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

Welcome Wendy

VASS would like to extend a very warm welcome to Wendy Osmond our new Office Administrator. Prior to joining us Wendy worked for the Ministry of Justice as a Community and Programmes Senior Adviser, so is looking forward to transferring some of the skills she learnt there into her new role - as well as gaining new ones. She is also looking forward to interacting with our members and learning more about the Disability Sector. Away from work Wendy enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter as well as gardening and travelling.

Avalon benefits from Bank's goodwill

The main hall at Avalon in the Bay of Plenty is looking all the more brighter thanks to a helping hand from the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ). Twelve members of the BNZ, led by Tauranga senior partner Shaun Burney, rocked up to the not for profit organisation earlier this month to paint the hall in preparation for unique arts works, completed by members, which will complement the fresh new look. Avalon missed out on the BNZ’s ‘Closed for Good’ campaign which allows employees to work on community projects for a day.

Shaun said they were happy to be able to follow up on the project, because they had really wanted to do it the first time round, but just had too much on their plate. Avalon was only too happy to oblige!

Avalon general manager Leslie Wallace says “We rely on volunteers to assist us in the work we do to serve disabled people in the Bay of Plenty. There is always more work to be done than can be carried out by our staff. We could not have undertaken this work on our own and the work of the BNZ volunteers is hugely appreciated.”

It also created an opportunity for members of the community to interact with disabled people, Leslie says. "Everyone had such a great day and we are thrilled with the new look of the hall.  Our artists have already commenced work on pieces to hang in the hall."

New Zealand's first TriAbility a great success

New Zealand’s first triathlon catering for all-abilities including those with various intellectual, physical and sensory needs, was run by the Hutt Valley Disabled Resources Trust (HVDRT) earlier this month and was a great way to bring athletes of all ages and levels together.

The TriAbility triathletes really exhibited their sense of pride at accomplishing one of the two race distances available, epitomising the tag-line on their event t-shirt that declared they had ‘Nailed it!’

HVDRT Triability Project Manager Charlie Holland says the only real concern she had on the day was the threat of Tropical Cyclone Lusi making an appearance. “Fortunately though all we received were mild temperatures and a little wind – perfect for cycling. Everything went according to plan and the feedback we have received so far has only been positive.”

Together with a good team of supporters and volunteers nothing beats that smile of accomplishment on a participant’s face when they either achieve or surpass their own expectations and we are so proud of everyone who got out there and did it.”

Due to the success of this year’s event, planning for the next one is already in the works and the team at HVDRT believe that with their latest experience and a lot of great feedback they are confident that the 2015 TriAbility will be even bigger and just as inclusive.

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 People

The sky's the limit for Conan Kirk

Free falling out of a plane at 12,000 feet isn’t everybody’s idea of fun, but for Hutt Valley man Conan Kirk it will be a dream come true.

Not only because it has been a long-held dream of his, but also because it will be an especially impressive feat as Conan has Spina Bifida, and is a wheelchair user.


Our Members

Lifestyle Transitionz - helping you pave the way to a brighter future

Looking for some direction? Stuck at a crossroads? Well Hamilton based social enterprise Lifestyle Transitionz (set-up by Interactionz) may be just the thing to help you get back on track.

Whether you’re an individual looking to reach some personal or professional goals or an organisation aiming to guide your company in a new direction, Lifestyle Transitionz can make this a reality through its interactive goal-setting tools called PATH and MAP.


Our Community

Strengthening Community Links through Sport

Thanks to its specialised Maori Sports Programme, The Vanessa Lowndes Centre in Gisborne is forging healthy new relationships between the community and Maori with disabilities.

The programme, which is now in its fourth year, works by enabling its participants to take part in community sport through the sporting partnerships the Centre has created, with a range of sports on offer including: traditional Maori games, swimming, basketball, softball, gym, hiking, Zumba and CrossFit.


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