# 15-2022 Community Advisor News

Kia ora koutou,

Why does Christmas suddenly appear around the corner after Labour weekend?  Let’s keep wellbeing top of mind as we rush towards the end of the year, you will find some more good wellbeing resources to help you in this update.   There are also some interesting webinars, you can read about Te Pae Tata - the Interim New Zealand Health Plan 2022 and please note that our team can make referrals for you. 

If you fancy a movie on Sunday, come to our movie fundraiser, “Mrs Harris goes to Paris”.  Afternoon tea will be provided and there will be wonderful raffles kindly donated by some awesome providers and people.

Take care and keep in touch.


Te Kete Haerenga – Your Journey to Wellbeing Kete contains some wonderful resources including pain, fatigue and sleep.

Te Kete | Health Navigator NZ

Six ways to lead a brain-healthy lifestyle – from MS Brain Health - Time Matters

Having a healthy brain that functions well is important for people with multiple sclerosis. Here are six positive steps you can take to keep your brain as healthy as possible, whatever your MS diagnosis.

  1. Keep as active as you can

Higher levels of aerobic fitness are associated with faster information processing and preserved brain tissue volume. This suggests that being as active as possible may help to preserve brain health in people with MS.

2. Keep your weight under control

Obesity is associated with higher numbers of MS lesions (areas of intensive damage) than maintaining a healthy weight.

3. Keep your mind active

Education, reading, hobbies and artistic or creative pastimes help to protect against cognitive problems in MS when pursued over a lifetime.

4. Avoid smoking

Cigarette smoking in people with MS is associated with decreased brain volume as well as with higher relapse rates, increased disability progression, more cognitive problems and reduced survival compared with not smoking.

Smoking and MS | Multiple Sclerosis Society of NZMultiple Sclerosis Society of NZ (msnz.org.nz)

5. Watch how much you drink

Unsafe levels of alcohol lead to reduced survival in people with MS.

6. Continue taking other medicines your doctor has prescribed

Diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or high cholesterol can affect the MS

Six ways to lead a brain-healthy lifestyle - MS Brain Health - Multiple Sclerosis Brain Health initiative


Protect Great Wellington – exercise after COVID-19

Covering tips on getting back into exercise after having COVID-19

If you've been unwell and... - Protect Greater Wellington | Facebook


Family and whanau support

Do you have family or whanau who would like to meet others to network, share ideas and support each other?  Family and whanau have different pressures and often need support that acknowledges their role in supporting people with MS.  If there is enough interest from family and whanau in having their own meeting, we will trial one in the new year.  Please get your family or whanau to email me if they are interested in a meet up session. 




Did you know that your MS Community Advisor can make referrals for you to allied health services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, speech language therapy and dieticians?  These services are free and operate via the community teams at the hospital.  In most situations home visits can be arranged to cater for mobility needs.  Just contact your Community Advisor to discuss your individual needs.


Te Pae Tata - the Interim New Zealand Health Plan 2022

Te Pae Tata is a two-year plan that will guide Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand and Te Aka Whai Ora – Māori Health Authority as changes occur to improve the health system.

Disabled people are prioritised as an equity group in Te Pae Tata. It is the first time disabled people have been formally recognised as a priority group in the New Zealand health system.

We hope that this recognition, in conjunction with the establishment of Whaikaha – Ministry for Disabled People, will deliver more accessible healthcare for Tāngata whaikaha | Disabled people. To read more about Disability in Te Pae Tata click here:

Disability in Te Pae Tata – Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand


Clinical Trials

You can read about some clinical trials that are taking place and the eligibility criteria if you might be interested in taking part.

A Phase III, Non-Inferiority, Randomized, Open-Label, Parallel Group, Multicenter Study To Investigate The Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, Safety And Radiological And Clinical Effects Of Subcutaneous Ocrelizumab Versus Intravenous Ocrelizumab In Patients With Multiple Sclerosis (Ocarina II)

A Phase III, Non-Inferiority, Randomized, Open-Label, Parallel Group, Multicenter Study To Investigate The Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, Safety And Radiological And Clinical Effects Of Subcutaneous Ocrelizumab Versus Intravenous Ocrelizumab In Patients With Multiple Sclerosis - Full Text View - ClinicalTrials.gov



A Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Ocrelizumab in Adults With Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (O'HAND)

A Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Ocrelizumab in Adults With Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis - Full Text View - ClinicalTrials.gov


Webinars and Events

Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis is running an interesting range of webinars in November from 'Strengthen Your Centre' exercise classes through to “Ask Aaron” - your opportunity to speak to a Neurologist about Living Well with MS

Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis Events | Overcoming MS



MS Australia - Changes in gut bacteria are linked to MS

Changes in the composition of gut bacteria, or the gut microbiome, are linked to several inflammatory diseases, including MS. We know that multiple risk factors are involved in MS onset and progression, including genetic and environmental/lifestyle factors (e.g. vitamin D, smoking, EBV exposure), but what combination of risk factors contribute to MS onset and progression and what role gut bacteria play remain elusive. Read more in the following link:

Changes in gut bacteria are linked to MS - MS Australia


MS Australia - MS can change the “concept of self”

  • Self-concept is the way people see themselves and is more likely to change in people with MS.
  • People with MS experienced changes in their lives and roles from diagnosis on, including changes in health, partner and family relationships, work and social life.
  • Some found their self-concept suffered in response to these changes, while others found MS gave them a more determined belief in themselves.

If this resonates with you and you would like support around this area just contact your Community Advisor to discuss and consider watching “Managing Change and Uncertainty” with Annie Kennedy


“Oh it’s changed, it’s changed 10-fold”: concept of self in MS - MS Australia


Survey: Managing a health condition or disability in the workplace

GravitasOPG is conducting a survey help the Government understand how workers experience either redundancy, or managing a health condition or disability in the workplace. The aim is to understand the challenges people faced throughout the process, how they go about finding new work or returning to work, and what services, advice and information people found useful.


The Government is committed to developing a New Zealand Income Insurance Scheme. The Government believes the Scheme could play an important role in protecting workers and incomes, and help communities and industries during economic shocks and changes. ACC is leading the planning for implementing the proposed scheme.


To help inform the planning GravitasOPG would really appreciate you taking some time to share your experiences of redundancy or having your work impacted by a health condition or disability.


The information collected will be used to inform the way ACC implements and manages the proposed scheme. Your contribution will help make sure it is easy for everyone to access and meets user needs.


This survey should take less than 12 minutes.

Please click here to start the survey: https://survey.gravitasopg.co.nz/survey/selfserve/219f/g064/220901


The survey is being conducted by GravitasOPG, an independent research company on behalf of ACC. All the information you provide will be kept confidential and stored securely by GravitasOPG. Your responses will not be given to ACC or any other organisation in a way that identifies you.


If you have any questions or concerns about the survey, please contact Emily Hendry-Follows from the GravitasOPG team (emilyh@gravitasopg.co.nz; 09 356 8842). If you wish to check the legitimacy of the research, you are welcome to contact Sarah Hudson at ACC - sarah.hudson2@acc.co.nz


COVID-19 update

You have probably read that there has been a COVID surge but at this stage it does not look like peaking to the same extent as back in March.  Respiratory viruses tend not to be as prevalent in warmer weather, so it is encouraging that we are heading into summer especially with new variants appearing in the community.   If you test positive for COVID feel free to contact your MS Community Advisor for additional support and guidance, although your first line support is through your GP or Healthline.  We still have supplies of RAT’s, masks and hand sanitiser so please reach out if you need any of these dropped off.


Anti-viral treatment

Anti-viral treatments for COVID 19 are designed to minimize the symptoms of COVID and shorten its duration. They also can help reduce transmission of The COVID virus.  For this anti-viral medication to be effective you must start taking it within the first 5 days of getting symptoms.  More people are now eligible for anti-viral treatments so you can check eligibility in the following link.  It is also worth noting that if you are at risk of becoming very unwell with COVID-19 you may be able to get a prescription before you get COVID-19.  Just talk to your GP, Pharmacist or Healthline for more information.

Medicines to treat COVID-19 | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)


Great gift opportunity

Buy an Entertainment membership

You might have heard that Christmas is coming! An Entertainment Membership makes an excellent gift or something for you to enjoy.


If you purchase an entertainment guide through this link then MS wellington receives 20% of the purchase price. If you have never used an entertainment guide before – it is a voucher/card system that gives you discounts at many restaurants and food outlets, and movies amongst other things 




Movie night!

We still have some tickets! Come and see Mrs Harris goes to Paris at the Lighthouse in Petone on Sunday 13 November.  Tickets cost $25 and for each ticket sold, Wellington MS receive a cut of the proceeds.   Arrive from 4pm for afternoon tea and raffles and the movie starts at 5pm.  If you would like tickets, please contact Suzie at suzanne@mswellington.org.nz or on 022 479 9188.


Riley Centre, Wellington High School: Saturday 10th December - 11:00am & 2.00pm & 5.00pm 

Hosted by Lions Club of Wellington The ‘World Festival of Magic’ is a dynamic and memorable performance designed to help lift the spirits and bring some well-needed joy to our local children and their families and whanau.  The show lasts approximately 90 minutes and is suitable for all ages. Please arrive a minimum 30 minutes early to ensure good seats! 

If you would like free tickets to one of these sessions email suzanne@mswellington.org.nz and let her know  how many tickets you require, and for which session i.e 11am, 2pm or 5pm.


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?

Please contact us!  Our MS Community Advisors are working with people face to face (when it’s safe) as well as continuing contact by phone, email and video conferencing.  Our face to face support groups will continue to operate unless there is a further resurgence of COVID where a decision may be made to put them on hold for a while.  Please do not come to a support group if you are unwell or are experiencing COVID related symptoms.  Our attendees at support group may be vaccinated and unvaccinated against COVID.  It is a personal decision to come to a support group as is choosing to wear a mask. 


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

Wellington Multiple Sclerosis Society Inc.