# 13-2022 Community Advisor News

6 September 2022

Mālō e lelei,

It’s Tongan language week this week, a time to acknowledge this beautiful language and celebrate the rich cultural diversity in Aotearoa New Zealand.

This month we’re shining the spotlight on wellbeing.  It’s so easy to lose sight of the things that are important in life for our overall wellbeing, especially in times of stress and pressure.  Wellbeing means different things to different people.  Our MS Community Advisors are available to support you in your quest for wellbeing and there are some wonderful resources to sift through in this update.

Next week is MS awareness week, a big time of year to raise the profile of MS as a condition for better awareness, education and management.  There is more information below and in our upcoming online campaign, please share with your family, whanau, contacts and networks!


Take care and keep in touch.



This month the spotlight is on your wellbeing!  The last two years have been tumultuous for many and now that winter is just retracting its claws, it’s a good time to look at number one – that’s you 😊.


Our MS Community Advisors are available to run a wellbeing check with you, to ensure that you have all the help, support and resources you need, as well as discussing your goals and needs.  You can connect with your Community Advisor over the phone, in person, at a support group or on email or video conferencing.  There is no pressure to have a wellbeing check and if you would prefer not to just let us know.


To follow are a number of ideas/resources that may be useful to increase your wellbeing.


Learn to meditate

Kadampa Meditation Centre have face to face classes recommencing this month.  Here is the class schedule:


Kapiti  |  12 - 1pm

Island Bay (KMC Wellington)  |  7pm - 8.20pm



The Terrace  |  5.30pm - 6.45pm (resumes 13 Sep)



Lower Hutt  |  6.45pm - 8pm (resumes 15 Sep)



Island Bay (KMC Wellington)   |  11am - 12pm


Click here for more information:

Meditate in Wellington


Overcoming MS (OMS)

Podcast: Yoga Moves MS

Mindy Eisenberg talks about the benefits of yoga and how it can be adapted to anyone with any type of body:

S4E56 Yoga Moves MS | Overcoming MS


For our seniors

Age Concern Steady as you go online exercise classes

Every Wednesday at 9:30 am there is a live-streamed Steady as You Go class on Zoom.  It's open to anyone - you don't need any prior experience. It is a gentle entry-level exercise class designed for seniors.

All you need to do is register by filling in the form online :

Community Support Services | Age Concern Wellington (acwellington.org.nz)


Calming the chaos

Podcast: From OMS

Mattie Cummins talks about her mission to help people calm their inner chaos:

S4E57 Calming the Chaos – in Conversation with Mattie Cummins | Overcoming MS


Eat well

Tofu and Vegetable Skewers

Try these spiced, smoky tofu skewers, with only 5 ingredients:

Spiced Smoky Tofu and Vegetable Skewers | Overcoming MS



Health & disability system transformation

Te Whatu Ora Health NZ launched a new public information campaign about the Health Reforms and why they're changing our health system. You can watch the campaign video below:

Future of Health - the Five System Shifts (English) - YouTube


The former disability rights commissioner is the first disabled chief executive of a government ministry. She wants to influence change from within the system:

Paula Tesoriero appointed chief executive of Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People | Stuff.co.nz



Valerie Wilson, a Multiple Sclerosis Otago Community Advisor, has been using 3M window insulation kits on her windows for years, and says condensation is a thing of the past:

This power-saving $70 window treatment is 'the bee's knees' - no more condensation | Stuff.co.nz


The Accommodation Supplement

The Accommodation Supplement is a weekly payment which helps people with their rent, board or the cost of owning a home.  You may get an Accommodation Supplement if you:

have accommodation costs

are aged 16 years or more

are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident

normally live in New Zealand and intend to stay here

are not paying rent for a social housing property.


Eligibility does depend on how much you and your spouse or partner earn and any money or assets you and your spouse or partner have.  Work and Income have a calculator that you can use to see if you might be eligible:



An interview with George Jelinek

This interview with Professor George Jelinek covers the power of choice with the OMS Programme

An interview with George Jelinek: The OMS Program and the power of choice | Overcoming MS



NZMSRT Webinar Series 2022

The New Zealand Multiple Sclerosis Research Trust are putting on the following webinars. These webinars will be recorded, so even if you cannot attend on the day, please still register and you will be emailed a copy of the recording following the event.


Celebrating NZ Researchers

With Dr Kimberley Pitman and Amy McCaughey-Chapman PhD

This webinar took place on 3 September and will be available to view shortly


Epstein-Barr Virus

With guest speakers Dr Mitchell Wallin and Dr Corey Smith

Saturday 24 September 10am – 11.30am

The Hot Topic: Epstein-Barr Virus and MS Tickets, Sat 24/09/2022 at 10:00 am | Eventbrite


Looking after our bodies, inside and out

With guest speakers Gilly Davy and Dr Wolfgang Marx

Tuesday 11 October 6pm – 7.30pm

Looking After Our Bodies: Inside and Out Tickets, Tue 11/10/2022 at 6:00 pm | Eventbrite


MS Australia Postgraduate Research

MS Australia announces latest grants towards innovative and postgraduate research.

The newly funded projects will look at the current prevalence and incidence of MS in Australia, specific components of the immune system that may be involved in early signs of MS, how pausing treatment affects disease activity, the role of myelin-producing cells in the autoimmune signal against myelin, and better ways to monitor neurodegeneration.

You can read more about this research by clicking on the following link.  There is also interesting information from MS Australia on sleep and MS and the mind-body connection managing re MS pain:

MS Australia announces over $180,000 towards innovative and postgraduate research - MS Australia


Research briefing with MS Australia

MS Queensland presents Research Briefing with MS Australia - YouTube


Neurology Research Review issue 81

For those with an interest in science you can read the latest Neurology research review that has a focus on MS:

Neurology Research Review NZ Free Update | NZ Neurology Research Review Issue 81 - MS Focus


Education & upskilling

Understanding Multiple Sclerosis

An online course brought to you by the University of Tasmania and The Menzies Institute

  • Course opens: 12th September, 2022
  • Course duration: 6 weeks
  • Estimated effort: 2 hours per week
  • Course closes: 11th November, 2022 (content is accessible across 8 weeks)
  • Cost: FREE

Understanding Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - September 2022 | Menzies Institute for Medical Research (utas.edu.au)


An audience with Professor Sandra Neate

Associate Professor, Sandra Neate, from the Neuroepidemiology Unit (NEU), will be holding a webinar with OMS on Wednesday 28 September 2022 at 11:00 AM BST.

She will be sharing with the latest research and projects into lifestyle modification and its impact on MS health outcomes:

Our Multiple Sclerosis Events | Overcoming MS


COVID-19 update

It is really encouraging to watch the numbers continuing to go down which indicates the motu is out of that second ‘wave’.  The country’s Covid-19 coast looks “relatively clear” on the other side of the second Omicron wave, a leading modeller says:

Covid-19: Aotearoa could see ‘a bit of respite’ in coming months - modeller | Stuff.co.nz


The Government is poised to make a significant change to the country’s Covid-19 settings and mask-use rules next Monday, part of its fortnightly review of the traffic light system:



Whilst the signs are positive, there is still plenty of the virus circulating in the community, so it does pay to be vigilant to keep yourself safe.  If you need any RAT’s, or if you test positive for COVID then feel free to contact your Community Advisor who can ensure you are linked to all the necessary supports.  Do remember though, if you become very unwell to contact your GP, Healthline or in the event of an emergency dial, 111.


COVID-19 Booster campaign - direct communications in August and September

The National Immunisation team at Te Whau Ora Health New Zealand are sending direct messages to eligible people nationwide, to promote and encourage booster uptake via  text or email as people become eligible for a second COVID-19 booster:

COVID-19 Testing • Healthpoint


Call centre for disability related COVID queries

A reminder about the new call centre phone number for disability queries 0800 11 12 13. Most staff working on this line either have a disability or a lived experience of disability.

Callers to this line can get assistance with vaccine bookings, apply for face mask exemptions, get advice on COVID testing, and seek guidance with managing COVID at home.



MS Awareness week 12 September – 18 September

This annual event is a time where we seek to raise the profile of MS as a condition so that symptoms are recognised for earlier diagnosis and support, encourage education to better understand and manage the condition and promote the services of the Wellington MS Society to support people in the community.  Our mission is to enable people with MS and their whanau and family to live their best lives.  We do this through the work of our MS Community Advisors who provide a free service for people with MS in the community.


MS Awareness week is also a time where our Society raises funds so we can continue to support people in the community.  This year, in the COVID environment, we are not having a physical street collection so will run an online campaign which you will see more of soon.  If you would like to donate to our Society or help raise funds there are many ways of doing this.  Please just connect with Suzie Linton who manages our fundraising and communications.  Suzie can be contacted on suzanne@mswellington.org.nz or 022 479 9188.  Suzie works part time on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.


Help us fundraise by fuelling up at Z Trentham from 26 September

You can support our work just by filling your car up at Z Trentham. This is part of Z’s Good in the Hood campaign.


From 26 September when you fuel up at Z Trentham, you will be given a token or two.  There will be box with “MS Wellington” in store so we would really appreciate it if you can vote for us by putting the tokens in our box.  Please ask your friends and whanau to vote for us too!



The State of Caring report

The report is from independent analytics company Synergia, and is based on 1,648 survey responses from carers of all ages and ethnicities. Carers spent an hour on average completing the 70 question survey about their wellbeing, finances, and views about available support for their role.  After viewing the survey responses, Carers NZ and Carers Alliance wrote to Ministers Carmel Sepuloni and Andrew Little to suggest steps they and the Ministry of Health and Te Whatu Ora could take to sustain carers through the pandemic. You can read the full report here:



Wellington MS transferring Client Records to an online database

Starting in September, Wellington MS will begin moving its records to an electronic platform called Infoodle. This includes all our client, member and donor records along with other records.


You can be assured that maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of the data we hold remains central to all that we do. Infoodle is a secure Cloud-based system which will help our service to be less vulnerable to hazards, more resilient and more agile. Infoodle is well used by charities and NGOs, churches and others in Aotearoa-New Zealand and elsewhere and is already used by MSNZ and a number of the regional societies. You might not notice much improvement to the service to begin with, other than you receive better service when your usual Community Advisor is on leave and another needs to contact you.


Infoodle is going to help us manage your information effectively and securely and reduce the time we spend administering records, as many tasks are easily automated. This means that we will have more time to spend supporting clients and their whanau and doing the things that really matter! If you have any queries feel free to ask your Community Advisor or email:



Total Mobility – discounted taxi cards

REMINDER: If you haven’t used your card for 3 years it will be cancelled.  Don’t get caught short, if you’d like your card reactivated or need a new one, please email me.  NB in some situations a new assessment may need to be completed.

Fares will be half price on all Metlink buses, ferries and trains until 31 January 2023, this also includes He Ratonga Tekehī the Total Mobility service.  The scheme permanently reduces public transport fares for Community Services Card holders by 50 percent from 1 February 2023.  For full information click here:

Metlink to slash off-peak fares, make weekends and public holidays free for children » Metlink


Need to talk to a MS Community Advisor?

Our service is still operating in this COVID-19 environment and at “Orange” we are working with people face to face (when it’s safe) as well as continuing contact by phone, email and video conferencing. 


Please note that we do not provide an urgent or emergency service.  If you need this level of service, you can contact your GP, phone Healthline on 0800 611 116, visit your Emergency Department or phone 111 in the event of an emergency.



Ngā mihi,



Gillian Fry

Manager & Lead Community Advisor