Monday, 16 May 2022 21:31

Sunflower Scheme at Sudima Hotels

Sudima Hotel Group has rolled out the Hidden Disability Sunflower Scheme across all hotels, spas and restaurants making it the first fully accessible hotel group in New Zealand.

One in four New Zealanders identifies as having a disability, impairment, or access need, requiring support or adjustments to thrive. The Hidden Disability Sunflower Scheme offers the wearer the opportunity to communicate their need for support discreetly with a sunflower lanyard, pin or bracelet. 


Users of the scheme will feel supported and welcomed within Sudima Hotels, Moss Spas and the groups restaurants, with its staff at all these businesses ready to offer any support wearers may need during their stay, meal or spa treatment. This includes allowing more time during check-in, offering a quiet place or seat, and assisting with additional information if needed. Most importantly, the team will not assume but ask, “What can we do to support you during your stay?” or “How can we make your treatment really special?” By listening to the guest’s needs, the team will design an experience individual to them.


Following in the footsteps of Air New Zealand and the Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown and Gold Coast Airports, Hind Managements adoption of the scheme supports guests and customers who may need a little more time or support during their travels.  A number of the group’s hotels are conveniently located at member airport locations in Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown.


Phillipa Gimmillaro, Chief People Officer for Hind Management, says, “The scheme seems like the perfect connection between our people and their passion to support our guests and customers with access needs to have a great experience within our hotels, spas and dining outlets. It fits with the Hind Management and Sudima Hotels ethos as foundation members of the Accessible Tick Programme. With all our hotels either designed with accessibility in mind or with physical environments audited for accessibility, it’s a natural addition to the experience we already offer.


“As a parent of a neurodiverse child, I have been filled with joy seeing our teams embrace the scheme and look forward to welcoming more guests who may have previously had poor experiences or lacked support when travelling with hidden disabilities. Our employees are also encouraged to discuss hidden disabilities within their team and seek any adjustments from management that may support them in their role due to a hidden disability.”


Sunflower lanyards will be available from the groups businesses front desk or reception staff to give to guests or customers. There is no charge for customers, who are not required to disclose their details or their hidden disability to receive one. Sunflower wearers will also have the option of additional assistance in the event of an emergency or evacuation.


Autistic Disability Advocate Joanne Dacombe says, “I'm thrilled to see the sunflower lanyard being introduced in New Zealand wider than just airports and by a well-known group of companies. It sets a great example for other businesses to follow. It is so important for those with hidden disabilities to feel welcomed and to know they can be discreetly supported. It will help alleviate a lot of anxiety. 

“I'm excited about the timing being Autism Awareness Month, as people with autism spectrum disorder are one group with a hidden disability who often need the extra support the lanyard can signal is required. I am so pleased the lanyard has been implemented by the Hind Management group and Sudima Hotels, and backed up by training, because the training is a vital component."


Hind Management, in connection with Bayley House, a disability support provider, supports the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme by ensuring all staff are trained and understand the scheme prior to implementation. Justin Bruce, General Manager, Marketing for Bayley House, says, “One person and one business at a time we are working toward a global community that moves beyond accepting into celebrating differences. Please join us.”