Our History

CCS Disability Action has a long and proud history supporting disabled people and their family and whānau in New Zealand. Here are some of the key events that helped shape the course of our organisation of the past 80 plus years.

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  • 1916/24/25
  • 1930
  • 1935
  • 1935/36
  • 1936
  • 1937
  • 1940
  • 1941
  • 1948
  • 1954
  • 1958
  • 1962
  • 1968
  • 1973
  • 1974
  • 1976
  • 1977
  • 1981

Polio epidemic in New Zealand, seriously affecting the health of children.

Dr. Alexander Gillies first spoke to the Wellington Rotary Club about the needs of the 5000 'crippled' children in New Zealand.

  • Sir Alexander Gillies NZCCS President

After some lobbying, Rotary launched the New Zealand Crippled Children Society. 1069 'crippled' children were identified.

Mr Dadley left an estate worth £100,000 to provide a home for children with disabilities in Auckland.

Lord Nuffield gifted £10,000 to the new Society.

Mr and Mrs Wilson gifted their Takapuna home plus a £10,200 endowment for the use of ‘crippled children’.

First Annual General Meeting of NZCCS held in Wellington on 10 July – delegates from 17 branches attended.

  • Wilson Home
  • CCS Board Inaugrual Meeting 1935

Donation of $60,000 from Lord Nuffield and the gift of their home in Takapuna. £10,000 donation from Mr and Mrs Wilson.

The organisation advised that it was offering vocational training to people under the age of 21. Training for girls was given in the areas of dressmaking, millinery, shorthand and typing, domestic work and clerical work. Boys were given lathe-work, electrical work, accountancy, and wickerwork.

Acknowledgement that 'native' crippled children and their families needed some assistance.

Establishment of regular mobile orthopaedic clinics, particularly in rural areas.

Dr. Gray of the Mental Hospitals Department outlined his views in relation to the 'problem' of children with cerebral palsy. He felt "...the problem could more or less be overcome by the provision of additional accommodation at the Templeton Farm Colony...” In other words, hiding them away!

Dr. Earl Carlson visited New Zealand and wrote a very important report for the New Zealand government about services to people with cerebral palsy. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Rotorua was altered to make it suitable for 30 people with cerebral palsy to be 'admitted.' 

A visiting therapist service was established allowing staff to visit the homes of children with disabilities. 

Opening of the Pukeora Sanatorium "as a home for those young crippled men and women, who may, in the main, be considered incurable." At this time, throughout the country, there were over 7000 people of all ages receiving our services.

A survey conducted by the Auckland Branch confirmed the "incidence of certain crippling conditions, particularly talipes, among the Maori race."

Russell Kerse was appointed as the first Services Advisor for the Society. At that time, the only people working in the community were female social workers!

First issue of Access Magazine was produced and went nationwide.

The first 'Crippled Children Day' was held.

First accessible motel in Huarahi, Rotorua was opened and owned by CCS Disability Action.

Mobility parking scheme was launched.

It was the International Year of Disabled Persons and celebrations included New Zealand's first Telethon.

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