Meri Kirihimete from the Cerebral Palsy Society

17 Dec 2021

Kia ora koutou katoa, and Meri Kirihimete, to all our members,   

The festive season is upon us, and the Cerebral Palsy Society board and staff would like to take a moment to wish you, your whānau and carers a very Meri Kirihimete (Merry Christmas). 
Here’s to good weather, great company, fun, laughter and special memories being made.  

Before we sign off for the year, we wanted to update you on a few recent developments 


After serving the on the Cerebral Palsy Society Board as Chair/President in the 2020-2021 term, Emma Lovett has decided to step back from this role.  

She will, however, remain on the board as an elected member. We thank Emma for her dedication, input and commitment to the Chair/President’s role, and we are grateful that she will carry on as part of the board so the Society continues to benefit from her knowledge and expertise.  

Board members Renata Kotua and Meg Smith have taken on the roles of Co-Chair/President. Please click on the link below to hear an update from Renata and Meg…..and keep an ear out for Renata’s baby daughter Martha who wanted to make sure you knew she was there too!



2021 sure has been an interesting year – it’s been another year of challenges. But amongst the challenges have been some highlights and achievements we are extremely proud of: 

E-Cards – In the middle of the year, our get Programme switched from being a paper-based voucher system to a digital e-card programme. The result is a much easier system for members and suppliers to use, and for staff to administer. We thank you for your patience while we worked through the initial teething problems. The programme is now running well, and it’s great to see so many members taking advantage of the funding opportunities the get Programme provides.  

New Partnerships – This year we are delighted to have signed two new Memorandums of Understanding (MoU). One with the New Zealand Cerebral Palsy Register, and the other with the Cerebral Palsy Clinical Network. We are very grateful for these new partnerships and look forward to seeing the relationships grow in 2022. 


Unfortunately, it’s been another year dramatically hit by Covid-19. We’ve supported members in various ways as they have struggled with the impact, and as they’ve overcome the challenges.  

The Covid-19 Information Hub on our website has lots of information about the virus, and the vaccine.  

But if there’s anything we’ve missed, or you have a question we haven’t answered, please send us an email so we can address this in the new year. 

Last month the board discussed how it could advocate for disabled children when it comes to getting priority access to the Covid-19 vaccination. 
As a result, board member Daniel Clay wrote to Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Disability Issues Minister Carmel Sepuloni urging them to speed up the whole process, emphasising that our kids are often immune compromised and need to be as safe as possible.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated on any progress.


We know that coffee groups are a highlight for many of our members, and it is with much disappointment that these gatherings were put on hold thanks to Covid-19 lockdowns this year. 

We are working to get these back up and running as soon as possible in the New Year. At the beginning of 2022 we will be reassessing how best to run coffee groups according to the Covid-19 Protection Framework, or Traffic Light System. 
We want to get coffee groups up and running again as soon as possible – but, for the sake of our members, we must do it safely.  

We will let you know in the New Year how coffee groups will operate – we can’t wait to see them running again.  


As you would have heard in Meg and Renata’s video, the board and staff made the difficult decision not to hold Christmas parties this year.  

The fact we went into lockdown right when planning should have begun; the added uncertainty of what Alert Level, or Traffic Light colour we would be in come early December; and because many of our parties draw large crowds that would have put us over the allowable gathering limits, we made the tough decision not to hold Christmas parties this year.  

As Renata said, “when we party, we do it big at the CP Society”. “We’re looking forward to coming back with a big bang next year.” 


In the past few months we have expanded the Cerebral Palsy Society team to include, pictured left to right: 
Melanie Louden – Communications Manager 
Kavita Topiwala – Accounts Administrator 
Kristina Arthur – Office Manager, who joined our team at the beginning of this week.  

Kristina trained as a geologist, did two research contracts overseas, before coming home and moving into an administrative role and working in web development in 2017.   
This is Kristina’s first role with a not-for-profit, and she’s looking forward to finding out what she can learn and where it will take her. 
Welcome aboard Kristina, we’re delighted to have you, Melanie and Kavita, on the team.  


The Paediatric Orthopaedic Department at Starship Child Health is looking for a Project and Relationship Manager – Cerebral Palsy Research and Innovation to join their fabulous team! 

This is the role Meg mentioned in the video above – it will focus on understanding the needs of the CP population from an equity, health, health service, and advocacy perspective.

If this role sounds like you, then apply today. Or if you know someone who would be a great fit for the role, please let them know.  


Our hours over the Christmas-New Year shutdown period mean the Society will be closed from the afternoon of Thursday, December 23, 2021. 
If you have any membership enquiries, or queries about your get Programme e-card, please send us an email or call the Society on 0800 503 603 before we close for the year.  
Staff will gradually return to work from Monday, January 10, 2022 
All enquiries that come in while we are on leave will be actioned once we are back at work.   

  • If you have an emergency during this time, please call 111. 
  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms, call the dedicated COVID-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453. 
  • For any other health concerns, you can call the general Healthline number 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0800 611 116. 

The Cerebral Palsy Society board and staff wish you all a happy and safe summer holiday. We’re all looking forward to 2022 and hoping for a year of ….normality.  

Meri Kirihimete,  
The Cerebral Palsy Society board and staff