Local focus: two tickets for the price of one

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New companion card a welcome accessory. Made with funding from NZ On Air.

For people with disabilities attending a performance is difficult, but a new “Companion Card” will make it easier for those who need a support person to help them get into the venue.

A trial partnership between Mana Whaikaha, a government disability support system, and Palmerston North City Council was introduced on August 13. The finer details of the accompanying map have yet to be defined, but the foundational program is already available.

“There should never be a barrier for people going to a show or going to do something,” said Palmerston North Globe Theater director Gerry Keating.

“We hope it can be online, but you or your support person may need to call the theater,” he said. “You tell us you book a companion card, we go into a system, we reserve two tickets for the price of one, you pay one, you come to the show with your companion, and you have a great time.”

The companion card is funded by Palmerston North City Council. The additional ticket will be paid by the cashier.

“The people putting on the show or the performer or the performer don’t miss the free ticket that is given on the accompanying card,” Keating said. “We have to take care of our patrons and we have to take care of the people who put the show on. So it’s a fantastic way for the arts community to work inclusively with everyone.”

Currently, four Manawatū venues are on the program: The Globe, Te Manawa, Centrepoint Theater and The Regent. We hope that other sites will register soon.

Rose Boddy of the Palmerston North City Council Disability Reference Group hopes many people will benefit from the trial.

“Previously [they] could not have done it because of the cost of a second ticket, ”she said.

“What’s really great is that unlike other cards and options, you don’t have to prove your handicap here,” Boddy said. “All you give is permission for Mana Whaikaha to go to several agencies and verify that the impairment matches what you are saying.”

Mana Whaikaha was created in 2018 and shakes up old ideas. The wide variety of handicaps means that a solution is not for everyone and the Enabling Good Lives framework is designed with this in mind.

“It’s more person-centered,” Boddy said. “It’s more about what the person wants as opposed to an A, B or C and no discussion.”

Waikato and Christchurch are also testing the Companion Card, which has been planned for three years.

The idea was spearheaded by Boddy, who says it will make a big difference in people’s lives.

The Palmerston North initiative received $ 10,000 from the board and time will tell if it is too little or a lot.

“If used really quickly, that would say a lot, right,” Boddy said.

“In general organizations sometimes have to make changes or do things and you can feel when it’s done reluctantly, you can just feel it and it’s a nasty vibe. [the performers] will be reimbursed. I think it’s fair. “

With accessibility issues helping to further isolate many with disabilities, it is likely that the companion card will be a welcome accessory after the lockdown with many Palmerston North sites capable of accommodating audiences at Covid levels one and two.

Carried out with funding from


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