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Music therapy centre for disabled people hopes to raise funds as donations dry up

Natasha Hill, Te Rito Journalism Cadet

Established in 2004, the centre relies on the generosity of donors to keep running.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

A music therapy centre is trying to raise funds to keep its doors open after donations dried up in recent years.

The Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre helps children with special needs and has facilities in Northland, Hawke’s Bay and the Bay of Plenty.

The Ministry of Disabled People announced last week a change in what disabled people could purchase with their support funding.

Co-founder George Bradfield (Ngāti Ranginui) said the announcement was “pretty upsetting” to the disability community.

“I haven’t seen anything that I’ll be happy about with this new government and particularly aiming at the most vulnerable in the community is pretty nasty - that’s probably the best I could put it.

“We don’t get any direct government funding. We had the idea that in the beginning we didn’t want to be one of those things that, with a stroke of a pen, we would disappear.”

Bradfield said the increases in the cost of living has seen a decrease in donations and to combat this he went on a fundraising trip where he cycled 1,500km from Marlborough to Milford Sound.

“The idea came a couple of years ago. We did a ride called the Tour of Aotearoa which was from the top to the bottom. I raised $40,000 that time, which was really great.”

“With this cost-of-living crisis all of our generous donors are either coming back saying they can’t make any koha or they have to reduce it. It’s left quite a gap.”

The centre was founded by his wife and singer Dame Hinewehi Mohi and she named it Raukatauri after their daughter, who has severe cerebral palsy.

He hopes to raise $10,000 from his fundraising trip through his Givealittle page.

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