Alexia Pickering was born with Spina-Bifida. Her entire life reflects her determination not to let her physical disability limit her activities and interests. She has raised four children with her first husband Neville whom she supported when a Member of Parliament and later as Mayor of Christchurch.  He passed away in 1988. She remarried in 1999.

Alexia is recognised as one of the leading “experts” on access for people with disabilities.  She has been prominent in administration, education and advocating improvements to the built environment for all members of society.  She has held many positions in the community, cultural and welfare organisation and has traveled widely representing these organisations at national and international conferences.

As a consumer with a disability Alexia knows how important it is to know in advance about the accessibility of facilities, in particular tourist attractions and accommodation.  After writing her book on accessible travel within New Zealand (currently out of print), Alexia developed an Appraisal for accommodation providers to complete and post on their websites.  This Appraisal provides the sort detailed information disabled travelers really appreciate knowing and the new challenge for Alexia is to have this list used widely around New Zealand.

To further assist the disabilities community, Alexia became a Justices of the Peace in 1990.

Alexia is also a sought after speaker using her own experiences as the base for her presentations.

(C.N.Z.M) Medal PhotoCompanion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (C.N.Z.M)
Alexia was awarded the Order of Merit in 2005 for her services to persons with disabilities

(QSO) Medal PhotoQueen’s Service Order (QSO) 1995
Awarded to Alexia for services to persons with disabilities

Commemorative Medal PhotoNew Zealand 1990 Commemorative Medal
Awarded to Alexia for services to the community and disability sector

Positions held in the community

Founder of:

  • Handiscope (Christchurch)
  • The Laura Fergusson Trust  (Christchurch)
  • The Hamilton Volunteer Centre 1990
  • The Barrier Free New Zealand Trust 1993

Member of:

  • NZ Standards working party which published MP 4122 in 1985
  • Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGs) representing the disability sector 1990/4
  • The Hamilton Community Arts Council 1997/99
  • Paraplegic and Physically Disabled Association Inc.(Parafed) Editor of newsletter "Paragraphs" for 10years
  • CCS Disability Action
  • The Tourist Industry Association
  • The Holiday Parks of NZ (HAPNZ)
  • Motel Association of NZ (MANZ)
  • Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) Assembly of People with Disabilities
  • Building Industry Authority 2000-2005
    Currently Chairs the Access Advisory Panel

Appointed to the NZ Council for Recreation and Sport 1984-1989
Renamed Hillary Commission, now named (SPARC) Sport & Recreation NZ

Elected to Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) National Executive by disability sector 1985-1992 and again in 1997-1999

Appointed to NZ Orthotic Board of Certification 1990-1992

President of the Federation of Information Centers 1990-1992

Photo of Alexia