Making New Zealand more accessible for disabled people one city at a time - it's all part of the master plan for Be.Accessible's chief executive Minnie Baragwanath.
She was in Whangarei this week and met local representatives of the disabled community as part of her national tour of Rugby World Cup host cities.
After a presentation of Be.Accessible's goals and initiatives, Ms Baragwanath officially certified two local people to make accessibility assessments of Whangarei businesses and organisations that will form part of a national database.
Legally blind herself, Ms Baragwanath knows from experience the challenges disabled people face in their attempts to fully participate in all areas of society.
As chief executive of an organisation which has recently received a promise of $4 million of government funding, she now hopes to break down the obstacles that limit full participation.
"Be.Accessible is a social change campaign and it aims to inspire and enable a 100 per cent accessible society for all people," she said.
"Twenty per cent of New Zealanders identify currently with having a disability but, with an ageing population, there's a correlation between ageing and disability, so our baby boomer population is going to see the highest number of people living with a disability.
"If New Zealand could really take some leadership in this maybe we could be the centre of accessibility in the world."
Ms Baragwanath knows her ideas are "fairly ambitious" but she is passionate about them and believes businesses only need to be enlightened to see the potential market they could attract by becoming more accessible for disabled people.
One of those certified to make assessments on behalf of Be.Accessible in Whangarei is Gail Stacey of Tiaho Trust, a local disability advocacy organisation.
Ms Stacy said her immediate task would be approaching Whangarei businesses to encourage them to improve their accessibility leading up the the Rugby World Cup.
'Hopefully that will encourage other businesses to realise that we are missing out on a big market out there and get on board as well."