01 Jul 2014
An ageing population and an increase in people living with a disability or impairment in New Zealand highlights the important role that Arts Access Aotearoa plays in improving access to arts activities and events, says its Executive Director, Richard Benge.
Findings in the New Zealand Disability Survey, released this week by Statistics New Zealand, show that one in four New Zealanders (24%* or 1.1 million people) were identified as disabled in 2013. This is up from 20% in 2001. www.stats.govt.nz
“These findings reinforce the work we’ve been with arts and cultural organisations and venues over the past four years to help them improve their access for disabled people,” Richard says.
“In that time, there have been many excellent initiatives up and down the country. For example, audio described theatre and opera for blind and vision impaired people; sign interpreted tours of galleries and museums; and music workshops and performances for people with learning disability.”
An estimated 14% of the New Zealand population has a physical impairment that limits their everyday activities. This is the most common impairment for adults and increases strongly with age: 49% of adults aged 65 or over are physically disabled, compared with 7% of adults aged less than 45 years.
Arts Access Aoteroa’s publication, Arts For All: increasing access to the arts for disabled people, acknowledges New Zealand’s ageing population. “Providing good access for everyone creates a welcoming space for older people, who often have more time to engage in the arts and want to become or continue to be loyal audience members.”
The Disability Survey is the most comprehensive source of information about disabled people in New Zealand. Along with the ageing population, it states, other factors that may account for the increase are people’s willingness to report their impairment as public perceptions of disability changes, and improvements to survey methodology.
Other findings show:
- 53% of all disabled people have more than one disability
- 11% of the population (484,000 people) have sensory impairments (hearing and vision loss) that assistive devices such as hearing aids and glasses do not eliminate
- 5% of the population (242,000 people) live with long-term limitations in their daily lives as a result of the effects of psychological and/or psychiatric impairments
- 2% of the population (84,000 people) have intellectual disability
- 8% of the population (358,000 people) reported other impairments: speaking, learning memory and developmental delay
Disability rates varied across the country, with the Auckland region reporting a lower-than-average rate (19%). Four regions – Taranaki, Northland, Bay of Plenty and Manawatu-Wanganui – have higher-than-average disability rates.
* All percentages quoted are estimates. Statistics New Zealand defines a disability as "an impairment that has a long-term, limiting effect on a person's ability to carry out day-to-day activities".
For more information please contact:
Iona McNaughton, Communications Manager, Arts Access Aotearoa
T: +64 4 802 4349
M: +64 21 799 059
Photo 2: Fortune Theatre patron Raeleen Smith reads the braille programme for “Gifted” Photo: Alan Dove.