Brief History

DSF Network

The DSF Network seeks to build understanding between the disability and faith communities.It was formed to provide a legal structure for the Through the Whirlwind: Te Puta I Te Taiwhiowhio: Disability, Spirituality and Faith Conference which was held in Wellington in 2003. It continues today.  It is a small network that through our publications reaches many people.

From mid 1990s there had been a growing movement in New Zealand around disability, spirituality and faith.  Here are some significant dates:



1996 Religion, Health, Spirituality and Disability Conference Brisbane   Attended by one kiwi. This began the relationship with Australia
1998 Beyond the Ramp Conference Adelaide Attended by four kiwis.
  Dr Nancy Eiesland The Disabled God: Towards a Liberatory Theology of Disability (1995)  toured New Zealand speaking in Auckland,  Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin  
1999 Holy, Wholly Accessible: Disability Policy Anglican Diocese of Wellington.  
2000 Futures Group of the Methodist Church funding application to work with the churches ecumenically to develop a more holistic approach to disability issues.  
2001 Ecumenical project on Disability Issues was formed  

Planning started for the inaugural New Zealand gathering on Disability,Spirituality and Faith Exclusion and Embrace conference, Melbourne Australia  

  Five-six kiwis attended Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network of World Council of Churches  
2002 The Disability, Spirituality and Faith Network Aotearoa New Zealand Inc  was formed  
2003 Through the Whirlwind conference: Te Puta I te Taiwhiowhio: Disability,   Spirituality and Faith Conference– proceedings on this website.  
  The Disability, Spirituality and Faith Network Aotearoa New Zealand held its initial AGM.  
2004 Bridges to Understanding: Multi-Faith Perspectives on Spirituality and Disability Conference, Sydney     
2008  Oh Light: An anthology of writing and reflections to enrich the spirit  
2014 Creating Welcoming Churches: a disability resource for faith communities Launches in Auckland and Wellington
2016 Creating Welcoming Churches: Large Print Version Launch in Dunedin
  Exclusion and Embrace: Disability, Justice and Spirituality Conference Melbourne Ten Kiwis attended
2017 Planning began for a disability, spirituality conference in 2020   
2018 Caritas Social Justice Week on Disability