We meet up with the woman whose life saving dog inspired a new assistance animal service. And we talk with an Avatar critic who's panning the blockbuster's portrayal of disability…But first we're joined by Helen Johnson who made the finals in last month's inaugural New Zealand Awards.

Helen Johnson's a mother of an intellectually impaired daughter. That got her involved with parent to parent, helping other families facing similar challenges. And it led her into work with Special Olympics - a role Helen Johnson says she's relished for ten years.

According to Maori, the Kotuku or White Heron is a sacred 'bird of one flight' - believed to've brought gifts from heaven only to return and never to be seen again. 'He kotuku rerenga tahi' - 'A white heron whose flight is seen only once'. It's that story that's inspired Whanganui woman Merenia Donne to set up the Kotuku Foundation: Assistance Animals Aotearoa. Well, that story and the memory of Nikki - her German Shepherd who Merenia Donne says saved her life after a car crash. Sadly, Nikki died of bone cancer a few years back. But it was Nikki's efforts to free her from her crashed car that Merenia Donne says got her thinking about the help dogs can provide in every day living

Contact details for Merenia: (021) 298 4741

It's the fourth D in Avatar - that's D for Disability - that's got English disability policy researcher Alison Wilde hopping mad. Alison joins me from her home in the northern town of York.