Te Mahau Advisory for Young People with Disabilities

Our vision is an inclusive education system where all learners get an excellent education, and where they can progress and achieve their full potential.


What is the Advisory for Young People with Disabilities?

The Advisory for Young People with Disabilities is a way for us to ensure the voice and experience of disabled youth is considered in the design and delivery of the education system.

The advisory group is made up of 12 young people (18-26 years old) who have lived experience of disability.

The advisory meets in Wellington up to three times a year to:

  • provide advice on programmes, projects, and policies to Te Mahau staff and teams
  • share their insights, perspectives, and experiences in education.

Recruitment details 

How to apply 

There are two ways to apply:

  1. Young people can apply themselves.
  2. The young person’s whānau or teacher can refer/direct them to this opportunity.

To apply for AYPD, complete the online form(external link).

For questions, email youth.advisory@education.govt.nz

Application open from 8 – 26 of May 2023

The purpose of the advisory group

The purpose of AYPD is to:

  • provide a platform for staff and teams in Te Mahau to access the views, perspectives, and voices of young people with lived experiences of disability
  • give disabled youth the opportunity to advise Te Mahau on important matters that affect them in education
  • provide insights that can be integrated into the wider education system.

Meet the advisory group members

Catherine Pot

24, Wellington

photo of Catherine

Hi, my name is Catherine Pott. I am currently a PhD student at Victoria University of Wellington, where I have previously completed my Bachelors and bachelor's with Honours. I went straight from high school to university and have really enjoyed my studies. It means a lot to be selected as a representative on this advisory committee as it is not something I ever imagined myself doing. I hope that I will be able to make a meaningful contribution to the group. I really love being able to support others who are studying in the same areas as I am and are interested in continuing their education.

Amy Clements

23, Auckland

photo of Amy

Hi, my name is Amy Clements. I am 23 years of age, and I am based in Auckland. I have experienced a physical disability since childhood. I experience a central nervous system disorder that causes severe chronic pain and fatigue as well as mild muscle and joint weakness. As a result, I use a walking cane to mobilize. This caused me many difficulties during my primary and high school education. I am now a communications student at Massey University. I am grateful for an opportunity to be a member of this panel, and I am excited to be able to use my experiences as a disabled student to inform positive change. Issues I am particularly passionate about regarding education include a wider range testing accommodations for disabled students and more training for teachers surrounding the teaching disabled students. I am a passionate disability rights activist. My activism journey started on social media when I was a teen, and during my first few years of University I was privileged to publish over a dozen articles sharing my experiences growing up with a physical disability on a chronic illness and disability awareness website.

Jackson Ataaere

23, Auckland

photo of Jackson

Kia ora, I am Jackson Ataaere. I attended Oaklynn Special School. I started in 2004 and left in 2020. Being able to have input into the ever-evolving education system of our great nation makes me feel really honored. I hope what I have to offer will help disabled youth to have a better experience in education. I am passionate about discussing topics, be it political or societal issues. I really like art and creating digital and physical art.

Alix Gibson

19, Dunedin

photo of Alix

Hi, my name is Alix Gibson. I always loved learning and school, but I had a really hard time receiving accommodation that I needed. I struggled a lot due to chronic illness in high school. I'm now studying genetics and Neuroscience at Otago, which is going significantly better. Being selected as a member of this advisory means that I will be able to use my lived experience as a disabled student to inform the Ministry of Education on how education can be made more accessible for current and future students. I'm passionate about combining medical research and disability rights to ensure that disabled people get the support and research they want and need.

Advisory group expectations and responsibilities

Members are supported and will learn new skills. But they need to be confident and comfortable:

  • working with other people and in a team
  • sharing their own perspectives
  • communicating their ideas.

Members are expected to:

  • attend all hui for the duration of their membership, which is two years  
  • receive and reply to emails or phone and video calls from the Secretariat and/or Facilitator
  • complete any work set for them in between hui.

Check Te Mahau Advisory for Young People with Disabilities' Terms of Reference.

Further information

If you have questions about the Advisory for Young People with Disabilities email:


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