19 September 2015
"Come and meet Barry"
Barry Holland, Polio NZ President visits the Waikato Support Group
Last Saturday the guest at the Waikato Support Group meeting was Barry
Holland. Although there were apologies from all around the Waikato, the
room was full with 20 locals and members from as far away as Thames and
• Barry began by sharing his polio story,
growing up and having an interest in sports although he was rarely
competitive. He joined Radio 1ZB, first as a technician, but then as a
broadcaster. He’s an extrovert and loves to be doing the talking. One
day trying to step up onto a platform, he found his polio leg wouldn’t
respond, which ushered him into the world of Post Polio Syndrome.
• Then Barry shared about Polio NZ
– he has been the President for a year now, and leads a Board of 7
other volunteers. Most of the funding comes from a Lotto Grant and
• Barry also mentioned the Duncan Fund
– from donations from the Duncan Family who started the Duncan Hospital
in the 1940’s and 50’s. This fund is to help polios with living needs
that are not easily funded by regular sources (DHB or MOH etc), like
scooter batteries, house ramps and mods, and other gadgets. There is
still plenty of money in the Fund and he encouraged members to apply
for a grant.
• This year POLIO NZ’s AGM will be held in Wellington at the Kingsgate Hotel on October 21st from 9.30am.
• Polio NZ to Parliament:
On the previous day 20th October, there will be a gathering at
Parliament in association with CCS Disability Action and Rotary. This
initiative is actually sponsored by the Green Party, and expecting at
least 15 MPs from various parties. There will be a “demonstration” of
“We’re still here” on the steps of Parliament followed by nibbles and
drinks to meet with the MPs.
• Future Alliances:
There is a need to grow synergies with other Neurological groups to get
more recognition for the needs of PPS. Barry detailed 3 areas that were
identified at last year’s AGM: A Centre of Excellence (Clinic
specialising in treating PPS), Polio Retreats, and Orthotics problems.
• Polio Clinics:
Two possible partners have been identified: Massey University who are
interested in working with polios, and Auckland Institute of Technology
who have a Stroke and Neuroscience course wanting to collect a database
of PPS information. QE Health in Rotorua is accessible by people in
some DHB areas but not others. (Waikato people can go to QE Health)
• Retreat: Congratulations to Sue and all the volunteers.
1. We could learn from the guest speakers
2. We could learn from each other
3. We will do it again next year!
• Orthotics: Polio
people’s need for orthotic devices is not well funded, nor is there the
wide range of devices that are available overseas. But Polios are not
very good at making their orthotic needs known. (“Nobody
listens.”“Given up trying.” “My old brace is still better than the new
one.”“New shoes don’t fit properly.”) A survey taken in Christchurch of
100 polios only produced 12 replies.
• Barry then talked about ongoing ways of promoting Polio NZ, through media:
Facebook: The Facebook page has brought a lot of visibility to current action in Polio NZ. www.facebook.com/groups/436756456489069
Website: The website is again being updated. www.polio.org.nz
newsletter has been downsized to 12 pages, and because of postal
costs, some members now receive their newsletter by e-mail.
• Waikato Website:
Can I remind you that we also have a website for our Waikato group,
where we post items of local news, and this report will appear there
shortly. Please keep that bookmarked and check it occasionally for
• Edith also runs a local polio facebook page: Polio Catchword. Please check this out too. www.facebook.com/poliocatchword
• Barry finished with Polio NZ’s Statement of Intent, which is worthwhile stating here to encourage us:
maximize independent functioning and wellbeing in New Zealand’s adult
and aging population of the long term neuro-musculoskeletal disabled.
establishing multi-disciplinary, appropriately skilled clinic(s)
offering holistic assessments, individualized programesa and reviews to
those experiencing aging and the effects of long term neuro-muscular
• Finally, we announced that our group would be applying for a grant to fund our stand at the Waikato Show next April, and on Monday the details arrived by e-mail and the grant application is under way.
Thank you to all who attended, and to those who were not able to make
it I trust these notes help you to feel as much a part of Polio NZ
Waikato Support Group.