We interviewed Shane McInroe about his story. Shane reflected on his experiences leading up to Te Ara Tūpuna Rangatira and the message he took from Dr Bloomfield’s keynote.
Thank you for sharing your story, Shane. Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I have worked in the disability sector and am well connected in Christchurch and nationally. I have living experience of disability. I am currently not in paid employment.
What was it at Te Ara Tūpuna Rangatira Celebrating Leadership that provided opportunity for you to reflect on your story?
Prior to Te Ara Tūpuna Rangatira I was frequently contacted by disabled people regarding their concerns in a Covid-19 environment. People would contact me about their fears – and their interpretation of what they could and could not do. One person did not go to the supermarket for 6 days even though they needed groceries. They thought they were not allowed to go out of their home. I saw the waiting time for grocery online ordering was going to take 8 days before delivery! I was hearing about disabled people going to Emergency Departments with injuries, because they were left on their own to self-manage.
In what way did any key messages from Te Ara Tūpuna Celebrating Leadership help you reflect on these experiences?
I reflected on Dr Bloomfield’s comments from when I became overwhelmed in lockdown, as I barely got any sleep. Dr Bloomfield spoke of the importance of self-care. I realised during lockdown I was there for many other people, but I needed to just get outside and into the garden from time to time without feeling guilty about it. This gave me a break from hearing of the dark times people were experiencing. My biggest learning is not to be too overwhelmed, and Dr Bloomfield has encouraged self-care by sharing his words and actions in his talk.
As you are not in paid work at the moment, you speak passionately about the work you do as a non-paid supporter of disabled people. What inspires you to lead and support disabled people?
I look at the collective advocacy by us as disabled people – the strength of the collective group. For example, we were able to have the height lowered of the Tracer App QR codes in shops for people in wheelchairs to access.
One of my key passions is about “Easy Read” (information that uses words and pictures to present information in a way that’s easier to understand.) I am pleased to see some government departments using this in their documents and publications. We still have a way to go as a country.
Thank you, Shane, for your story and your ongoing commitment supporting disabled people in leading and supporting change. From our interview, we have learned about the benefits of Easy Read.
Here’s an example of Easy Read with Covid-19.