Whānau Carers

We believe in strengthening the communities of support that surround people with neuromuscular conditions.  We value the importance of family members and encourage them to join our organisation. 

Depending on the circumstances, family/whānau carers may be able to access fieldworker services and take advantage of the free counselling available to MDA members. 

There are also a number of great resources available.  To find out more, click on the link below and refer to the list of links at the bottom of this page.

Whānau Support

If you are caring for a family member or a loved one with a neuromuscular condition, then MDA can help support you. As a member of The Carers Alliance, the MDA values family/whānau in a holistic sense and recognises the impacts of supporting a loved one with a progressive condition.

The MDA offers three main support services to family carers of an MDA member: funded access to counselling, a fieldworker service and a peer to peer support network. Family carers may include parents, partners, children, siblings or extended whānau providing hands on support to someone with a neuromuscular condition. You must have a membership number to access these services.


The MDA offers a confidential, nationwide counselling service programme through Raise (formerly EAP Works) where up to three free one hour sessions per year are provided to either individuals living with a condition, or a family carer providing hands on support*.

Counselling is a ‘talking therapy’ that can help you work through a range of life challenges, such as grief, anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties or managing change. To access this service, phone 0800 SELFHELP (735 343) to discuss your needs and make an appointment with a counsellor in your area. Alternatively, you can fill out an online booking form here.

You must provide your MDA membership number at the time of making an appointment. If you do not know your membership number please contact MDA National Office on 0800 800 337 or email [email protected] to request it.

Please note that the MDA can only fund up to three sessions in any 12 month period. If further sessions are needed, your counsellor will need to make a request to the MDA for more funding to provide extra sessions. Further funding is at the MDA’s discretion and is based on available funds, as well as need. You are of course free to undertake further sessions with the counsellor at your own expense.

*Raise verifies the credentials of its counsellors and while MDA has taken reasonable steps to ensure the quality of the service provider, MDA cannot take responsibility for any failings of Raise in the provision of this service. All sessions are provided at the discretion of the MDA and are reliant on funds being available.

Fieldworker Service

The MDA also provides a Fieldworker service. The Fieldworkers provide one on one advice, support and advocacy, mainly by home visits, phone, or email. They understand both the neuromuscular conditions we cover and the New Zealand health and disability support systems. As an MDA member or family carer of an MDA member, this service is provided free of charge through the MDA branches. To find out more, click here.

Support Network

The MDA Support Network allows people with similar circumstances or challenges to come together to share their experiences and provide each other with emotional and moral support in addition to practical advice and information. By bringing together people with common experiences, support networks can provide an invaluable addition to medical care. The MDA of New Zealand Support Network currently has over 600 members throughout New Zealand.

How can you be a part of the MDA Support Network?

If you are an existing member of the MDA then please phone 0800 800 337 or email [email protected] to request the MDA Support Network Application Form.

If you are currently NOT a member of the MDA then you will need to join first. Click here to be taken to our application form, as part of the process of joining you are asked if you would like to be part of the MDA Support Network. Complete the form and then scan and email to [email protected] or post to:

PO Box 12063

Useful links

Other groups or resources you may find useful are listed below:

Carers NZ 

Complex Carers 

Parent to Parent

MOH respite and carer support 

WINZ Supported Living Payment

Kiwi Kids with DMD is a Facebook support group for parents of Kiwi kids with DMD. They describe themselves as 'a group where we can all chat and share our experiences and ideas together, and support each other, friends, families and our Kiwi kids with DMD. Anybody is welcome to join'.