Honouring our Pioneers

  Phillipa Morrison became aware that polio survivors were experiencing changes in their condition which their physicians couldn’t explain. In 1987 she and 13 others attended a polio conference in St Louis.

 Napier 1989

 Joan, Mary, Pam, Patsy and Yvonne with polio people in Napier 1989

  As a result of that trip polios banded together and quietly formed support groups. The seeds of a support organisation were planted. GPs didn’t have anything to offer to the many polios presenting at their clinics. Polios began to share their experiences as they identified with what Americans call Post Polio Syndrome.

   In 1989 a constitution was drawn up and the Post Polio Support Society of NZ was incorporated, with Phillipa Morrison as the first President. In 1992 Denis Hogan became President with further developments to “the Society” during his 6 years of leadership. The Polio Logo came from a design by Gina Phipps and was introduced in 1997 and appeared on stationery and at the top of Polio News.

Masterton 1990 
Pam Owers, Patsy Bell, Joan Radburn and Denis Hogan en route to the 2nd Conference in Masterton in 1990

   Ray Wilson followed as president from 1998 to 2007, and he consolidated and advanced the Society. Ray and Dr Liz Falkner and others tirelessly lobbied for a Centre of Excellence for the treatment of PPS. They were thwarted at every turn. Medical specialist and the Government Health Department were very reluctant to recognise the unique situations polio survivors faced. Dr Liz did however negotiate with Dr Petrie to begin the 2-week treatment courses for polios in 1992 at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (later QE Health).
  These are only some of our early pioneers and their achievements. They passed the baton on to others as the decades proceeded. Their vision and effort provided a platform to support the needs of people and their families and health professionals.
  In recent times, Polio News changed to a folded magazine with colour centrefold in 2011, a comprehensive website emerged, the 0800 enquiry line is a vital link with the public, and a name change to Polio NZ Inc in 2012 brought our Society into the modern era.
We now have the challenge of how to take Polio NZ into the future. Most GPs still don’t understand the growing needs of people living with polio, and there are increasing problems with inadequate orthotic provision.
  As polios get older it is imperative that we don’t give up and say “what’s the use of trying” to improve the quality of life. This is our challenge.

QE Health Update

For details about the latest Polio services from QE Health, read this report from Edith Morris here

World Polio Day

Resignation of Edith Morris as President

June 2014
To all members of Polio NZ Inc:

It was with genuine regret that the officers and members of the Board of Management of Polio NZ received with immediate effect, the resignation of our President, Mrs Edith Morris.

Edith has served our Society most loyally for many years including nearly seven years as National President and she will be missed. We can but wish Edith and husband Noel our best wishes and sincere thanks for tasks very well done. - JB Munro

Barry Holland is now Acting Chairman until the election of officers at the October AGM.

Edith Morris

From Edith
On 18 June I asked the Board of Management to accept my resignation. I have enjoyed my role as President and count it an honour to have done so. My personal development and skills have been stretched over the years and I have flourished with the challenge of leading Polio NZ into a new level of professionalism. I owe much of that success to previous Board Members and to the untiring support of Noel my husband.

I am healthy and will retain my interest in Polio matters wherever I see a chance to further the cause of people with polio and their families, particularly at local level. I intend to take up writing again and look forward to continuing to be a wider voice that makes a difference.

I want to thank the Support Group Leaders for their encouragement to me over the years, and to the many members I have meet in my travels around the country.

I wish continued success and best regards to the family of Polio NZ Inc.

Edith Morris


There have been recent up-dates to this website which will be of interest to you, so please take the time to look through the various pages from the menu on the left.

  • The new AV Resources includes an array of video and sound recordings which you may find helpful to view on line.
  • Take a look at the variety of items on Resources for Polios, or read the latest newsletter here.

• The Duncan Fund has been a source of help to many members, for equipment, modifications and items that are not covered by normal funding services. Applications can be made to the Society by e-mail or post. More here


Beach picture


The late effects of Poliomyelitis

This is the web site of Polio NZ Inc. (Formerly Post Polio Support Society of NZ Inc)

It provides information and support for the members of the society and others who have post-polio syndrome.

If you know anyone who has had Polio, we are able to help them with information and support through our 23 Support Groups throughout New Zealand: 0800 416 546

Our Newsletter comes out 4 times a year. The latest issue is now on line.
Download in PDF format or read in Clickbook format online here 
Polio and Post Polio
Detailed descriptions of polio and post-polio syndrome, including a list of the symptoms of post polio and how to manage the syndrome.
More info here
Criteria for suspecting Post-Polio Syndrome and Late Effects of Polio
  • A prior episode of polio confirmed by medical history or obvious polio paralysis
  • Residual motor neuron loss
  • Years of functional stability after the acute illness
  • Gradual or abrupt onset of new weakness
  • Generalised fatigue leading to exhaustion, which may also have psychological effects

Polio Immunisation Statement 

The risk of polio epidemics re-occurring in New Zealand increases while immunisation remains below optimal levels. Polio is only a plane ride away. Are all your family members immunised? If not, the crippling paralysis of polio could once again be a reality. The only prevention is vaccination. Act now with free immunisation.

Polio NZ Inc endorses current immunisation campaigns to protect the population against outbreaks of polio.