Welcome to the New Zealand Federation of Vocational and Support Services (VASS)

We are a federation of 70 community organisations that support disabled people by helping them identify and fulfil their personal goals and aspirations, find work and participate in their communities.

Our goal is to ensure disabled people are working, participating and fulfilling their aspirations in inclusive communities.

We provide the following services for our members to help them achieve this:

  • Provide opportunities for peer support through meetings, seminars and a peer mentoring programme
  • Provide members with a joint voice to Government and fund holders
  • Provide members with information through our popular e-newsletter, as well as providing information about government policy, current research and issues

VASS October Forum and AGM

Thank you to all who attended our October Forum and AGM. We had a great couple of days with lots going on; including a name change to:

Inclusive NZ - A Network for Change

We also had some fantastic speakers who offered up pearls of wisdom. Please feel free to click on the links below to download their presentations.

Presentation 1: Enabling Good Lives: Reflection on Progress

Speakers: Gordon Boxall and Richard Buchanan (Enabling Good Lives)

Brief: Gordon and Richard reflect on the journey of Enabling Good Lives in Christchurch one year on.

Presentation 2: Social Enterprise and Enabling Good Lives: Aligning Kilmarnock with Enabling Good Lives

Speakers: Michelle Sharp (Kilmarnock Enterprises) and John Grant (Skillwise)

Brief: Michelle reflects on how adopting EGL Principles has benefited Kilmarnock Enterprises, while John reflects on some of the Micro/Social Enterprises he encountered during the UK Study trip he went on in June.

Presentation 3: Volunteer Management: Engaging Volunteers

Speaker: Vanisa Dhiru, CEO, (Volunteering NZ)

Brief: Vanisa offers insights into the changing face of volunteering and what it means for organisations in New Zealand. Vanisa also provided some Best Practice Volunteering Guidelines for organisations to download. Please click here to do so.

Presentation 4: Improving Employment Outcomes

Speaker: Mike Noonan (Coromandel Independent Living Trust)

Brief: Mike reflects on his recent stay in Washington State (USA) where he researched employment initiatives that were working well for disabled people there. Mike was able to complete this research thanks to a Winston Churchill Fellowship. His research report is due out later this year, which we will make available once it is.

Community is the Answer - A seminar with Margaret Wheatley

When: 21 November 2014, 9am - 3.30pm
James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel, 147 The Terrace, Wellington

"Community is the Answer" is a local extension of the international community development conference held in Glasgow in June.

The seminar will be facilitated by Margaret Wheatley who is an international writer, speaker and consultant on organisational behaviour and change. You can learn more about her at:

At the seminar participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Hear the stories of three diverse NZ communities who are using 'community led' approaches
  • Explore how we can grow community well-being
  • Interact and learn with a network of interested people and agencies

To register for this unique opportunity please download the registration form by clicking on the link below:

Community is the Answer Seminar registration form - PDF version

Community is the Answer Seminar registration form - Word version

Numbers are limited so please register early by sending your completed registration form to: JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING or by post.

Registrations close Friday 14 November.

Need a Capability Mentor?  Visit

One Fish Solutions (which was launched by VASS last year) is now a Ministry of Social Development approved Capability Mentor.  If you have received funding from the Capability Investment Resource we can assist you with your Capability Self-Assessment, developing a Capability Plan based on your assessment and implementation of your plan in the following areas:

  • Strategic Governance
  • Adaptive Leadership
  • Operational Management
  • Workforce Development
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Organisational Responsiveness
  • People Living with Disability

To find out more go to

News & Views

Our Members

Vision Employment Support Services - taking a holistic approach

When Michael O’Loughlin moved back to New Zealand from Australia following the death of his partner back in 2001, naturally he was feeling a bit down and out.

Despite this he was determined get his life back on track, with one of his main priorities being to return to the workforce.


Our Community

Pou Whakaaro - Collaboration with design school creates new community hub

Creating a multi-purpose Community Hub in the Eastern Bay of Plenty is one step closer thanks to a design collaboration between Pou Whakaaro and the Unitec School of Architecture.

Through the collaboration a detailed plan of the project has been designed and released with three potential sites being put forth in the proposal.


Our People

Daniel's award-winning results

When Avalon BOP Inc member Daniel Kitchen made the decision to work towards the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award - Bronze level, he was under no illusion it was going to take a lot of hard work.

But after completing six months volunteering at the SPCA, three months each of physical recreation at the BOP polytechnic gym and art at the Avalon Art room, along with one practice and adventurous journey, the hard work has paid off and Daniel is now the proud owner of the award.


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