This year I didn’t attend any leadership exchanges, but was lucky enough to attend the main IIMHL/IIDL leaders meeting in Sydney.

I found the information and presentations on the plight of the indigenous Aboriginal people in Australia quite alarming. They represent just 3 per cent of the population in their own country and have endured the harsh realities of colonialism. They have a programme called ‘closing the gaps’ but I believe the gap is more of a chasm if you look at their issues with poor health, alcohol abuse and the highest suicide rate in the world. I look forward to many successes to come from ‘closing the gaps’.

I enjoyed meeting with many leaders from both mental health and disability sectors around the world, including Canada and Ireland. 

Representing Te Pou on the international stage is always a beneficial experience, and we have already been approached by a Queensland based organisation who would like to collaborate with us around training for disabled people. 

Robyn and I got to present our Let’s get real: Disability resources and Kia Noho Rangatira Ai Tātou education programme at the marketplace “brag and steal” session. We received very high praise from IIDL coordinator and sector leader, Lorna Sullivan, who said Te Pou produces some of the best resources she has ever seen in the world.