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Ko koe, ko au, ko mātau, ko tātou, ngātahi he hāpori tātau.  

You, me, we, us, together we make a community.

Our whakatauki was gifted to the Local Area Coordination programme by Rena Savage, a good friend and strong advocate for inclusion. She passed away in March 2013 but her spirit remains with us as we continue this journey.

We know communities are enriched when everyone can contribute.


Inclusion Aotearoa was formed in 2010 to support New Zealand’s Ministry of Health in the implementation of the New Model for Supporting Disabled People that predated Emabling Good Lives.   This included setting up the innovative Local Area Coordination programme in the Bay of Plenty that promotes inclusion. This work concluded in 2014.

Prior to this work we (Ruth Gerzon and Lawrence Chok) had both been involved in grass roots work in the disability sector, supporting people to gain a voice and power, and to lead good lives, contributing to their communities.

Inclusion Aotearoa promoted

  • social inclusion

  • rangatiratanga – self-determination  and rights

  • the voice of disabled people and their families/whanau, so they may

    • share inspiring stories that support growth and encourage inclusion

    • be heard by people with the power to change policies​


Inclusion Aotearoa supported

The work for the Ministry of Health concluded in 2014, and we have continued our involvement in the disability and community sectors.

Lawrence Chok became part of the Enabling Good Lives advisory group and also set up One2One Aotearoa, a leading  provider of individualised and flexible supports to people with disability (tāngata whaikaha) and their family/whānau in Palmerston North and Manawatu. One2One is committed to work in partnership with each person with disability to plan and receive supports that meet their individual needs and preferences from people that they choose and trust. Click here to go to  the One2One website.

Ruth Gerzon worked from 2016 to 2022 with a flaxroots team in her home district of Whakatāne to set up a community development project run by and for seniors/pakeke, called Eastern Bay Villages: Te Kokoru Manaakitanga. Click here to visit the website.  She is now supporting the set up of a funeral guides collective. 


This website remains as it brings into one place the many resources from our work over decades, making some available for the first time on the web.   You will find here not only information on the support we gave to families, disabled people and services but also

  • inspiring stories – both written and video clips

  • video clips on people’s rights in residential services and resources on advocacy

  • writing on community building in disability sector, on inclusion, on Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Rena Savage 
Click on her photo to hear Rena and her mother, Reina, speak about her life. 

Inclusion Aotearoa was based in Aotearoa/New Zealand.


The people behind Inclusion Aotearoa were:

Lawrence Chok

0278 723968

Palmerston North

Aotearoa/New Zealand

Ruth Gerzon

0274 308149

Bay of Plenty

 Aotearoa/New Zealand

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