Conference in south

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    Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand national councillor Victor West (left), member Hannah Pascoe, secretary Carolyn Weston and board member and Southland branch chairwoman Andrea Courtney, all of Invercargill, at the Ascot Park Hotel ahead of the association's Guide Dog Forum and conference.

    CLEANING dog’s teeth and first aid for dogs are among the topics to be discussed at a Guide Dog Forum to be held in Invercargill this month.

    The Guide Dog Forum, organised by the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand (ABCNZ) – an organisation providing advocacy and peer support for the blind, visually-impaired and deaf-blind people – will be held at the Ascot Park Hotel on October 11 and 12.

    ABCNZ executive officer Rose Wilkinson said the forum would include a talk from the Invercargill City Council’s environmental health manager John Youngson and compliance team leader Elle Dickson on how the council provides for guide dog users, as well as talks from Waikiwi Vet Services director Catherine Watson about cleaning dogs’ teeth and first aid for dogs, Ms Wilkinson said.

    The forum would precede ABCNZ’s annual meeting and conference, also to be held at the hotel from October 13-15.

    Secretary and former ABCNZ president Carolyn Weston said the annual meeting and conference was “the only time where there’s a nationwide arena, where blind people [from throughout the country] can get together and discuss issues, so it’s quite important.”

    The meeting and conference would be the first held in Invercargill since the organisation was founded in 1945, she said.

    Mrs Weston said the theme of the ABCNZ meeting and conference would be “listening, connecting and engaging”, and on Saturday, October 14, former ABCNZ presidents (since 1993) Doug Johnston, Vaughan Dodd, Carolyn Weston and Clive Ransink and current president Jonathan Godfrey would speak on various theme-related topics, she said.

    Other guest speakers were young blind woman Aine Kelly-Costello, who would speak about blind youth and communication, and disability rights commissioner Paula Tesoriero, who would focus on human rights and legislation in regard to the blind or visually impaired, Mrs Weston said.

    Mrs Wilkinson said interested members of the public were welcome to attend the forum, but should contact ABCNZ first by emailing admin@abcnz.org.nz

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