The Blind Foundation’s 125th Birthday Celebration

Disability Issues
Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Last night I attended the Blind Foundation’s 125th Birthday Celebration which was hosted by Their Excellencies – the Governor General of New Zealand Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Lady Janine Mateparae – at Government House in Wellington. Blind Foundation Ambassador, Bronagh Key, and Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Key, were also in attendance.

It was wonderful to see past and present members of the Blind Foundation and their supporters gather together to celebrate this milestone and reflect on the Blind Foundation’s achievements since 1890.  The Blind Foundation supports 11,700 Kiwis who are blind or have low vision to achieve their goals and live good lives.

One of the best known roles of the Blind Foundation is breeding and training guide dogs. Guide dogs are bred and then taken under the care of volunteers known as puppy walkers who provide developmental training and socialisation skills for the dogs. I couldn’t help but smile when I walked in and saw so many guide dogs supporting blind and low vision New Zealanders – most looked very relaxed as they napped on the floor during the speeches, some were a little more playful!

One of the speakers, Julie, recounted her first meeting with the Blind Foundation after being declared legally Blind. At that meeting, Julie was told: “There are two types of Blind people – those who see more and do less and those who do more and see less.” As time passed and Julie received more and more support from the Blind Foundation, she came to realise what that quote really meant. It was all about attitude – the more positive your attitude, the more you will achieve.