes are being audio described on channels 1, 2, or Duke (or an hour later on channel 1 + 1 or channel 2 + 1)? Able.co.nz provide information on the shows that are audio described (in a 2 day listing) giving such information as the title, channel it appears on, and the duration of the programme.

You can also sign up to receive this information via email. To sign up to receive this audio description information please click on the following link http://mail.pitch.net.nz/h/r/EEC4300E5FEC192D You will need to enter your name and email address and click on submit.

Once you have signed up, you will receive regular weekly updates via email.

Assistance when shopping

Some supermarkets offer assistance to blind and visually impaired people who wish to go shopping in their stores. You will need to contact your local supermarket - to see if this assistance is available in your store. The staff will usually book in a time when they can send a personal shopper with you to help you get your shopping. If these assistants are not booked in, the supermarket may not have anyone available at that time to help you (especially during peak hour).

They may also provide a drop off service for a fee. Some may even provide an online facility so you can shop from home using your computer, and also provide a delivery service as well. Please check at your local supermarket to see if this service is available in your area.

Health Passport

Have you got your health passport yet? A health passport is available for those people who need to visit a hospital, or other provider of health and disability services. It allows you to alert others as to how to communicate with and support you. For more information please visit the following link http://www.hdc.org.nz/about-us/disability/health-passport or phone 0800 11 22 33.

PVINZ...also known as the Parents of vision impaired (NZ) Inc.

PVI is a nationwide support network for the parents of children and youth who are blind, vision impaired and/or deaf blind.  To find out more about PVI (NZ) please visit the following link http://www.pvi.org.nz/


BLENNZ stands for Blind and Low vision Education Network NZ.  It is an education provider around Aotearoa New Zealand which caters for children and young people who are blind, deafblind or have low vision. It encompasses a national network of educational and social resources and its vision is "Equity through access: Opening doors so all may learn". To find out more about Blennz please visit the following link http://blennzonline.edublogs.org/

Financial assistance from the Blind foundation

Are you aware that you may be able to get financial assistance from the Blind foundation for certain things? As with all trusts/funds certain criteria apply. To find out more information about the trusts/funds that the RNZFB administer, please go to http://blindfoundation.org.nz/about/member-services/financial-assistance

Disability Funding

This website provides information about Ministry of Health funding for environmental support services for disabled people. The website can be found at http://disabilityfunding.co.nz/

HANZ 18+ evidence of age document (also known as a proof of age card)

HANZ (Hospitality Assocation of New Zealand) 18+ cards are great for:

Hanz website and a downloadable application form can be found at http://www.hanz18plus.org.nz/  Alternately, you can visit your local NZ Post Shop for more information and a form. Click on the following link to see what you need to take in with you when you apply in person. http://www.nzpost.co.nz/products-services/travel-id/hanz-18-card All applications must be taken to an NZ Post Shop.

Telecom Directory Assistance exemption for your landline (for Telecom customers)

Are you aware that if you are with Telecom, you can apply for an 018 Residential Directory Assistance Per Call Charge Exemption. For a set monthly fee of $1.28, you can ring directory assistance to get a phone number that you want to ring.  Whether you ring it once or 20 times in a month, it will still only cost you $1.28 for the service. It does not cover the connection to that number (that is, if you wish to connect to the number directly which is known as the Direct Connect service, there will be an extra cost of 50 cents per connection). You will need to contact Telecom (for example from your phone you can call 123). You will need to ask for an Application for Residential Directory Assistance Per Call Charge Exemption form and have it mailed out to you. The other option is, it can be emailed to you and printed out. Once you have it, you will need to see a General Practitioner or Field Officer to get it signed. Once done, it will have to be sent back to Telecom to be activated on your home line. This does not cover directory assistance from a mobile phone or business line. You can also apply for it even if you are not the Telecom landline account holder, as long as you permanently reside at that address.

Telecom Directory Assistance via TIS

Are you aware, that if you are not a Telecom customer, you can still use this service through the telephone information service also known as TIS?! You will need to contact library services and acquire a 7 digit number as well as a 5 digit password to access this service. Once done, it is a matter of ringing 0800 36 33 44, then option 8 for commercial services, then 8 again for Telecom, then either 8 for transfer to directory assistance international, or 9 for transfer to directory assistance national.

Nationwide access via TIS (the Telephone Information Service)

Did you know that if you are travelling around New Zealand you can still dial into the telephone information service?! For the national number call 0800 36 33 44 or from different parts of our country, you can call any of the following local numbers:
Auckland: 302 3344
Hamilton: 834 2288
Napier-Hastings: 835 9136
Palmerston North: 354 8316
Wellington: 389 3858
Christchurch: 355 8381
Timaru: 688 6921
Oamaru: 433 1026
Dunedin: 455 8833
Balclutha: 418 3332
Gore: 203 3001
Invercargill: 218 6470

New local free phone TIS numbers are as follows:
Whangarei: 09 929 9099
Tauranga: 07 929 6199
Gisborne: 06 929 1033
Wanganui: 06 348 4403
New Plymouth: 06 929 3088
Nelson: 03 929 5033

For locations outside of these areas, please use the 0800 36 33 44 national number. Please note, that not all options will be available on the 0800 nationwide number. Please also note that as information becomes updated, numbers for various options may be added or removed.

Mobility Parking information

Are you aware that you may be eligible for a mobility parking permit if you are visually impaired, blind or disabled? This will allow the vehicle you travel in to park in mobility parking spaces assigned by council throughout NZ.  For more information about obtaining a mobility parking permit, please contact your local CCS branch on 0800 227 2255 or via their website at http://mobilityparking.org.nz/

RNZFB Email lists

Are you aware that the RNZFB has its own email lists that you can join? This may be to keep up with announcements from the RNZFB, or to join some of their other email lists that may interest you . For example, you may wish to join the ATIG list (also known as the adaptive technology interest group) or another list to find out about the latest in daisy or braille books. For more information, please visit the following link. http://www.rnzfb.org.nz/members/member-news/email-lists

Total Mobility Scheme

Have you heard about the Total Mobility Scheme? Under the Total Mobility scheme, the Council provides transport assistance for people with disabilities by providing discounted taxi fares. You can find out more about this scheme by emailing totalmobility@trc.govt.nz or by phoning 0800 TOTMOB (0800 868 662) or by going to their website at http://www.trc.govt.nz/total-mobility/

RNZFB Member Identification card

Did you know that you can get a member identification card from the Foundation? The card will cost $15 and will last for 10 years. You will be required to supply a passport sized photo for the card. This identification may be used elsewhere, but may not be accepted in some places as a legal document. It will entitle you to a variety of discounts in different locations throughout NZ. For example, in the New Plymouth area Transit NZ Coach Lines offer members a $1-50 ticket to anywhere within New Plymouth, and trips to and from Waitara for just $3. For more information on the members identification card or other discounts available, please contact your local community committee or call the R.N.Z.F.B. on 0800 24 33 33. A form will be sent out to you. You will then need to return your application, along with your passport sized photo and the $15 fee. It will then be processed and sent out to you.

Information about bus travel in New Plymouth for Gold card holders

Although not related to the RNZFB membership card, the following is something that the Tranzit NZ Coach Lines in New Plymouth offer. Gold card holders in the New Plymouth district can use the buses for free between the hours of 9am and 3pm.

CCTV magnifiers available to all members of the public in four Taranaki libraries

Were you aware that Taranaki has four CCTV's (also known as video magnifiers) available for use by the public? These four video magnifiers are situated in the following local (Taranaki) libraries: Eltham, Stratford, Inglewood and Waitara. In each library, there is a colour Aladdin Genie Pro. These are designed for use by the visually impaired, but can also be used by the general public. Contact one of these libraries for more information, or to be shown how to use them.

Talking books on CD and large print books at your local library

Are you also aware, that at your local libraries, you can borrow talking books on CD or tape? They even have large print books as well!

Taranaki now has its own section on the telephone information service (TIS)

Are you aware that the Taranaki region has its own spot up on TIS now. TIS is also known as the telephone information service. To access the new TIS option, you will need to call the 0800 36 33 44 nationwide number by using a home phone. Once connected and you hear the different options, it will be option 4 (for Foundation services), then option 5 (for news for community committees), then option 1 (for the Taranaki region). Once you are there, press 1 for what is happening at the RNZFB rooms in New Plymouth; 2 for contact details (these are local, national and international); 3 for events (both RNZFB run events and events coming up in the Taranaki region); 4 for audio description (both how to enable it on devices as well as which TV programmes are currently airing with this feature); and 5 for blindness related tips and tricks. Please let other members know about this service for the Taranaki area by passing on these details. Remember, you can dial in at any time of the day or night. Remember to check back with TIS to keep up to date with events, TV shows for the current week and news from the RNZFB.

Taranaki Trust for the Blind

Established in 1993, the Taranaki Trust for the Blind is an independent charity organisation whose aim is to assist blind and partially sighted people. They assist with promoting well being, raising funds, investigating employment opportunities and assisting those in genuine need when no alternative is available from other sources. For more information and/or assistance please write to: Taranaki Trust for the Blind P.O. BOX 178 New Plymouth.

TALVA email group

TALVA stands for Taranaki Atig (and) Low Vision Assistance. This group is here to assist those who are blind or vision impaired, as well as those who are not yet legally blind but who have steadily deteriorating vision. Topics may cover anything eyesight related from using a certain piece of adaptive technology, through to other general eyesight related topics such as where to get a talking watch or clock from, or how to adapt something in your daily life. Hopefully somebody on this list may be able to help you!

To subscribe to the TALVA email group, please send an email to:

To post a message to the TALVA email group, (once the administrator has authorised your membership) please send an email to:

To unsubscribe from the TALVA email group, please send an email to:

Accessible speech and magnification software on APN library computers nationwide

Did you know that on the APN network (also known as the Aotearoa People's Network - which is the network of computers at libraries nationwide), that on every computer on their network is a copy of the NVDA screen reader. There are also two magnification programmes called the magnifier (which is a partial screen magnifier) and qzoom (which is a full screen magnifier). So, no matter which computer you go up to on their network, there is a copy of these programmes available for use. To see which locations the Aotearoa People's Network computers are based at, please visit http://www.aotearoapeoplesnetwork.org/content/partner-libraries to find out if there is a location near you. If you need help to use any of the programmes, the librarians are happy to assist.

If you would like to download a copy of the free open source NVDA screen reader (which is the one found on their network nationwide), please visit www.nvaccess.org for a copy of it.

VIP assistance on flights

Are you aware that when you fly by plane to various locations (both within New Zealand and abroad), that when you go to book your airline tickets, you can get VIP assistance? You will need to ask for it when booking your tickets, so they know you require help when travelling via plane. This means that if they know - they can help you when boarding and disembarking, or when going from airport to airport. If you don't ask for it, you will not get it!

Daisy Digital Talking Book machines

Are you aware that if you are visually impaired or blind, you can get one of the new digital daisy talking book machines if you enjoy listening to audio books. If you have not got one and would like one, you must contact the Blind Foundation and get a form sent out to you ( which must be filled in and sent back). Once your application has been approved, a new digital daisy talking book machine will be sent to you. Once you have one of these new digital daisy talking book machines, in order to get new books, you must send the old ones back. There is an email list you can join from library services, that will let you know what new braille, electronic or daisy books are being produced each week. The email list can be found at the following web page link http://www.rnzfb.org.nz/members/member-news/email-lists If you want any of the books from this list, you can reply to the email with the books you are interested in. For example you might request book A Hot summer and book C Cold nights by emailing your details. The address is libraryenquiries@rnzfb.org.nz You can contact them by phone as well. The number is 0800 24 33 33. Ask for library services and relay the information that way. When you first sign up for a new digital daisy talking book machine, you can fill out the form and specify what types of books, authors etcetera that you are interested in and those type of books will be sent out to you. You can also ring up the Blind Foundation at a later date, and have them add other types of books and authors to your list of preferences that you would like to listen to.

Equipment days and purchasing equipment

Are you aware that your local RNZFB community committee may have equipment days once or twice a year? These are where you can look at some blindness related gadgets and ask questions. If there is no community committee near you, your local Blind Foundation will be able to advise you when the next one is on. You can also ring the telephone information service and it will be option 3..2..4 from the main TIS menu. Then,  either press 1 for the North Island or 2 for the South island. If you would like to buy some of the blindness related products before the equipment days, you can also ring the Blind Foundation on 0800 24 33 33 and ask for equipment services. It is option 4. You can also shop online if you have a computer. You will need to go to the following webpage found at http://www.rnzfb.org.nz/product Contact your orientation and mobility instructor for more information, as some items may have to be assessed correctly before you can purchase them. (For example, magnifiers will need to be tailored to each member as lighting conditions and eyesight conditions can vary greatly). Payment for the products and postage must be made upfront. Remember if you are ordering online, tick the box if you are a member to receive any relevant subsidies available on various products as not all products are subsidised. For those in the New Plymouth region, New Plymouth has its own mini equipment display in the office available to view between 9am and 12pm Monday to Friday. Please call Gaylene on 759 1169 to arrange to view these items.

Work and Income assistance through the Disability Allowance

Are you aware that you may be able to get assistance from WINZ (also known as Work and Income) if you have a disability such as blindness or even multiple disabilities? This could mean you may get assistance with payment for your guide dogs vet bills; paying a lawnmower person to mow your lawns; or renting a CCTV (a video magnifier) through the Pearson Fund. If you wish to seek assistance, you will need to make an appointment and take along documents relating to your specific situation. These may include things such as your bank account statement, identification and any other documents necessary (such as a spouses pay slip or your rates notice). Verifying these documents means that your personal situation can be correctly assessed and any available assistance can be offered (as long as you meet WINZ criteria).

There may be other options available to you depending on your circumstances and/or financial situation. For up to date information you can ring 0800 559 009 or visit the following web page about extra help available for a variety of benefit types. The link is https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/map/income-support/extra-help/ You can also drop into your local WINZ office to discuss how they may be able to help you, however phoning ahead for an appointment is advised. Applications for assistance should be made after you have exhausted all other avenues of funding (for example local trusts, local hospital boards, Workbridge or ACC etcetera). Each application will be assessed on its merits and you will be advised whether or not your application is successful.

Adaptive technology assistance

Are you aware that if you have a computer at home or work that you can get help from the RNZFB adaptive technologies help desk? They can be contacted by phone or email.
Their website link is as follows http://www.rnzfb.org.nz/about/member-services/adaptive-communications-and-technology For more information, please call 0800 24 33 33 and ask for the adaptive technology help desk or email AThelpdesk@rnzfb.org.nz

Audio description available on Freeview (and now also on) SKY TV

Are you aware that you can get audio description on your Freeview approved devices as well as your SKY decoder? For example TV's, PVR's (that is personal video recorders), set top boxes and satellite receivers. Audio described TV programmes are played on TV One, TV Two, TV One plus one and TV Two plus one. This feature also now includes SKY TV customers for all of their units. For more information on how to set it on your TV, SKY,  IGLOO or other freeview approved device please visit the following website http://able.co.nz/audio-description/how-to-access-audio-descriptions  Click on the following link to see the current list of audio described programme content http://able.co.nz/audio-description/audio-described-programme-listings  You may also need to consult your product's user manual for how to enable it on your device (if this has not already been enabled).