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The D*List is for Disabled, Dazzling, Disruptive Dreamers who DGAF

About The D*List

The D*List is the home of disability culture in Aotearoa.

Our website is an online culture magazine that creates space for disabled people to tell our own stories through features, columns and news reporting. 

  • What is The D*List?

    Throughout 2021, Te Kāhui Tika Tangata - NZ Human Rights Commission and creative agency Curative undertook an in-depth co-design process (Project Mobilise) exploring the attitudes that currently exist towards disability across Aotearoa, building relationships with over 200 disabled and nondisabled people along the way.

    From that emerged The D*List, an independent and disability-led social change movement. We are reclaiming our space and narratives through authentic storytelling and community events that build relationships and solidarity.

    We created this space for you.

    You are welcome here. Every part of you.

    The parts that can sometimes feel too disabled. The parts that might not feel disabled enough.

    We ask nothing of you other than to simply exist as your full and unapologetic self.

Image description: Red Nicholson (wheelchair-user), Beth Awatere, Olivia Shivas (wheelchair-user) and Tania Bissett (wheelchair-user) smile towards with camera and post against a black background. Credit: Curative

  • D List Team
  • Our team 

    • Red Nicholson

      Executive Director

      Red Nicholson (he/him) is a long-suffering Warriors fan, recovering high school teacher, and proud disabled person. With a background in the education and creative sectors, Red’s work is driven by a vision for an equitable Aotearoa, underpinned by Te Tiriti, where all people are valued and resourced to live extraordinary lives. As Executive Director at The D*List, his role is to support our team to ensure that everything we do is aligned with our values, goals and aspirations. Red, his wife and his three children live in Tāmaki Makaurau.

    • Olivia Shivas

      Editor

      Olivia Shivas (she/her) has worked in the media industry for a decade, both in the disability sector and in the mainstream media. As Editor, her job is to write, commission and curate content for The D*List. Olivia has Malaysian and Scottish roots and lives with muscular dystrophy. She is passionate about authentic storytelling, bringing disability rights to life, perfecting her combos at boxing class and creating excellent gingerbread houses.

    • Tania Bissett

      Kaiārahi Hapori  |  Community Lead

      I te taha ō tōku pāpā,
      Ko Pihanga te maunga,
      Ko Tongariro te awa,
      Ko Hirangi te marae,
      Ko Ngāti Tūrangitukua te hapū,
      Ko Ngāti Tūwharetoa te iwi,
      Ko Taupo-Nui-A-Tia te Moana,
      Ko Te Arawa te waka,
      Ko Te Heu Heu te rangatira,
      Ko Rangataua-Rawhiti te whānau.


      I te taha ō tōku māmā
      Ko Whatitiri te maunga,
      Ko Waipao te awa,
      Ko Maungarongo-Whatiri-Poroti te marae,
      Ko Te Uri-ro-roi te hapū,
      Ko Ngā Puhi te iwi,
      Ko Whangārei-Terenga-Paroa te Moana,
      Ko Ngātokimatawhaorua te waka,
      Ko Nukutawhiti te rangatira,
      Ko Nathan rātou ko Akarana-Rewi ko Matthews Ko Davis te whānau. 


      Ko Tania Bissett tōku ingoa. 
      Nō Turangi me Poroti ahau. 
      E noho ana au kei Te Tai Tokerau. 
      He kaiārahi hapori ahau kei The D*List. 
      Mauri tū, Mauri Ora. 

      ---

      Tania (she/her/ia) hails from Te Tai Tokerau bringing a background of tech, youth work, community development and quality assurance within disability support service provision. As Kaiārahi Hapori she is the kaiwhatu (weaver) of he tāngata (people), tūrangawaewae (places) and meaningful mahi (projects). She is passionate about all things kaupapa Māori (especially the manaaki and kai!) while championing the aspirations, identities and experiences of people to ensure they remain at the heart of everything we do. 

    • Pelenakeke Brown

      Programme Director

      Pelenakeke Brown (she/her) is a disabled artist, consultant and The D*List Programme Director, whose role is to lead our community hui, events and experiences. Her whakapapa hails from the UK and Gataivai, Siutu in Samoa. She is committed to disability-led mahi and creating spaces for indigenous, disabled artists to gather, learn and share. Her work has been exhibited, published and performed internationally. The New York Times and Art in America have written about her work.

    • Beth Awatere

      Project Coodinator

      Beth Awatere (they/them) is a youth advocate completing their law degree at the University of Auckland. They keep The D*List's cogs turning with their organising, extensive excel spreadsheets and brewing the perfect cup of tea. Their whakapapa traces through Ngāti Porou, and their home marae is situated in Hawkes Bay. Beth's current AuDHD fixation is putting together miniature DIY houses and completing butterfly-themed paint by numbers.

Image Description: The words Motuhake and Whaikaha sit on blocks of red, white and black alongside a poutama pattern, and a tohuwhetū, streaking along the bottom leaving a trail of purple.

  • Screenshot 2023 06 20 At 9.48.45 PM
  • Honouring Te Tiriti

    Our co-design process in 2021 was led by a tāngata whaikaha leadership rōpū of disabled Māori leaders, supported by Ahi Kaa whānau at Te Kāhui Tika Tangata - NZ Human Rights Commission.

    Moving forward, for The D*List to serve and benefit tāngata whaikaha Māori, we are committed to honouring Te Tiriti and extending this awhi where appropriate to our Tangata Moana whānau.

    The values common to Māori and disabled people are explicit in Te Tiriti o Waitangi, making Te Tiriti a solid foundation to guide our mahi.

    We believe:
    • The most important connection between people is whakapapa.
    • Disabled Māori are Māori.
    • A Māori way of working is based on Māori values.
    • Disability culture has its own values too, and we need to incorporate those shared values.
    • Te Tiriti o Waitangi is the foundation for bicultural development - mandating the partnership between Māori and all other cultures - including disability culture.
    • Bi-cultural development is when two cultures make decisions to live together and work in partnership as much as possible. In Aotearoa, this means Māori as tāngata whenua will always be one of the partners.
    • "Māori should be able to live their lives as Māori" - Mason Durie.
      This is realised through supporting disabled Māori to gain access and be resourced to participate on an equal basis as others within their own whānau, hapū and iwi so they can live fully as Māori.
  • Funding 

    The D*List is a registered charitable trust (CC60975). We are delighted to have the support of a collective of philanthropic trusts, including:

    • Foundation North
    • JR Mckenzie Trust
    • Todd Foundation
    • Spectrum Foundation

    These organisations are providing us with the resources to bring our content, events and experiences to life; because we believe that change first starts with us. The conversations we have, the stories we tell, and the spaces we create for ourselves and each other. The D*List trustees are: Elizabeth Goodwin, Matt Frost, Eddy Royal, Donna McCaskill, Erin Gough and Dr Robbie Francis Watene.

    We will change how others see us, by changing the stories we tell about ourselves.