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Token Cripple

March 11, 2019

When respectful, politically correct adults ask what the title of this column is, I have begun to expect the same reaction: raised eyebrows, followed by an uncomfortable “oh!” This reaction had me doubting myself—was the use of the word “cripple” really just too shocking and off-putting to have as the title of a column which […]

February 25, 2019

I was nine years old when I made my best friend promise she would never treat me differently, even if I was one day in a wheelchair. I was 13 years old when a mother at school camp told me that I shouldn’t have bothered to attempt a physical activity—though I had been unable to […]

October 16, 2017

While I was interested in the return of the Special Votes I was disappointed by the result. And while openly left wing and a Green Party member, my disappointment was not so much partisan as it was to do with being disabled. The final vote count saw Mojo Mathers lose her seat in Parliament. Mojo […]

September 18, 2017

I have written before about the representation of disability on screen and stage. Often the question that arises for me is: who are these stories for? Often the stories we tell about disability are aimed at people who do not live with disability. British actor and comedian Francesca Martinez speaks about this brilliantly. She was […]

August 7, 2017

With an election on the horizon I’ve been pondering how to vote as a disabled person. For me, my vote, and in some sense my political voice, are very much informed by this  experience. Access to democracy is a difficult thing; it requires people to have access not only to the ballot box but also […]

July 24, 2017

End of Life Bill The right to die has recently been introduced by David Seymour’s proposed End of Life Bill. The issue of assisted dying has long been a contentious one for the disability community. I have heard compelling arguments from disabled people on both sides. For all these people and their non-disabled counterparts, the […]

June 6, 2017

Negotiations between E tū Union and the government have brought about a significant change for workers in the care sector. Effective from July 1, care and support staff will receive a pay increase of $3–7 per hour. This is huge in acknowledging the importance of an historically unvalued profession, work which, to people like me, […]

May 22, 2017

I am fourteen or so lying on a table for an x-ray. This is a familiar prone position, I lie and look up at the machine and breathe out, wait for the gentle click, the light that makes me feel like I am being photocopied. I notice the body of the machine has been decorated […]

May 8, 2017

I am generally wary of giving language too much power to define ourselves. Intersectional thinking is urgently needed for people to claim space. I shy away from the way it seems to have been adopted in popular use, turning every complex person into a list of nouns: Pākehā-cis-lesbian-crip-degree carrying-intersectional feminist. A list, rather than a […]