Life is for Living 2005: 25 New Zealanders living with disability tell their stories
Gathering these stories
The people who tell the stories in this book were identified by service providers working in the disability sector. They were asked if they would like to participate in providing information to support a number of official publications produced by the Office for Disability Issues.
When the 25 interviews were completed the Office, recognising the strength of the collective voices in presenting a snapshot of living with impairment in New Zealand in 2005, decided to publish the interviews as a book of stories.
The stories were told to the two interviewers, Anne Brunt and Linda Chronis, in semi-structured person-to-person or telephone interviews, or in email interviews followed by telephone conversations.
The interviewers used a set of agreed questions as the initial framework for each interview, allowing the participants to tell their life story and reflect on how they participate in their community. The participants were invited to comment on how they perceived that others relate to people with impairment now, and how they would like individuals in the community to interact with people with impairment in the future. Some participants chose to discuss the New Zealand Disability Strategy and its implementation.
Participants come from the following selected areas in New Zealand: Tai Tokerau (Northland), Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch. The stories are either about, or told by, individuals aged from two to 89 years. The participants were selected so that their collective stories give insight into some personal experiences of living with a wide range of impairments.
Everyone welcomed the opportunity to tell their stories. Some people, after discussion with wider family, elected to present their story anonymously. All were uncertain why they had been selected, as they saw themselves as 'ordinary New Zealanders living everyday lives'. The participants - and the interviewers - are aware there are many more fascinating stories out there just waiting to be told.