David recognised with lifetime award for advocacy
IHC Self-Advocacy Advisor David Corner has been awarded life membership of disabled people’s organisation People First – Ngā Tāngata Tuatahi.
David was invited back to Nelson to receive his award, the place where he had attended his first meeting in the early 1980s. “A friend who I know in Nelson asked me to chair a meeting. I didn’t properly know what People First was,” David says.
After that meeting he was one of six people elected to go to a People First conference in Christchurch in 1985.
David was presented with the life membership by Top of the South National Committee Michael Aldridge on 15 July at a TOS Regional Meeting.
Life membership is the highest award given by People First New Zealand – only three other people have received the award.
David has been a People First member for 37 years and he has held office at both local and national levels, including serving as Central Region President and Vice President.
He has been a member of People First committees in Dunedin, Christchurch, Nelson, Wellington and Mana. He was awarded the Leona Gitmans Te Aranga Award for self-advocacy in 2010.
“I am most proud of seeing many of the other people that I have known over the years become involved in People First and having their say.”
David has worked as a Self-Advocacy Advisor for IHC for 26 years, including a term on the IHC Self-Advocacy Advisory Group. He was the Inclusion International Asia Pacific Self-Advocate Council representative from 1998 until 2020.
After his final Inclusion International meeting in 2020 he was awarded life membership of that organisation for his service. He participated in brainstorming sessions at meetings and conferences about the issues facing people with intellectual disabilities from all parts of the globe and contributed New Zealand’s and his own experiences to the mix.
“It’s all about listening, including and respecting and valuing the people with intellectual disability,” he said in a video prepared for his final meeting on Zoom.
Caption: David Corner has worked for people with intellectual disabilities for decades – 37 years with People First and 26 years with IHC so far.