Keynote Speakers

Tom Shakespeare
Photo by Keith Patisson

Dr Tom Shakespeare


Tom Shakespeare is a social scientist who has researched and taught at the Universities of Cambridge, Sunderland, Leeds and Newcastle. A prolific writer and broadcaster, his books include The Sexual Politics of Disability and Disability Rights and Wrongs. He currently works at the World Health Organization, where he was one of the editors of the World Report on Disability. He has been involved with the disability movement for nearly 25 years, and has presented to academic, activist and professional audiences all over the world.


Patricia O'Brien

Professor Patricia O'Brien


Professor Patricia O’Brien is the Chair of Disability Studies and Director of the Centre for Disability Studies at the Royal Rehabilitation Centre, Ryde, Sydney, Australia. Previously, Patricia spent five years as Director of the National Institute for Intellectual Disability at Trinity College in Dublin. Prior to this appointment she was Dean, Postgraduate Studies at the University of Auckland. She has a background in inclusive education and professional development for human service staff. Patricia is the co-editor of two books on models of partnership and support within human service agencies.



Anne Hawker

Anne Hawker


Anne Hawker has been involved in the disability sector for 35 years. As a disabled person, advocate for the rights of disabled people at a local, regional, national and international level, as a service provider, a researcher, a funder and strategic service developer and adviser. Currently Anne is the Principal Disability Adviser for Ministry of Social Development. She is also the first woman President of Rehabilitation International of which DPA (NZ) is the NZ National Member Organisation. She was also the former President of DPA(NZ) and of the Dunedin regional DPA. She was formerly the CEO of the Head Injury Society and she was the founder of the Mosgiel Disability Resource Centre.