With New Zealand’s tourism industry set to thrive following COVID-19 restrictions, it’s never been more important for Bay of Plenty attractions, venues and activities to cater to people with disabilities.
About a quarter of New Zealand’s population lives with a disability, and finding places to go that are accessible can be a challenge for this diverse group.
Firstport has created the nationwide Accessible Day Out library to help people with disabilities find places that cater to their needs.
This innovative online tool provides reviews of venues and activities around New Zealand with a focus on their accessibility features.
Susan Evans tells her story of how accessibility features at her local pool made a huge difference to her.
Rotorua’s Rainbow Springs is one Bay of Plenty attraction submitted by Firstport users as catering to people with disabilities.
“The term ‘accessibility’ means something different to everyone,” Firstport’s Marketing Manager, Rhi Galpin, says.
“Some people require wheelchair ramps, while others need sensory-friendly sessions.
“The great thing about this library is that you can filter venues by your accessibility needs, not by someone else’s definition of accessibility.”
The Accessible Day Out library features more than 30 listings of venues and activities around New Zealand, as submitted by our users.
Because the reviews are submitted by people with disabilities, they provide an unbiased view of accessibility by people who understand the world of disability.
Businesses or venues can submit their own listings to the library with details of their accessibility features, which can then be reviewed by the community.
Kiwi at Rainbow Springs. Photo: Supplied
Helping people know where to go
Susan Evans, a below-knee amputee from Feilding, says having a library of accessible venues helps people find places that suit their needs.
“As a recent disabled person, it was quite hard to know where to start.
“Like when you’re wanting to go out and meet a friend at a café and you’ve not been out in a wheelchair before, or maybe you’re visiting at a new town, to know where might work sets it up to be a positive experience,” she says.
Susan nominated the Makino Aquatic Centre in Feilding for the library because the venue made it easy for her to get back into swimming.
“For me as an amputee, the key one for swimming is if I want to have a shower afterwards. If there’s not disabled change rooms and a way for me to get from the pool to them, that makes a huge difference.
“And the other thing that made a huge difference here as well was the staff, because they were more than willing to help out with anything and make sure it wasn’t a stressful exercise.”
How to use, build and share the Accessible Day Out library
We’ve designed the Accessible Day Out library to make it easy to find great accessible venues and share your experiences with your friends and family.
You can filter listings by their location, the type of activity or venue, and what accessibility features it has.
This makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for, rather than trawling through listings.
You can read reviews from the perspective of people with access needs who’ve been there and find out first-hand whether it meets your needs.
You can also help build the Accessible Day Out library by submitting reviews of places you’ve been. Just tell us about your visit and what accessible features were valuable to you, along with some photos.
Your reviews will help other people plan their ideal day out and promote venues that are working hard to make their spaces accessible.
You can check out reviews of places on the Accessible Day Out here: https://firstport.co.nz/resources-tools/accessible-places-to-go/
Find out more about Enable New Zealand by visiting www.enable.co.nz
For more information about the Accessible Day Out library contact Rhi Galpin, Communications & Marketing Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org