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Source: Housing New Zealand Corporation

Our community group housing partners have been supporting people “to have their own choices, their owns rights, to make their own decisions”.

It was her time working as a bus driver that gave Dianne the motivation to work with those who need the support of others.

On her regular routes around north Christchurch and Canterbury, disabled passengers would tell her about stringent rules they had to follow, specific things they had to eat or certain things they had to do.

“To me that sounded really wrong. I went and interviewed for NZCare Disability and for me it was very much about what they believed in. I didn’t want to work with a company that thought some of these things were ok.”

For that reason, Dianne was delighted to begin with a company that gave her the opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of the people she worked with. Ten years later, and with a team managing 15 homes, the Specialist Manager is still doing it.

“I wanted the people we support to have their own choices, their own rights, to make their own decisions. Letting them do that really quickly brought their behaviour down from being pretty full-on and pretty anxious to everyone being really mellow, knowing how they fit in and giving them opportunities to live full lives.”

Dianne and her team now run things like Easter egg hunts at their Housing New Zealand Community Group Housing (CGH) properties, and there are Christmas celebrations and regular trips with staff and clients – recently the group took 59 of the people it supports on a trip to Hanmer Springs.

Dianne has been a pleasure to work with on the Housing New Zealand side of things as well, says her CGH Project Manager Vivienne.

“Dianne goes above and beyond to make sure we’re always on the same page.”

“She’s an amazing person to work with, always taking my calls – no matter what time – and you can see she really takes the time to get to know each resident she works with.

“You can see she is very obviously passionate about the work she does.”

That was part of the method behind Dianne’s philosophy for working with people who have disabilities. By planning trips where they get to do the things they love, she and colleagues get to know them better and can therefore better support them.

As a show of the gratitude Vivienne has for Dianne’s efforts, she recently planned a trip out to one of the properties with a surprise gift basket to say thanks.

NZCare Disability’s Dianne chats with CGH Project Manager Vivienne.