Ruth Gerzon

Areas of interest and expertise


For over 30 years I have worked to promote community development, inclusion and social justice, nationally, regionally and locally in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

As a Pākeha based in an area of the country with a high Maori population I have been especially interested in the the effects of colonisation and the role of Pākeha in giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, a document that speaks to all New Zealanders.

I have used writing, photography and video clips to promote the voices of disabled people with a learning disability and to communicate their rights. I supported the setting up of the national organisation of People First, and used community building approaches in the Bay of Plenty to reduce stigma and discrimination around mental illness.

I developed and facilitate short courses and workshops in community building in the disability sector, advocacy, and inclusion. All training includes a practicum component so new learning is immediately put into effect, immediately benefiting the people who use services.

Current work (2015-7)

  • I facilitate collaborative work among NGOs and government agencies, continue my work in the disability sector, facilitate training in services focused on community building,  and work directly with disabled people in a rest home environment on ways they can contribute to the wider community.

  • With my colleague, Tepora Emery, I have moved beyond the traditional “Treaty training” to develop a new workshop Towards Equity: Improving Outcomes for Maori. This supports services to examine the effects of colonisation on both the people they support and on the service itself, and  to consider how to mitigate these through the supports they provide.

  • Currently (2018) I am working  in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, with a group of seniors/kaumatua setting up a new community building organisation to alleviate isolation and vulnerability among seniors/kaumatua. This is called Eastern Bay Villages: Te Kokoru Manaakitanga.  To find out more visit

Click here for my curriculum vitae