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‘friend’s experience fuelled my passion for the disability sector’ Sonia Thursby

Sonia Thursby ONZM joins Purposely Podcast to share her story and explain why she is motivated to support people with disabilities.

‘At a very early age, I saw the prejudice, the bullying, and the meanness against someone who was different when she was just my friend Cat. We would hang out, swap beads, play with dolls, but to others she was something to be stared at…

I didn't think that was okay.. and that was all the motivation I needed to get into PHAB which in those days was physically handicapped, able bodied. She was the physically disabled one and I was the able bodied one.

So yeah, for me, it's about justice.

Sonia Thursby has worked in the Youth and Disability sector in New Zealand for over 25 years, with extensive prior experience in the UK.

As a trusted ally to the sector, she has been able to put the voice of youth with disabilities at the forefront of every board she has been a part of, including PHO, Health Boards and Council Advisory Groups. Thanks to these vast connections within the sector, and across the public and government sectors, she has been able to provide a safe space for youth with disabilities to come together and co-create opportunities for themselves and their peers.

In the podcast she talks about identifing as both a Kiwi and a Brit and how she wishes she could pick up all her family in the UK and transport them back to her home in Auckland.

She describes the innovation she is leading in the disability sector and how service solutions are being co-designed between the charity she runs, Government and those who need the help and support.


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