Helping kids with Down syndrome find their voice.

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Barrett whanau team up with UpsideDowns

Beauden, Jordie, and Scott Barrett are pretty well known in New Zealand and around the world for their amazing rugby skills, but did you know they are also proud big brothers to Zara, a 16 year old who has Down syndrome? Zara rocks her extra chromosome, and UpsideDowns were lucky enough to have met Zara and her brothers in Taranaki. Their remarkable whanau are supporting UpsideDowns in our mission to give a voice to every Kiwi kid with Down syndrome. Learn more in Paddy Gower’s Newshub article here: and watch the full video we made with the Barretts here:

In the words o f Bridget Sneddon, Director of Family Network NZ, “The outcomes of this campaign are outstanding and will have an enduring impact on the lives of people with Down syndrome and their families. Overnight the value of people with Down syndrome was raised a little more along with greater acceptance and awareness.”

UpsideDowns Education Trust
Joe and Otis smash the Hawke's Bay marathon

Long-time UpsideDonws members, the Payton whanau of Hawke’s Bay, have achieved an incredible feat this winter. Joe, Dad of Otis who is 10 years old and has Down syndrome, ran the full marathon in May, achieving the incredible finish time of 3 hours 4 minutes. He placed 28th out of 662 runners!! Not only this, but Joe, Otis, and the Payton whanau also raised over $14,000 for UpsideDowns, so that kids like Otis can unlock their potential.

We’re so proud to have been a part of Otis’ communication journey, and so excited at this incredible result, which will help as many as 14 other kids like Otis to receive speech therapy this year.

Congratulations team Payton!!

Speech therapist competing in Wanaka Challenge for UpsideDowns

Hallie lives in Cromwell with her husband and works locally as Speech-Language Therapist. She is testing the limits this month (some might say she's a bit batty) by competing in the individual Wanaka Challenge event on the 16th February 2019. This involves a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run. Hallie was inspired by the people from all walks of life who competed in the event earlier this year when she completed the swim leg as part of a team.

Hallie wanted a sporting goal to work towards and thought why not give this a go and raise some money for a trust that impacts her everyday work as well! The UpsideDowns Education Trust is responsible for funding Speech-Language Therapy for many children with Downs Syndrome so they can develop their communication skills and become more confident and independent individuals. Their support has been integral to the progress of a number of children Hallie works with and she wants to give back and donate where she can, so this awesome trust can keep changing lives.

Hallie will be training hard to reach that finish line next year and hopes a few of you might spare a dollar for UpsideDowns.

You can support Hallie and UpsideDowns here:

2019 UpsideDowns Calendars now on sale!

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift? We have the answer right here! For only $15 you can buy a beautiful UpsideDowns desk calendar. Each month features a different child who receives speech language therapy through the Trust. Thanks to the generous support of Hamlin Law, all proceeds go directly towards supporting our work. To purchase your calendar, click here or email with the number you’d like and the delivery address. You can also avoid the $5 delivery fee by picking up in Mt Albert if you live in the Auckland area.

Government announces more support for children with special needs

On 4 November 2018, the Coalition Government announced that approximately 600 additional Learning Support Coordinators will be employed by 2020. In her statement, the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, highlighted a struggle that is all too familiar for UpsideDowns member families:

“One in five New Zealand children has a disability or other learning and behavioural needs and it’s been too hard, for too long, for them to get the support at the right time.”

It is our hope at UpsideDowns that this initiative will lead to an increase in referrals to us from schools. At present, we receive very few of these referrals, but those we do are typically for low-income or recent immigrant whanau. Therefore, we are optimistic that these changes may lead to the greater diversity among our membership which our Outreach Programme is currently being directed at.

The Education Minister, Hon Tracey Martin, stated:

“The Government is progressing its plan to ensure every child with barriers to learning has access to the tools and professionals they need.”

At UpsideDowns, we believe that every child with Down syndrome has the right to access the education they require, and that accordingly they should be given the speech language therapy that has been proven to unlock their potential and give them the tools to communicate. Therefore, we are excited about this announcement, and hope that it is an indication of further changes to come for children with Down syndrome across Aotearoa.

Who won the raffle?

Thank you to all the wonderful people who bought a raffle ticket at the Auckland Better Home & Living Show over the weekend! You helped us raise over $2,000 for kids with Down syndrome - wow!! That means a whole year of speech therapy for a child which is just incredible.

To find out if you are the lucky winner of the grand prize, watch the draw below!

Announcing our new 100% subsidy option for families in need

Thanks to support from the Hugo Charitable Trust and all our regular donors, UpsideDowns is thrilled to announce the introduction of our third subsidy option - 100% of speech language therapy costs covered to an annual cap of $1,300!

Although we fund up to 80% of therapy costs, that extra 20% plus the cost of transport and materials can be beyond the reach of many Kiwi families facing financial hardship. We know that speech language therapy gives a child with Downs their best chance for an independent life. There's no way that a child should miss out on that opportunity, least of all because they belong to one of our most vulnerable families.


Any family receiving Jobseeker support, Sole Parent Support, Young Parent Payment or similar is eligible, and the Board accepts any other applications for consideration.

We’re currently approaching a number of other organisations and agencies to try and make sure this option is embraced by our least privileged families. It’s part of our mission to make sure every child with Down syndrome in New Zealand has a voice.

Welcome to our new members

Thanks to the hard work and generosity of our supporters, we have once again been able to clear our waitlist in record time. The Board moved on 7 July to clear the entire waitlist of 16 - a huge achievement! Welcome to Nikau, Fletch, Isabel, Samuel, Olivia, Julian, Jessica, Hayley, Sophia, Conner, Ruby, Kelsey, Eli, Nathanael, Ryan, and the little baby who hasn't even been born yet - a first ever for UpsideDowns! We're so excited to be part of your communication journey. Pictured here with the Governor General is Fletch, one of our new members who won an award for Special Olympics at the Francis Clarke Memorial Awards in 2017. Keep an eye out for a future Kiwi Olympian star!


Success at Quiz Night 2018

We welcomed around 200 people to the UpsideDowns in late May, with our Stranger Things/1980s-themed Auckland Quiz Fundraiser. Lots of teams got right into the spirit! The Best Dressed Team went to the Elvensies for their dedication to accuracy and consistency, even having a team song and name on theme. The Winning Team were called Minimum Effort, and they walked away with a generous hamper of comestibles, and of course, the coveted UpsideDowns trophy.

We enjoyed fritters prepared by Lisa Wade made from mussels donated by Liz Hunter, a bar stocked with support from Moa, Karma Cola, and Glengarry Grey Lynn, expertly staffed by Rachel Batters, Paul Batters, and Robyn Ancell, and chocolate generously donated by Remarkables Chocolate Co.

Our wonderful volunteers and Board members made sure the evening ran smoothly, led by our expert Quiz Master, Tom Pedlar.

The event was a huge success, and in the end we raised over $13,000 for children with Down syndrome!!!