NZDSN Annual Conference 2018 – Update!

NZDSN Annual Conference 2018 – Update!

NZDSN Annual Conference 2018

Early bird registrations are now open for the NZDSN Annual Conference being held in Wellington on Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12 April 2018.  Whilst we have not finalized the full agenda for the conference, as Calls for Papers do not close until 23 February, we can assure you we have an exciting line up of keynote speakers already confirmed.

We are also in discussions with various Ministers and Government agencies to present at our conference.  As you can imagine, with the change of Government, the settling in period for new Ministers and Cabinet positions has created some delays in our being able to announce the speakers for the conference.

For the conference, we have negotiated exclusive rates for accommodation with two hotels – both located close to the hotel and with (limited numbers) accessible rooms.

We are also hosting a Speaker Breakfast (with our speaker yet to be announced, but it will be well worth attending) and offering our delegates the opportunity to mix and mingle at the pre-conference drinks on the Tuesday evening and over dinner on the Wednesday evening.  Details of this are on the website.

In previous years, we have noticed a drop off in attendance from 3.00pm with delegates preferring to catch early flights home or complete work in Wellington city.  For the 2018 conference, our timetable will start at 8.30am on Wednesday 11 April and close at 3.30pm on Thursday 12 April.  We respectfully ask that all our delegates remain for the entirety of the conference.

We also endeavor to accommodate for any special requirements including dietary, access, interpreters, etc.  That said, it is difficult to cater for these requirements unless we are informed at the time of registration.   Please ensure you complete all necessary details if you have any special requirements. We note that support people attend the conference for free – these people MUST be registered (names can be changed at a later date if required).

The will be a Leadership Forum held on Friday 13 April (immediately after the conference) in Wellington – details to be announced.  If you are staying on for this event, please ensure you book your hotel at the time of registering for the NZDSN Conference.

If you are interested in a sponsorship package or exhibition space, please contact our Event Manager, Libby Carson by email or phone – 027 2693939

We are really excited about next year’s conference and want to make it our best yet!

To register, please click here.

Call for Papers

Please click here to view all information regarding the call for papers for the NZDSN Annual Conference 2018.

The NZDSN Annual Conference will be held at Te Papa in Wellington on Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12 April 2018.  The Conference Theme has now been agreed by the NZDSN Conference Committee and Work Streams have been set.

The 2018 conference theme is: Making Change Real

In keeping with the conference theme: “Making Change Real!” we are keen to receive papers that demonstrate how new thinking and innovations have been embedded as everyday practice – and how this is being sustained and led. We are also keen to encourage papers that involve active partnerships/co- presentations with people being supported and families. There will be five strands for the concurrent works streams and indicative topic.

Papers and presentations will be organised around the following five work streams:

Work Streams

CLICK HERE to submit your paper

Papers and presentations will be organised around the following five work streams:

WORKSTREAM ONE – Living Options

Examples of person centred approaches that offer personalised living arrangements; innovative staffing models;  peer support accommodation/housing options; responses to challenging housing markets; generating neighbourhood/community supports; effective use of technology


Demonstrations of sustainable employment outcomes, particularly for people who experience the most significant barriers; customised approaches and job creation/carving; new employer engagement and marketing strategies; building employer confidence; micro enterprise/self-employment; research on costs and benefits;

WORKSTREAM THREE – Participation and Citizenship

Community development/community building; mobilising community; facilitating and sustaining natural supports; civic engagement and participation; connecting and matching interests/skills; centre based to facilitation based support

WORKSTREAM FOUR – Workforce Development

Initiatives and innovations that develop support workers and their managers with the values, knowledge and skills that anticipate the future direction of services – informed by the Enabling Good Lives Principles and System Transformation; new roles and staffing models

WORKSTREAM FIVE – Supporting Families/Whanau

Approaches that partner with families; empowering families/whanau; family governed/run services and supports.

CLICK HERE to submit your paper

We have a limited number of workstream spaces.  All workstreams will be 45 minutes in length (30 minutes for presentation, 10-15 minutes for a Q&A session).

Submissions for papers will close no later than 23 FEBRUARY 2018  for their review by the NZDSN Conference Committee.

Please note the following requirements carefully.  Note that submissions may not be accepted if all the relevant information is not provided with your response.


  • remain relevant to our conference theme
  • fall into one of the workstream titles as listed on the next page
  • are completed and returned using this online form only
  • all parts of the submission form must be completed
  • presentation synopses must be limited to 200 words
  • speaker biographies must be limited to 100 words


  • should be sent by email only to
  • will be treated in confidence and final decisions will be made by the NZDSN Conference

Conference Committee has the right to:

o          enter into correspondence directly with the applicant

o          refuse any submissions

o          review the conference programme at any time

All applications will be advised in writing of the NZDSN Conference Committee’s decision.


Keynotes, Breakfasts, Awards and Important Dates

Our 2018 conference continues with the theme of change and how we can embed new thinking and innovations as everyday practice. We have a full range of national and international keynote speakers to capture our imagination and challenge us to move in new and exciting directions

Speakers confirmed to date include:

Several key Ministers in our new Government have been approached about their participation

  • Sarah Shulman – CEO of Inwithforward, a Vancouver based social mission business that developed Kudoz. Think Airbnb for real world learning! Kudoz is a learning and participation platform that brokers people with disabilities to novel learning experiences in their community. It addresses the poverty of experiences, expectations and connections. Kudoz is disrupting the stagnation that leads to declining quality of life, greater service dependencies and rising costs. Dr. Sarah Schulman is InWithForward’s Founding Partner, where she facilitates a team of designers, social scientists, and community mobilizers to re-make social services from the ground-up.   Sarah holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Social Policy from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and a BA and MA from Stanford University.
  • Douglas Herd – Sydney, Australia. Dougie has held key roles in the campaign that led to the NDIS in Australia and subsequently a position as National Coordinator of NDIS engagement. Dougie will be sharing his insights around NDIS implementation and lessons learnt to date. Inside the NDIS – a disabled person’s perspective.  A key opportunity to learn from the Australian experience as we embark on our own system transformation here in New Zealand.
  • Lorna Sullivan – Brisbane Australia – and soon to be back in New Zealand! Lorna is well known in New Zealand from her extensive contributions through multiple roles in the sector across many years. More recently she has been Director of Disability Services at Uniting Care Community, an NGO of based in Brisbane. She will be sharing with us some of the insights gained as a provider engaging with the NDIS – inside the NDIS – a provider perspective.
  • Sylvana Mahmic – CEO of Plumtree, a family centred NGO for young children 0-8yrs with disability and their families from NSW, Australia. Plumtree has pioneered a number of innovations around peer and family leadership in early intervention including Plan and Do and Now and Next – award winning approaches to planning and support. Sylvana has particular expertise in a whole of family and community approach to early childhood intervention. Sylvana has served on over 15 reference and advisory groups including ministerial appointments. She is currently undertaking post graduate research on individualised support and funding. She has a son who has cerebral palsy and intellectual disability who has been utilising self-managed funding since 2009.
  • System Transformation – there will be a presentation on the latest developments
  • David Savage – Collaborative Leadership. An opportunity to assess your own leadership approach and readiness for change! An interactive plenary session.

More to come!

Speaker Breakfast – once again we will feature a high profile speaker at a standalone breakfast function.

NZDSN Awards We will also have our annual awards – more details soon!

Important Dates

  • 15 December – Early bird registration opens – DONE!!!!
  • 7 February – General registrations
  • 23 February – Conference papers submission deadline
  • 5 March – Final Conference Programme published
  • 12 March – NZDSN awards call for nominations

Click here for all the details

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