Lewis Williams


Lewis grew up on Tāmaki Makarau’s Northshore. She recently returned to Aotearoa after many years of living in Canada and today lives in the Tauranga Moana. She is of Ngāi Te Rangi descent. Initially diagnosed with a progressive hearing loss 22 years ago, today Lewis lives with severe to profound hearing loss. Initially qualifying as a social worker and community developer, she went on to work in the public health and tertiary sectors. Her Ph.D. was in empowerment theory and focused on issues of identity, culture, and power. Today she is a Senior Research Fellow with Whakauae Research for Māori Health and Development and the Founding Director of the Alliance for Intergenerational Resilience. She loves hiking, meditation, yoga, drama, te reo Maori and spending time with friends and family.

Presentation: From me to you: Poetry and perspectives from a cochlear implant recipient

As a signatory to Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, Aotearoa New Zealand aims to be a “non-disabling society – a place where disabled people have an equal opportunity to achieve their goals and aspirations’’. Yet in many respects, current policy and practice is further disabling adults with severe to profound hearing loss through lack of access to timely cochlear implants. For people with SPHL, finding their place of power with the experience is challenging and multi-faceted. In this workshop, I shall draw on my own experience as both a late-deafened adult with SPHL waiting for a CI and public health professional to map the multi-faceted terrain of SPHL, and related personal and societal issues. I will cover a broad range of factors such as early childhood attachment and response to SPHL, self-identities, and issues of professional and systemic power. This will be followed by 3 reflective questions for group dialogue on the issues presented.