About DPA

We work on systemic change for the equity of disabled people

Disabled Persons Assembly NZ (DPA) is a not-for-profit pan-impairment Disabled People’s Organisation run by and for disabled people.

Since our formation in 1983, DPA has brought disabled people together and shaped our collective input in a way that drives system level change.

We recognise:

  • Māori as Tangata Whenua and Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand;
  • disabled people as experts on their own lives;
  • the Social Model of Disability as the guiding principle for interpreting disability and impairment;
  • the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as the basis for disabled people’s relationship with the State;
  • the New Zealand Disability Strategy as Government agencies’ guide on disability issues; and
  • the Enabling Good Lives Principles and Whāia Te Ao Mārama: Māori Disability Action Plan as avenues to disabled people gaining greater choice and control over their lives and supports.


    We drive systemic change through:

    Leadership: reflecting the collective voice of disabled people, locally, nationally and internationally

  • modelling disabled leadership;
  • as a member of the Disabled People’s Organisations (DPO) Coalition;
  • as a member of Disabled Peoples International;
  • as a member of the Pacific Disability Forum, a member of the International Disability Alliance; and
  • creating and supporting disabled-led initiatives such as Mahi Tika – Equity in Employment.

    Information and advice: informing and advising on policies impacting on the lives of disabled people

  • providing a channel for information between disabled people and government;
  • providing advice, commentary, and submissions to Parliament, government agencies, and local authorities;
    providing advice to businesses and non-government organisations; and
  • research.

    Advocacy: supporting disabled people to have a voice, including a collective voice, in society

  • listening to disabled people and identifying barriers to equity;
  • engaging both nationally and regionally with our members and the wider community - disabled people, whānau, allies and organisations;
  • building the capacity and capability of disabled people;
  • partnering with other organisations on projects and campaigns; and
  • engaging with the media.

    Monitoring: monitoring and giving feedback on existing laws, policies and practices about and relevant to disabled people

  • monitoring existing and proposed laws, policies and practices relevant to disabled people and whānau; and
  • supporting government, organisations, businesses and the public to recognise, understand and address barriers to equity.