Living an independent and amazing life – Toria Newman

Toria Newman has lived quite a life. She’s authored an inspirational autobiography and three novels; she is a social media whizz, known for her perceptive comments on current events which has enabled her to make friends all over the world; and she is proof that, with the right support, those who are elderly and those with disabilities can live independent and amazing lives.

“I have Cerebral Palsy and so I live a different kind of life than many other people in my community,” says Toria. “My first ten years were spent mostly in hospital with doctors being quite adamant that I could not be expected to live past the age of 18 – they were obviously wrong about that. Then, in 1981, I had a heart attack and had to be resuscitated. In 1996, I gained an Honours Degree in History and Spanish Language from Waikato University. In 2020, I wrote my life story and, in 2014, wrote and published my first novel.”

Toria has since added to her series of books featuring the exploits of Robbie Mount, a young woman detective with Cerebral Palsy who has limited speech and spends most of her time in her wheelchair.

“As I’ve become older,” she says, “my disability has become worse. Being in a wheelchair means I find many of the tasks others would take for granted difficult. That has been a threat to my independence, and I’ve had to change my life in such a big way so that I can remain in my own home.

One of the changes Toria has had to make is to arrange suitable in-home help.

“There came a point in my life when I realised that I could no longer live in my own home without some support from others. I first heard of Visionwest through a friend who worked there. A lady came out to talk about my needs and how they could best support me. She was lovely and set everything up.”

Most of us are like Toria. We value our independence and enjoy the familiarity of our own home. Toria knows that would not be possible without home help.

“My Visionwest carers visit me three times a day. That enables me to live at home without worrying. Not only do they do practical tasks for me, if I’m not feeling well, I have the security of knowing there are three carers who will check on me during the day and get help if it’s needed.”

Now in her 70s, Toria lives in the Waikato with her cats Gussy and Ben. Her third Robbie Mount novel is due out later this year. Toria’s books are available from, or you can visit her website

About Visionwest Waka Whakakitenga

For almost 30 years, Visionwest Waka Whakakitenga, a charitable trust and one of New Zealand's largest private in-home healthcare providers, has been supplying a full range of quality support services to the elderly and those with disabilities to enable them to remain living independently in their own homes.

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