The DLN Team

Disabled Leadership Now is a grass roots organisation comprising disabled volunteers who are determined that disabled people will lead, and be present at every level of, our own Ministry.

Here are short bios of some of our leaders.


Note: several key people in the project feel unable to disclose their involvement publicly.

Dr. Huhana Hickey MNZM, MInstD

LLB/BSocSci, LLM (distinction), PhD in Law and tikanga Māori.

Huhana Hickey in her wheelchair, wearing a shirt that says "The future is accessible"

Huhana has a long-standing interest in the human rights of people from marginal backgrounds and the consequences of discrimination and social oppression. She is a scholar of disabilities research and legal theory and is noted for the breadth of her published cross-disciplinary research. One of Huhana’s goals is to increase the knowledge of indigenous peoples with disabilities along with increasing their profile and inclusion in all levels of society.

Huhana is a former director on the HCNZ board, currently on the Human Rights review Tribunal, board member on Odyssey House drug rehabilitation board, a DISAC member, on the Manukau Health park advisory team,on the CMDHB clinical governance team, and SMS another hospital appointment, advisor to different ministerial policy projects, was an advisor to the welfare expert advisory group, currently an expert advisor re housing for the Human Rights Commission, on the HTC anti-violence disability expert advisory group, advisor with Auckland uni disability lectures, advisor on several Maori projects including the Tainui Koiora health and disability policy,  has her own consultancy (Pukenga Consultancy), is President of the Māori Women’s Welfare league Te Hokinga Mai branch for Disabled Māori women. Former chair of the Medicinal Cannabis Awareness NZ Trust. A partner, Mum, Nana and keen singer, writer and poet and artist.

Áine Kelly-Costello

Áine Kelly-Costello

Áine Kelly-Costello (she/they) is a Pākehā disabled story-teller and campaigner. They’ve worked as a journalist and podcaster, and campaigned on kaupapa including disability and climate intersections, justice for disabled immigrants, accessibility law, disability pride, and now, disabled leadership. Find Áine’s work here. Twitter: @ainekc95

Pam MacNeill

Managing Director and founder of Disability Responsiveness New Zealand Ltd

Pam MacNeill

Pam MacNeill is totally blind and lives in Upper Hutt. Pam hails from Christchurch, where she began her State Sector career in Care and Protection Social Work and Community Work.

Pam was the national Manager of the Mainstream Employment Programme at the State Services Commission in Wellington for sixteen years. She was contracted by both the office of the Health and Disability Commissioner, as Disability Programme Developer and at the Capital and Coast District Health Board, where she developed the role of Disability Responsiveness Educator.

In 2010, Pam established a professional disability consultancy, managing several contracts for both State and community sector organisations:

  • Developing and facilitating disability-responsiveness training workshops
  • Leading projects, such as the initial Accessible Christchurch campaign, for DPA
  • Managing a number of employment related projects and
  • Producing reports ultimately destined for the United Nations, for the Convention Coalition Monitoring Group.
  • After successfully completing a two-year contract as Quality Improvement Lead within Disability Support Services at the Ministry of Health, Pam relaunched her consultancy as: Disability Responsiveness New Zealand in May of 2016 and registered DRNZ Ltd as a company in 2017.

Pam is in her final year of a PhD at Massey university. Her thesis examines barriers and enablers to employment for disabled citizens within New Zealand.