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Introducing the Hāpai Access Card

Wednesday, November 11, 2020   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: disabilities, accessibility

The Christchurch City Council has run the KiwiAble Card for almost 20 years. The scheme was started as a pilot programme with the aim of “getting more people with a disability involved in sport, recreation and leisure by breaking down barriers to participation” through providing a discount at participating businesses, which included all CCC’s parks and recreation organisations. It was always intended that the scheme be migrated to the community, but in the twenty years to date no alternative body was found to run it.

A new card will be launched in New Zealand on Tuesday 17th November 2020, with the aim of improving accessibility for people with a disability. The Hāpai Access Card is based on one already established in the UK, and provides a way in which:

  • people with a disability can simply communicate to businesses the barriers that they face as customers, and
  • businesses can provide a reasonable response to either lowering, or removing those barriers - such as a discount just like with the KiwiAble Card.

The Hāpai Access Card is a nationwide scheme, but is being launched first in Canterbury. It is also an international scheme with the card being accepted in the UK, and in the future Germany with other European countries to follow.

The Hāpai Access Card will cost NZ$30 for three years - which is in line with the yearly rate of the Mobility Parking Scheme. Provision has been made for those who’s financial circumstances mean that the card is not affordable. Card holders are expected to recoup the cost many times over due to the larger number of businesses that are part of this scheme. Feedback in the UK shows the level of savings vary from NZ$200 to NZ$2000 over the three years.

The Hāpai Access Card offers superior benefits to people with disabilities, so the elected members of the Council voted that the KiwiAble Card scheme will be sunset, and existing card members and businesses be encouraged to join the Hāpai Access Card.

Find out more about the new Hāpai Access Card.

What the change means to existing KiwiAble Card holders

Firstly, the KiwiAble Card will continue to be recognised by CCC’s facilities and participating businesses. What changes with the Hāpai Access Card is that there will be a larger number of businesses in that scheme and those businesses will have committed to working to remove the barriers faced by people with a disability.

Secondly, no new membership applications will be accepted for the KiwiAble Card, and neither will cards be renewed. Existing applications have been passed to the Hāpai Access Card team and they will be in communication with the applicants about getting a Hāpai Access Card. All requests for renewal will be automatically directed to the Hāpai Access Card website.

Thirdly, the new card will cost NZ$30 for 3 years. Data gathered from current card holders in the UK shows that the savings that can be made far exceed the initial cost of the card. CCC is making a grant available to the Hāpai Access Card for the provision of a number of free cards - in recognition of some applicants finding it unaffordable. In addition, businesses and corporations are being approached to sponsor cards for their customers and for people with a disability in the community.

Differences in the Hāpai Access card application process

The application process is more extensive than the KiwiAble Card because each Hāpai Access Card shows the particular barriers that the card holder has.

KiwiAble Card holders do not have to provide proof that they are disabled - they just need to state that they have the card and provide the reference number. However, all applicants are required to provide evidence that justifies the inclusion of a particular barrier symbol.  This can be done in one of three ways:

  1. By getting a doctor to complete the “additional evidence” form that is available for download on the website.  The doctor may make a charge for doing this, but some will do it as part of a standard visit.
  2. By getting the NGO that supports the applicant to complete the  “additional evidence” form.  The NGO will need to be registered with the Hāpai Access Card, the criteria being that the NGO is able to make to make an informed view on which barrier symbols are appropriate, based on their experience of applicants
  3. MSD/ACC can be approached to complete the “additional evidence” form, or provide a letter of support which states which barriers apply.

Applicants can contact the Hāpai Access Card team if they are unable to apply by one of the three methods or for assistance in applying (cards[at]

Healthy Christchurch Champions

  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ngai Tahu
  • NZ Police
  • Pegasus Health
  • University of Otago, Christchurch