About NorthAble

Since 1990, NorthAble's has been providing equipment, information, and disability support services in Te Tai Tokerau.

The principles of Enabling good lives were established in 2011.  For 11 years, they have been the guiding principle in how disability services should be set up, structured, and delivered on behalf of the clients that we serve.

NorthAble has worked hard to embed these into our day-to-day operations and roles.  They are part of what we do and how we do it.

The principle's are:


Disabled people are in control of their lives.

Beginning early

Invest early in families and whānau to support them; to be aspirational for their disabled child; to build community and natural supports; and to support disabled children to become independent, rather than waiting for a crisis before support is available.


Disabled people have the support tailored to their individual needs and goals, and that takes a whole life approach rather than being split across programmes.

Ordinary life outcomes

Disabled people are supported to live everyday life in everyday places. They are regarded as citizens with opportunities for learning, employment, having a home and family, and social participation - like others at similar stages of life.

Mainstream first

Disabled people are supported to access mainstream services before specialist disability services.

Mana enhancing

The abilities and contributions of disabled people and their families are recognised and respected.

Easy to use

Disabled people have supports that are simple to use and flexible.

Relationship building

Supports building and strengthening relationships between disabled people, their whānau and the community.

How we became Northlands largest disability support organisation.

In 1990, the Northland Disabilities Resource Centre Trust was formed by a small group of people with lived experience of disability who had identified the lack of readily available information about disability services in Northland. Initially the organisation operated as a DIAS (Disability information and Advisory Service), but other services were added as the need was identified. In 1996 they had outgrown the original office and moved to 40 John St.

In 2005 the name of the organisation officially changed to NorthAble Matapuna Hauora. Under this banner, which focuses not only on disability, but the whole concept of wellbeing, the organisation continues to grow, with new services added to meet the ever-changing needs of our population throughout Te Tai Tokerau and the whole of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Our NorthAble Logo

Our logo has been refined over the years to evoke values and direction of our organisation. In 2021 we adopted the Koru shape which represents peace, tranquility, change and personal growth. But it was also inspired by Northland and the harmony between the land and the sea.  The 3 words, evoking, empowering and compassion were all considered when designing the logo concepts which come across in this design.

Taonga Harakeke

This Taonga was designed and woven by Polly Rau. She was moved by the input of Disability Resource Centre participants into the Huarahi Maori programme during their weaving session and wanted to acknowledge their creations. The Taonga speaks of a person’s journey through life, beginning at the time of conception. This taonga is hung in a meeting room to awhi the Tukutuku and the tangata Hauaa.

Nga Kete

Nga Kete were made for Northland Disabilities Resource Centre by then manager, Joanne Samuel. These kete are a contemporary interpretation of the three baskets of knowledge. All three are made from harakeke, or flax.  The topmost kete speaks of the earth, the mountains, of growing things and our physical lives. The second kete This basket speaks of the ocean, te moana, the cleansing power of water and our emotional lives. The lowest kete talks of the air, our breath and our spirit, and the movement of experience and learning that is necessary in our lives.

Te Maataapuna Hauora

Tena ra……. E te iwi e

Ko matou tenei

Te Maataapuna Hauora
E tu atu nei
ki te mihi kia koutou

Ki te Atua
Nga whakawhetai maha
Mo nga manaakitanga
Ki runga I a tatou

Titiro mai e te iwi
Ki tenei roopu manaaki

Aroha mai… ki a matou

Nga kaiawhina kaiwhakahaere
o te kaupapa

Awhinatia tautokotia
Te hunga hauaa o te taitokerau
E rapu nei he oranga mo ratou

Kia piki ano
te hinengaro me te wairua
Ki te taumata hirahira
O nga whakaaro

Korihi ano

Meet the team

Noel Matthews


Kia ora. I took up the NorthAble CEO role in 2004. I lead a dynamic group of staff who have, at the core of their working ethos, the best interests of the families, whanau and individuals we are here to support. I look forward to continuing to improve access to disability supports, especially for people that not only need our services currently but also those that may need our services in the future.

Bronwyn Collett

Facilitation Services Manager

Adam Dade

Chief Operating Officer

Vanessa Jennings

Business Services and Operations Manager

Haylee Vermeulen


The Trustees

Marion Blake
Marion Blake


Alistair Drake
Alistair Drake


Mereana Te Whata
Mereana Te Whata

Sandie Waddell
Sandie Waddell

Anne-Marie Morgan

Service Facilitator

Pam Arbon

Support Coordinator

Zelde Morrison-Smith

NorthAble EQ+ Retail & Sales Supervisor

Anna McIntosh

Senior Financial Mentor

Jessica McCready

Financial Mentor

Vicki Wakefield

Financial Mentor

Shannon Philips

Community Educator

Gina Johnston

Support Coordinator

Hayley Richards

Support Coordinator

Josie Clayton

Finance Administrator

Nicole Ross

COVID Response Mentor

Claire Lewinksi

Pathway Finder

Paytyn Bristow

Support Coordinator

Claire Lewinski

Danell Stewart

LYNKZ Facilitator

Marion Blake


Sharon Tahere

Facilitation Services Lead Facilitator

Te Rau Allen

Māori Liaison Office & Support Coordinator

Alistair Drake


Mereana Te Whata

Sandie Waddell

Cheyenne Harris

Facilitation Services Lead Facilitator

Abbe Clark

LYNKZ Facilitator

Join the team

See our latest job vacancies


Ahei Mentor


We are looking for a mentor who can bring the concept of our new service to life. NorthAble initially received funding for two years to deliver a new, innovative internship program for people with disabilities to create sustainable employment opportunities. You will work with a new team in which you will be able to shape businesses, providers, the interns, and their whanau to create opportunities that we hope will change lives. Not only will the interns get to experience work, but they will learn key skills, build mana and hopefully create opportunities for people to move into and stay in employment.

The supportive environment we offer would be suitable for people with a lived experience of disability, and we would encourage you to apply for this role.

As part of the NorthAble team, you will have an opportunity to be part of an organisation that puts people at the heart of what we do, be that our teams or our clients, we are all about whanau.

This role is full-time, Monday to Friday, initially based within Whangarei.

We are looking for a charismatic individual who can get along with everyone. Relationships are vital to the work we do. Do you have what it takes?

  • Experience working with disabled people (Preferred).
  • Support and Mentor interns through their programs.
  • Work with multiple key stakeholders to create meaningful internships for the students.
  • Mentor interns in all areas, including job skills, life skills and Pastoral care, in order to create the best environment for success.
  • Track outcomes for interns utilising the I am Capable framework as a tool to evidence employment capabilities.
  • Support the delivery of Ahei as required.
  • Design course material as required.
  • Effective communication and sensitivity with people of all disciplines and cultures. Tikanga Māori familiarity.
  • An ability to build relationships and be confident getting out and meeting people as you work to set up the program.
  • High-quality administration skills, with an ability to take complex information and simplify it for presentation.
  • Highly motivated, able to apply initiative and work within a dynamic environment.
  • An understanding of the Enabling Good Lives philosophy, N.Z. Disability Strategy, Treaty of Waitangi, the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Success in this role is about bringing yourself to work and being who you are.

Please request a job application form and Job Description from Nikita Du Plessis. Send the completed job application form, CV/Resume and cover letter to nikita.duplessis@northable.org.nz.

If you would like more information on this position, please call Shaylah or Adam on 09 430 0988.

Companies that support us

NorthAble relies on the generosity of local businesses and individuals to continue the good work we do.

Below is a list of our supporters.

Lottery Grants Board

Lottery Grants Board

Rothbury Insurance Brokers

A big thanks to Rothbury Insurance Brokers for providing the funding for this website

Rothbury Insurance Brokers
Follow NorthAble on Facebook