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The NZ Down Syndrome Association is a family/whanau driven organization.

VISION People with Down syndrome are valued and equal members of their community, fulfilling their goals.
MISSION To work alongside families, whānau and carers to support and empower people with Down syndrome to realise their potential and aspirations through all life stages and within all communities.
ESSENCE Accept, understand, connect.

The NZDSA prenatal position statement

Download (PDF 157 KB)


We would like to extend a huge thanks to Southern Stars for their continuous support in raising funds for the NZDSA. Their funding allows us to continue holding camps and workshops for people with Down Syndrome all over New Zealand.

Their funding allows us to:

  • Host our annual Youth Development Camp at Vaughan Park Retreat Centre and MERC, Long Bay, Auckland. This camp focuses on building self-esteem, gaining independence and confidence, as well as some activities like rock climbing, archery and abseiling.
  • Publish and distribute our quarterly journal called CHAT 21.

For all enquiries:
Email: or
Phone: 0800 693 724 press 1 or 2 or you can ring the Down Syndrome Fundraising Office 09 361 4515
All donations to be posted to the Down Syndrome Fundraising Office P O Box 8635, Symonds Street, Auckland,1150

We appreciate your support!

The NZDSA Governance and National Office staff are extremely shocked and deeply saddened by the events in Christchurch. Our hearts are with all the families, whānau and friends directly impacted by these events. Our thoughts are also with the wider Down syndrome community members who are dealing with the impact of this event.

At times like these we often wonder how we can help and a few ways could be to send messages of support, reach out to those needing support and to donate to one of the official funding sites who will be providing vital supports.

Kia kaha

All at the NZDSA

System Transformation

The Government of New Zealand is looking at making big changes to the disability support system. The Government has said it will plan the changes to the disability support system together with people with disabilities, their families and disability support services. The main purpose of the Disability System Transformation is to make Disability Services more accessible. Visit this page for regular updates on the Disability System Transformation. -

World Down Syndrome Day Celebrations 2019

Auckland - Buddy Walk - Sunday 17th March

On Sunday 17 March, hundreds of people will gather at Tahaki Reserve in Mt Eden to participate in Auckland Down Syndrome Association's 14th annual Buddy Walk. Buddy Walk is an event that promotes acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.

It is a 3.5 km walk in which anyone can participate without special training and will be followed by a Fun Fair and entertainment. It will include field and stage entertainment, face painters, clowns, live music, food stalls, raffles, great prizes and much much more. There will be a BBQ, cake stall and merchandise for sale.

Otago - Clip n Climb - Saturday 16th March

The Otago Down Syndrome Association is going to clip n climb in wanaka for wdsd. This is happening on the 16th of March from 11am till 2pm. We will be having a picnic lunch at the venue.

We hope to have heaps of fun climbing the rock walls.

Please RSVP by 8th March.

Canterbury - Fun and Games Afternoon - Saturday 23rd March

The CDSA are having a Fun and Games afternoon at the Rolleston College on Saturday 23rd March. More details to come. Keep an eye on the Canterbury Down Syndrome Association facebook page for any updates.


More details to come.

Palmerston North

More details to come.

World Down Syndrome Day 2018 – What we Bring to our Community

This year, the theme for World Down Syndrome Day was “What I bring to my community”. For this theme, we asked people with Down Syndrome all over the country what they bring to their communities and this is what they had to say.

Read below to find out how each region celebrated World Down Syndrome Day 2018!


On Sunday 18th March, Otago celebrated World Down Syndrome Day with a family fun day out at Bowline Dunedin. Families got to go bowling and food was supplied. Great way to celebrate a great day!


On Sunday 25th March, Wellington celebrated World Down Syndrome Day with a fun afternoon consisting of music and dancing, performances, parachutes and of course food!


On Sunday 25th March, Canterbury held a Zumba, bubbles and music afternoon to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. Attendees were even treated to a free real fruit ice cream!


On Wednesday 21st March, The Manawatu Down Syndrome Association celebrated World Down Syndrome Day with a special screening of the “Dear Health Professionals” video and some refreshments.


On Sunday 18th March, The ADSA held its annual Buddy Walk around Mt Eden. Attendees showed up in some fun costumes ready to celebrate!

NZDSA Patron

The Patron of the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association is the Governor-General, Her Excellency, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy.

Kōrero Mātauranga - let's talk about Education!

In February the Minister of Education, the Hon Chris Hipkins, announced details of the Government’s Education Work Programme, including an Education Summit to seek engagement from the broad range of stakeholders.

NZDSA representatives attended both the Auckland and Christchurch summits to share the experiences and thoughts of NZDSA members with the Ministry of Education.

Although the summit is finished, the NZDSA would still like to hear your thoughts and experiences of the Education system in New Zealand.

So please take 5 minutes to complete this short NZDSA survey

If you want to know more about the Summit follow this link Summit website

NZDSA National Awards 2018

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2018 NZDSA National Achievement Awards. A big thanks to Dame Patsy for presenting the awards.

Performer and TV Show host, Lily Harper

Powerlifting Champ and Artist, Josh Cooke

Leader / Advocate, Caroline Quick

A huge congratulations to Linda Te Kaat and Tania Grose for receiving the NZDSA’s Volunteer award, the Val Sturgess Memorial Trophy, for their valuable contribution to the Down Syndrome Community.

Disability Rights Commissioner Paul Gibson received a life membership for his support and advocacy for the Down Syndrome Community


NZDSA Self Determination and Self Advocacy Workshop

On the 1st Weekend of February 2018, the NZDSA held a Funshop on Self Determination and Self Advocacy for its Strive members and Self Advocacy group at Vaughan Park in Auckland. This workshop was a mixture of planning and practical work with attendees having to abseil, rock climb and do archery! It was amazing to see the determination and team work from them all to get the tasks done. It was a fabulous weekend with plenty achieved!

Strive Funshop 2017

From Thursday 13th July to Sunday 16th July, the NZDSA held its Strive Funshop. There were a number of topics covered on the workshop from Prenatal screening, to the new Disability Strategy, the rights of people with disabilities and much more. It was great to see each Strive member participating and sharing their opinions. They were all tired by the end of the weekend but all thoroughly enjoyed their time!

Great to have Paul Gibson, the Disability Rights Commissioner, and Erin and Dave from HRC come to hear our voices (Strive leadership group) on prenatal screening for Down Syndrome. It was awesome that Paul presented our Strive 5 years of service certificate also!

Our Strive members with Brian Coffey, the Director of Office Disability Issues. It was great to discuss the Disability Strategy with Brian at the Strive Workshop.

Dear Community 2017

The New Zealand Down Syndrome Association is pleased to present a video clip "Dear Community" to mark World Down Syndrome Day 2017. Please view this video and share with your family and friends to join us in celebrating World Down Syndrome Day by promoting awareness and creating more inclusive communities for everyone. #MyVoiceMyCommunity

2016 Funshops

A special thanks to Te Pou and Southern Stars for partnering with the NZDSA so that all the participants could attend the Key skills for Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination Workshops.

DSi World Down Syndrome Day 2017 Global Video Event

Down Syndrome International presents a global video journey promoting inclusion of people with Down syndrome. "My Voice, My Community" features videos of people with Down syndrome, among their friends and peers. They talk about how it is important for their voices to be heard, as equal citizens of their countries and they encourage their governments to listen to their concerns. This global video event is presented for World Down Syndrome Day, Tuesday 21 March 2017. #MyVoiceMyCommunity

PLEASE SHARE our PREVIEW VIDEO which features a clip from all 42 country videos. Visit our YOUTUBE CHANNEL PLAYLIST to view all 42 videos in full.

Attitude Series on Down Syndrome

We encourage you all to have a look at Attitudes Series on Down Syndrome. The series covers a number of different topics from raising a child with Down Syndrome, to adoption and highlights the diverse talents and abilities of people with Down syndrome! You can view the video here

Also take a look at this "Question time" Video. Question Time is another Attitude series where people with disabilities answer questions about their disabilities people have always wanted to know. In this video, Sarah, who has Down Syndrome responds and shares her thoughts. Watch the video here.

World Down Syndrome Day Celebrations 2017


On Sunday 19 March 2017, the ADSA held its 12th Annual Buddy Walk, which is a 3.5km walk around Mt Eden. This was followed by a family fun day with live entertainment, cake stalls, silent auctions, sausage sizzles, bouncy castles, rock climbing, clowns, bubbles and face painting.


On Saturday 18 March 2017, Wellington held it's World Down Syndrome Day celebration. There was a sponsored fun walk, certificates, raffles, sausage sizzle, games, dancing, children's entertainment, balloons and even a bouncy castle and bubbles!


On Saturday 18 March 2017, Dunedin held their World Down Syndrome Day celebration. It started off with a walk around the street lead by bag piper, followed by a magic show with Jay the Juggler and burgers and chips for lunch!


This year Canterbury Down Syndrome 'socked it to em' on WDSD. Families hooped, boxed, ran and jumped, with beautifully painted faces then relaxed, and chatted with tummies full of healthy delicious food. This year the Canterbury community supported World Down Syndrome day with sponsorship and donations, our sincere thanks to the following wonderful people who offered up their time and expertise to provide an afternoon of joy:

Rapid Relief Team Christchurch
Special Olympics
Play Ball
Right Know Health and Fitness
Andrea's Kitchen
Rotary Neighbourhood project
Christchurch City Council

NZDSA Charity Cycle Ride: Bluff to Cape Reinga, 2 100km, over 19 days

The NZDSA would like to express a huge "Thank You" to Stuart Bayne for his marathon cycle ride from Bluff to Cape Reinga in 18 days and also to all the donors and sponsors who raised over $11,000.

Ride for the Kids

The NZDSA would also like to express a huge "Thank you" to Danny Harrison, his team of organisers and supporters, sponsors and the many participants who supported us on the day and raised funds for our community. It was a great social event for our community.

NZDSA Telephone Fundraising Campaign

Southern Stars Charitable Trust has run a telephone appeal to raise funds on behalf of the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association. Thank you to Southern Stars and all the donors who supported this initiative.

T-Shirts for Sale

Auckland Down Syndrome Association (ADSA) are selling "Down Right Perfect" and "Buddy Walk NZ" T-shirts. Please email Christel at with the type of shirt you want, size and address you want it sent to. Stocks and sizes are limited, please be in quick to order. Click here to see the flyer.

NZDSA Birthday / Anniversary Calendar

The NZDSA is selling a perpetual birthday/anniversary calendar for keeping important dates. Only $15 per calendar + postage costs, please download the NZDSA Calendar order form.

Creating a Positive Hospital Experience Resource

The New Zealand Down Syndrome Association in collaboration with Geraldine Whatnell, has developed a resource that will empower individuals with Down syndrome, their families and healthcare professionals to create positive hospital experiences. This resource is suitable for people with Down syndrome, people who have intellectual /developmental disability, young children, educators and professionals.

The resource consists of a DVD and four booklets. The booklets are:

  1. Patient passport
  2. Having your Yearly Health Check
  3. Having your Blood Pressure Taken
  4. Going to the Dentist

To order a copy of the DVD please contact Linda te Kaat, National Administrator, For enquiries please phone 0800 693 724 ext 2. NZDSA members can order the resource at $10 to cover the cost of administration and postage. Non-members can order the resource at $20 including postage.

NZDSA Resources

To order a NZDSA resource, click here to download the NZDSA Resource Order Form. Send the completed order form and payment to Linda te Kaat, National Administrator, NZDSA, P O Box 4142, Auckland. all enquiries phone 0800 693 724 press 2 or email

  • "Living with Down Syndrome" book is a booklet providing information about Down syndrome. $5 including postage.
  • "Learn Through Play and Daily Routines" helps parents and caregivers to support their child's development through play and routines at home and in their community. NZDSA members who have a child six years of age or younger are entitled to one free copy.
  • "Turn the Page with Me" Resource demonstrates how parents can share books to support both their child's spoken language development as well as literacy skills. NZDSA members who have a child who is six years of age or younger are entitled to one free copy.
  • "Transition Process DVD to Daycare, Kindy or School" provides an overview of parents' and educators' perspectives on how to make the best transition to school. NZDSA members who have a child aged 3 - 6 are entitled to one free copy.
  • "Plan For the Future Resource" provides information on how to take positive steps from school into adult life. NZDSA members who have a child aged 14 - 30 are entitled to one free copy.
  • "Creating a Positive Hospital Experience" consists of a DVD and four booklets: Patient passport; Having your Yearly Health Check; Having your Blood Pressure Taken; Going to the Dentist. $10 for NZDSA members.
  • "Dress 2 Impress" shows how to select the right clothes for the right purposes. Contains a DVD and a resource booklet. Free to NZDSA members.

2015 NZDSA National Awards

Left to Right: Christel van Baalen, Andrew Doehring, Maria Bonzon, Ben Reid

Congratulations to Christel van Baalen, winner of the Val Sturgess Memorial Trophy, NZDSA National Volunteer Award for 2015.

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2015 NZDSA National Achievement Awards:

  • Andrew Doehring
  • Maria Bonzon
  • Ben Reid

Click here to see the previous recipients of the World Down Syndrome Day NZDSA National Achievement Awards 2007 - 2015.

Inaugural 2014 Val Sturgess Memorial Trophy, NZDSA National Volunteer Award

On Tuesday 18 March 2014, The Honourable Tariana Turia hosted the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association's 2014 World Down Syndrome Day celebrations and the presentation of the NZDSA National Achievement Awards at Parliament Buildings in Wellington. A new volunteer award was also presented. In the words of the Honourable Tariana Turia "The Val Sturgess Memorial Award is a fitting tribute to the life of a very special volunteer, a woman who to her last days was meticulous in her attention to detail, a passionate and dedicated advocate and a true champion for the community." Georgia Garrett accepted the award for 2014 in memory of Val Sturgess (her Grandma).

Click here to see the previous recipients of the Val Sturgess Memorial Trophy, NZDSA National Volunteer Award

Showcasing Our Achievers

Click here to read about Our Achievers. If you have would like to share your achievements on this website please contact, we would love to hear from you.

NZDSA Membership

Would you like to become a NZDSA Member? Becoming a member entitles you to receive the quarterly NZDSA Journal, resources and self-advocates have the opportunity to attend camps. For more information or to become a member email Linda at or phone 0800 NZDSAI (0800 693 724) or download and complete the NZDSA Membership Form here and return to NZDSA, P O Box 4142, Auckland. If you have previously been a member of NZDSA, please complete this form.

The NZDSA would like to update our membership database. Please download the 'NZDSA Membership Details' form, complete all fields and return by post to NZDSA, P O Box 4142, Shortland St, Auckland 1140, Email Thank you!

NZDSA Facebook Page

You can "like" the NZDSA on Facebook Please remember to tick 'get notifications' so you stay connected.

Ministry of Education Inclusive Education website

The Ministry of Education's website on inclusive education, provides New Zealand educators with practical strategies, suggestions and resources to support learners with diverse needs. It includes a section specifically on students with Down syndrome. You can read more by clicking here. The guide "Down syndrome - A resource for educators" has been printed and is available for ordering from the Ministry of Education Customer Services, free phone 0800 660 662, fax 0800 660 663 or email

Updated government Guide for Carers

The updated Guide for Carers is now available online and as a hardcopy booklet. Attached is an electronic version for you to view.

It offers practical help for whanau, aiga and carers who assist family members and friends who need help with everyday living because of a health condition, disability or injury. They can be downloaded from this page.

Carers NZ

Carers NZ exists to support our country's family, whanau, and aiga carers. Click here to visit the Carers NZ website. The Facebook page can be found at

Click here to find the Young Carers NZ Facebook page. It helps young carers connect and stay informed. The Facebook page can be found at

21 March - World Down Syndrome Day

Down Syndrome International has officially designated 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day. The date was chosen to signify the uniqueness of Down syndrome in the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome and is used synonymously with Down syndrome, hence the date 21/03.

What is T4T?
T4T is a catchy title for a concept which is centred on tea parties. Tea 4 Trisomy 21 refers to the third copy of chromosome 21and the date of World Down Syndrome Day. T4T parties will be an opportunity to raise awareness of Down syndrome in the community.

Click to enlarge

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD)

If you are interested in hosting a T4T event in your region, please register your interest so that we can send you a quick guide information pack.

Please contact Zandra 0800 693 724 or

The New Zealand Down Syndrome Association thanks Pub Charity for their support.