Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand (DFNZ)
Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand (DFNZ) is a registered charitable trust formed in November 2006 to provide a voice for, and services to, the estimated one in ten New Zealanders with dyslexia as well as to those supporting them.
In building its track record as the country’s foremost lobby group on dyslexia, DFNZ has run a number of successful advocacy and action weeks. It has worked closely with the Ministry of Education to highlight the need for better processes and funding for NCEA exam accommodations. And it also conceived and hosted the 2016 Neurodisabilities Forum – a groundbreaking event which explored how neurodisabilities create vulnerability when they come into contact with the justice system It has also made numerous submissions to Parliamentary select committees and government bodies to advance the education and justice agendas.
Supporting children that think differently so that they are able to reach their full potential has been a major focus for the Trust. In 2004 and 2005, the Trust ran a $200,000 scholarship programme for families addressing dyslexia. That programme led to the formation in November 2006 of the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand (DFNZ), with the Trust as principal sponsor.
DFNZ’s mission is to increase the awareness, recognition, understanding and acceptance of dyslexia as an alternative way of thinking. DFNZ is focused on action-oriented activities to champion change for dyslexic individuals, and on providing information, tools and resources to inspire others to do the same.
It has built its reputation on successful advocacy and action, becoming the country’s foremost lobby group for dyslexia. From lobbying the Government for dyslexia to be officially recognised, achieved in 2007, through to working closely with the Government on the inclusive education agenda, the landscape of dyslexia has been fundamentally changed.
In 2008, it launched the revolutionary 4D programme for schools to provide guidance on positive changes for students with dyslexia and other learning differences.
DFNZ remains fully engaged with the education agenda. In parallel, it has activated a second agenda of youth justice and is backing proposals to raise the Youth Court age from its current level of 16 years.
Other highlights of Cookie Time Charitable Trust’s focus on thinking differently include the creation of the Dyslexia Discovery Exhibit in Christchurch. Opened in 2007, this multi-award winning outdoor gallery experience provides knowledge, inspiration and encouragement for those who think differently. Created in collaboration with Weta Workshop's Sir Richard Taylor, dyslexia educator and author Ron Davis, the family of late motorcycle designer John Britten and artists Mackenzie Thorpe and Paul Dibble, the exhibit is open to the public at 21 Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch.
In 2010, Cookie Time Charitable Trust sponsored Autism Appeal Week. In June 2011, it supported four students from Oturu School in Northland on a trip to the US to present results of a research project into saving honey bees. The research project stemmed from Oturu School’s radical approach to learning, encouraging students to explore real life issues in order to connect with learning in more meaningful ways.
4D | For Dyslexia – The new thinking paradigm
For those looking to support dyslexics, DFNZ has developed 4D, a framework of websites and programmes offering help and advice for families, schools and employers. The mantra of the 4D programme is ‘notice and adjust’ – notice the way you or people around you are affected by dyslexia, and adjust your teaching/learning/instructional or managerial techniques accordingly.
Dyslexia Discovery Exhibit
The Dyslexia Discovery Exhibit (DDE) is a world-class outdoor gallery experience open to the public at 21 Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch. Established in 2007, DDE is a Cookie Time Charitable Trust initiative in support of the work of the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand (DFNZ).
The DDE, designed to provide knowledge, inspiration and encouragement for dyslexics as well as the wider public, was created in collaboration with Sir Richard Taylor, Weta Workshop, Mackenzie Thorpe, Ron Davis, the Britten family, and Paul Dibble. The recipient of several prestigious New Zealand landscaping awards, DDE showcases the artistic, engineering, creative and business achievements of these contributors and offers a positive framework for dyslexic individuals and those supporting them - from teachers to parents, caregivers and friends.
A DIFFERENT WAY OF THINKING ABOUT SPONSORSHIP
In 2010, Cookie Time Charitable Trust won a Trademe auction for the naming rights for Autism Appeal Week, 1-7 June. This extract from Autism New Zealand’s newsletter after the auction tells the story behind the auction and Cookie Time Charitable Trust’s involvement.
In our last edition of Thinking Differently, we told you about our plan to auction the naming rights sponsorship for our annual appeal week on Trade Me. The auction was a huge success - for a number of reasons - and it was also thrilling to watch, as it generated more than 38,000 views and dozens of comments and questions throughout the 10 days that it was live.
For those of you who didn’t watch the close of the auction, it was a nail-biting finish in true Trademe fashion. Just three hours before the auction closed, the leading bidder was Calendar Girls, a Christchurch-based adult entertainment company.
The controversial bid certainly captured the attention of several other businesses in New Zealand, and over the last three hours of the auction the bids rose over $30,000 to close at $52,100. The winning bidder was the Cookie Time Charitable Trust.
The Cookie Time Charitable Trust (CTCT) was established in 2003 by brothers Guy Pope-Mayell and Michael Mayell, founders of the phenomenally successful New Zealand business Cookie Time. Anyone with a sweet tooth will be familiar with Cookie Time’s yummy products, especially their famous Christmas Cookies, which are sold specifically to raise money for the Trust.
“We started out by funding the establishment of eTime, a technology-rich and innovative education centre in Christchurch. Setting up eTime went really well, so we decided to get more serious about our community efforts and we came up with the idea of supporting New Zealand kids to find their talents,” says Michael.
“My nephew Shey has dyslexia – which, like autism, is not well supported by government and other funders in New Zealand. So we became more involved in the dyslexia community and this eventually led to setting up the Dyslexia Foundation, which CTCT has been supporting since its inception.”
So how did CTCT make the connection to Autism New Zealand? In lots of ways, it’s thanks to the bid that Calendar Girls put in on the Trademe auction. “I was in bed about 11:30 one night when my brother, Guy, called me, very excited. He said he’d just received an email that mentioned the TV3 article about the auction and he told me that it was perfect for CTCT. We decided then and there that we had to win the auction,” Michael says.
Here at Autism New Zealand, we also had an exciting few hours watching the auction as it closed. “Of course, we couldn’t have done it without the support of all the businesses that donated to the auction itself,” explains Alison Molloy, CEO of Autism New Zealand. “Our thanks and gratitude go to Y&R Advertising, Trademe, Mediaedge:cia, MetService, GEON, Newsletters Limited, Simply Food, Slingshot and Gibson Sheat for generously donating their products and services to enable the auction to happen.”
Kiwi kids saving honey bees
In June 2011, Cookie Time Charitable Trust provided sponsorship support for four Northland students on a very special mission to help save the honey bees. Known as the Bee Friendly Community Problem Solvers, the four girls from Oturu School in the far North won the New Zealand problem solving championships in November 2010 and competed in the Future Problem Solving Program world championships in the United States in June.
The Future Problem Solving organization, founded in 1974, is designed to develop the ability of young people globally to use critical, creative thinking to create positive futures. More than 2000 students took part in 2011 world championships. And the Oturu School team of Ayvran Mackie, Anna Leah Cassidy-Taylor, Manaaki Jakobs and Teina Snowden were the first Maori team to compete – thanks to local fundraising efforts and the support of Cookie Time Charitable Trust and Air New Zealand which donated flights.
The girls’ research project looked at an area of world significance – threats to the honey bee population. Read more about their work at www.beefriendlyproblemsolvers.weebly.com.
The success of their research project stems from Oturu School’s radical approach to learning. Finding that traditional classroom learning wasn’t working for its students, the school has encouraged students to tackle real life problems that affect their community so they can connect with learning in more meaningful ways – applied learning rather than academic. The school has beehives, chickens, vegetable and flower gardens and more than 200 fruit and nut trees.
This approach to learning has a unique fit with Cookie Time Charitable Trust. Through its sponsorship of Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand, the Trust is also involved in a nationwide 4D Schools programme which focuses on small changes to adjust the learning to fit the child. While originally conceived for dyslexic children, the programme embraces diversity and has huge relevance for all students who prefer to think and learn differently than the mainstream. Oturu School’s approach is a shining example of 4D in action.