Are you a member of Polio NZ Incorporated? 

The Board encourage polio survivors, whanau and others supporting us to join so our collective voice can be stronger.  Visit the relevant page on this website to download a membership form. 

The AGM is in Wellington's Kingsgate Hotel, Wednesday 21st October at 9.30 am.  Come along and hear Board Members account of the 2014/15 year and what is proposed for the coming year. 

Nominations for Office Holders and Board Members close 'at 5 pm on the day one week before the Annual General Meeting’. (Refer page 3 of the Constitution on this website for more information.)  Nomination forms can be requested from - the Board of Polio NZ Inc. encourage and welcome all inquiries.


Important Board Update Re: 'We're Still Here'

Dear Members of Polio NZ Inc.

We will be meeting with Members of Parliament inside Parliament at 6pm October 20th, so the Board have decided that having a gathering on the steps of Parliament the next day is not necessary or particularly useful this year.

We will be achieving a lot over the coming year and we will give the MPs time to determine their response to what we communicate when we meet with them.

What we will do instead is plan for a really good event on the steps of Parliament around World Polio Day 2016, and we will take the next year to get as much support as possible to make it a significant and memorable event.
Thanks to everyone who has been in contact with us to offer their encouragement and support, and we will be in touch again with plans for 2016.
Kind regards,
The Board of Polio NZ Inc.


Celebrating World Polio Day

World Polio Day in 24th October every year.  Polio NZ Inc. has planned the Annual General Meeting for the 21st of October in Wellington but on the 20th, will be celebrating World Polio Day early in the Houses of Parliament. Representatives of polio survivors will be joined by Rotary and CCS representatives also as they mingle with Members of Parliament and celebrate their intertwined histories.

This year has marked the 80th commemoration of the founding of CCS or as it was then known, the Crippled Children's Society.  The organisation was established largely by the efforts of Rotary in response to the plight of the many thousand of New Zealand families contending with the impacts of polio, particularly on their children. Rotary continued its engagement with CCS fund raising, providing outings and opportunities which would not have been possible for many of these families without their tireless efforts.  

Rotary International have also been at the spearhead of fund raising for the eradication of polio from the world, an objective that but for three countries, is almost achieved.  What a day of celebration that will be!

Polio NZ Inc. Board is working at raising the profile of the ongoing impacts of polio on New Zealand citizens. When the opportunity to meet for nibbles and drinks during the Parliamentary tea break arose, Board members were obviously very keen.  It may be that the number of MPs available on the night will not be great but regardless, it is to be a memorable occasion and one during which the interests of polio survivors will be heard in the halls of power!

Regrettably, each of the three participants groups are restricted to twenty representatives.  Polio NZ are already up to that number so we can take no further shows of interest in attending.  

Watch out for coverage of this event in our Newsletter in due course.  If you have any thoughts of celebrating World Polio Day in your area, please let the Secretary know at or by phoning 0800 4 POLIO or 0800 476 546.


Dear Financial Members of Polio NZ,

Notice is hereby given of the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of Polio New Zealand Incorporated, to be held at Kingsgate Hotel, 24 Hawkestone Street, Thorndon, Wellington on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at 9:30am.

All members welcome.


1. Welcome by the Chair, Barry Holland
2. Apologies
3. In Memory: - we remember departed members
4. Roll Call
5. Any Proxies: (presented to the Secretary on appropriately completed form)
6. Minutes for Confirmation of the 2014 AGM
7. Any Matters Arising
8. President’s Report (2014/15)
9. Financial Report to 30 June 2015
10. Membership Subscription
11. Election of Office Bearers:

Patron: David Duncan to be reconfirmed
President: Nomination received: Barry Holland
Vice President: Nomination received: Sue Griffin
Secretary: Nomination received: Jeannette Aldridge
Treasurer: Nomination received: Diane Mathews
Election of Board of Management - Minimum 2 - Maximum 6.
Nominations received: Penny Humphreys (Hawkes Bay), Judy Lawley (Auckland), Brian Robinson (Nelson), Susan Kerr (Marlborough), and Heather Hopson (Auckland).

12. Appointment of Auditor: Anne Hatch (New Plymouth)
13. Correspondence Received
14. Resolutions/Remits – To be with the Secretary before 9am on 19/10/15
a. At a Special General Meeting (SGM) of Polio NZ Inc. held at Houchen House, Hamilton on Monday 21 September 2015 a Rule Amendment was RESOLVED by members THAT the time period for holding the Annual General Meeting of Polio NZ Inc. be extended by one month by amending Clause 22.2 of the Constitution to omit the words “30 September” and inserting the words “31 October”
b. Motions proposing further amendments as discussed at the 2014 AGM will be presented at the 2015 AGM. Copies of draft motions for Clause 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5. 7.1, and 22.5 are available on request to the secretary.

15. Regional News and Special Projects
16. General Business – Items to be advised to the Secretary prior to AGM
a. Skills needed to support the implementation of the Strategic Plan.
Please request from the Secretary.
Please see in subsequent posting on this page brief introductions to the nominees for the Board 2015/2016.
Proxy Forms which you can use to vote on issues raised at the AGM if you are unable to attend in person, can be requested from the Secretary. The Proxy needs to be current financial member of Polio NZ Inc. who is attending the AGM.

Feedback Invitation:

Please note that the Board have a couple of questions they are interested in getting your input on. These are on the reverse of the Proxy Form. Even if you are not intending to use the Proxy, the Board would appreciate your response to these questions.

It has been an exciting and productive year for the Board of Polio New Zealand and our President’s Report at the AGM will give a full overview of what has been achieved and where we are heading.

One of the consequences of what has been achieved has been the realization that we need to ensure that our logo and our name fully reflect who we are now as an organisation and where we are going.

It must be recognised that while most of us are dealing with the effects of long-term disability as we are aging, the youngest people in New Zealand living with the effects of polio have come here from different countries and cultures.

Part of that consideration is the need to be recognised by health professionals and allied organisations not just here, but internationally. Our consideration includes recognizing the exceptional work, research, and publications that have come out of Polio Australia and the great
benefits derived from our close alignment with them. Polio Australia is hosting the international post-polio conference next year, and one of our Board members (Gordon Jackman) is on the Steering Committee for that conference.

Recognising that we are a bi-cultural / bi-lingual nation (and Maori were as affected by polio as every other community), it is proposed that the formal name of our organisation should be Polio New Zealand/Aotearoa Incorporated (or Polio Aotearoa/New Zealand Incorporated).

These issues have led to some energetic discussions and creative suggestions about our “brand recognition” and several proposals about our logo have been submitted to the Board for consideration. The most popular of these will be presented with the rationale for the design to
members at the AGM.

We hope that you will be able to join us at the AGM, but if you are unable to be there physically, we hope you will participate by sending us your input either in writing, or via a voting Proxy.

If there are any matters that you feel have been overlooked and would like to bring to the Board’s attention, or if you have suggestions or skills to offer to help, please feel free to phone 0800 476 546 or write to; or PO Box 791, New Plymouth 4340. If you wish to receive copies of the President’s Report and/or the Financial Report prior to the AGM, please contact me.

Kind regards,
Jeannette Aldridge


Body, Mind and Soul Retreat

Held at Houchen House, Hamilton

Thursday 6th to 9th August  2015

The Retreat was a magnificent success.  Board Member Sue Griffin and helpers delivered a pampering package nicely mixing, soothing and stimulating and with plenty of opportunity for conviviality.   Hamilton’s Houchen House provided affordable and accessible accommodation while the catering team ensured wonderful food was always on offer.  Feedback from the 35 attendees was overwhelmingly positive and Sue has been so exhilarated by the experience she’s prepared to lead another next year as team leader.   She says:  “It was the attendees that made it so successful.  I feel everyone enjoyed themselves and I think it has made a step toward encouraging the smaller Support Groups that were represented.  Personally, I now know more people after the retreat than I have managed to meet at the last three conferences.  Some good suggestions were made for next time. Later in the year, I will be asking for suggestions for another retreat, no matter how audacious they (suggestions) may seem.”

Retreat presentations and activities were many and varied.  Examples included being treated to an inspirational talk by Barry de Geest, whose ‘brave little thalidomide boy’ media coverage matched the interest taken in the little polio battlers of our childhood.   Barry has never taken life lying down.  He makes customised wheelchairs and demonstrated his own heavily engineered hoist which ensures he can look the world in the eye!  Community Pharmacist Helen Morton’s presentation contained information essential for any pharmaceutical user and was voted the most interesting, followed by Jill Illingworth on pain relief and ‘tapping’ (EFT).   Helen Skedgwell from the Public Trust established that we were well above average when it comes to having wills and powers of attorney and Grant Pearse made some fine points in his discussion and demonstration of acupuncture.

At dinner one night we were serenaded by the Hamilton Male Voice Choir and the next by Cushla McCreesh who inspired her audience to enthusiastic participation.  Polio Australia was represented by President Dr John Tierney and their National Program Manager Mary-Ann Liethof.  Both spoke persuasively of past and planned events especially the 2016 International Conference, ‘Polio: Life Stage Matters’ to be held in Sydney.  Disability equipment provider Life Unlimited brought along the latest in folding electric wheelchairs and other gadgetry.  There was bonsai gardening for people with mobility restrictions and an introduction to the mysteries of Facebook.  Early risers could attend tai chi or meditate at the Houchen House labyrinth.  Julie Hancox talked about her work with Assistance Dogs and shoe repairer and retailers Merv and Toni Arnesen attracted attention with their demonstration of Korkers sandals.  

NZ First MP Barbara Stewart gave a sympathetic presentation and suggested that a petition to the Health Select Committee relating to polio survivors circumstances in New Zealand might be something the Board could consider.  Barbara along with Green MP Catherine Delahunty, will be co-hosting the 6pm Polio Day reception at Parliament on 20 October.   

This has been but a selection of presentations from the packed four day Retreat.  The feedback was such that this pilot in whatever form, will be repeated again perhaps in a location near you.

(With thanks to Newsletter Editor Rosemarie Smith)


2016 Australasia-Pacific Post-Polio Conference

‘Polio:  Life Stage Matters’

This conference is being hosted by Polio Australia in Sydney, 20 – 22 September 2016.  The Steering Committee has engaged an exciting line up of presenters who will be bringing the latest late effects of polio management information from around the world.  

For all the information you will need in deciding if this conference is for you, please follow this link:


QE Health Update

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


Polio NZ Inc.’s. President

Barry Holland was elected President of our Society at the Christchurch Jubilee Conference October 2014.   He is experienced in governance roles having served on a number of community groups including the Auckland Racing Club.  Barry also comes with fifty years’ experience in radio, television, marketing and advertising; skills which will be capitalized on as he leads the Board as media front man. 

He was three years old when he contracted polio and spent nine months in Auckland Hospital and another three in the Wilson Home.   Barry considers himself fortunate having been primarily affected in the one leg but nevertheless, being able to run and physically compete with his peers during school years.  Carolyn is his wife of 47 years and together they had three children. 

He began acknowledging some increased weakness or other such symptoms which were largely ‘annoying’ until into his 60’s, when he noticed he was falling more regularly and people would ask him if he was, ’managing ok’.  Now he is aware that his faithful and previously reliable left leg is beginning to complain about having worked twice as hard all these years and his gait is definitely changing.  ‘However, it just has to be managed’, Barry says, but he is determined that others within New Zealand should have awareness of late effect issues of polio, be supported in  coming to terms with these and their management, and that professionals who support the many thousands of polio survivors should also be better informed.

Since commencing in the role as President, Barry has overseen considerable progress inspired by the input of Members into Polio NZ Inc.’s Strategic Plan.  During the 2014 Christchurch Conference, workshops highlighted the areas of development Members felt strongly about.  In February the Board gathered in New Plymouth to pull these ideas into a framework for action.  One such development was the highly successful Mind Body and Soul Retreat held in August in Hamilton.  Based on an a model regularly run by the Polio Australia, Board Member Sue Griffin developed a comprehensive and well received 4 day pilot program which it is hoped will inspire further retreats in the future.  Work toward a Centre of Excellence for the holistic assessment and planning needs of polio survivors is also continuing at a pace as are other plans for increased publicity particularly as World Polio Day and the Annual General Meeting approach in October.  

Barry is particularly enthused by the increasingly close collaboration between Polio NZ and our Australian counterpart Polio Australia.  Board Members of both organizations have attended each other’s Retreats and Gordon Jackson is representing the Membership on the steering committee for the Australian-Pacific Post-Polio Conference to be held in Sydney, 20 – 22 September 2016.  A close and cooperative relationship is proving to be both supportive and highly educative as our Australian cousins’ share the progress and pit falls they have encountered.

Barry looks forward to welcoming Polio NZ Members to the upcoming Annual General Meeting to be held this year in Wellington on the 21 October and encourages personal contact from anyone with ideas on how the Board can be of increased service.



There have been recent up-dates to this website which will be of interest to you, so please take the time to familiarize yourself particularly with coming events detailed above.

  • Please note the postponement of the 'We're Still Here' event, Wednesday 21st October on the steps of Parliament.  For more information read Board update on this page.
  • The Nibbles and Drinks on Tuesday 20th October at Parliament should be very interesting as Members of Parliament, Polio NZ, Rotary and CCS acknowledge the past, the present and future of the impacts of polio here and around the world.
  • Polio NZ Inc.'s Annual General Meeting, Wednesday 21st October at which your Board will report on progress against the Strategic Plan, the Societies operating year and engage with the membership for guidance into the 2015 - 16 year.
  • The exciting international Sydney based conference, Polio: Life Stage Matters to which recognized authorities into many and various polio related subjects have been invited.  Hosted by Polio Australia and happening in September 2016, your Board is doing it's best to promote attendance from New Zealand professionals, polio survivors and interested others.  Following the link above to find out more. 
  • Take a look at the variety of items on Resources for Polios. More recent newsletters will be uploaded for you to access here shortly.

* 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 3 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 infohere

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.