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About Us


Proudly enriching the lives of New Zealanders and their families by providing purpose-bred and trained Assistance Dogs

Our Story

Our Story

"72% of our clients are children and young adults under 20 years old, and 50% of our clients live with autism and often multiple disorders".

Assistance Dogs New Zealand Trust (ADNZT) is a registered charitable trust, providing purpose-trained dogs to clients living with a range of disabilities. We are committed to providing a quality service that evaluates each applicant individually and provides assessment, training, and follow-up to each individual client's specific needs. We provide our service to people with a wide range of disabilities.

Our mission is to enrich the lives of New Zealanders living with a disability. 72% of our clients are children and young adults under 20 years old, and 50% of our clients live with autism and often multiple disorders. Each of our clients are individuals - we take on New Zealanders with disabilities who have no other organisation to turn to and work collaboratively with other NZ service-dog organisations to refer the rest. 

Our organisation has government-granted public rights access for all our dogs under the Human Rights Act 1993 and Dog Control Act 1996. We are a member of and internationally accredited by Assistance Dogs International and are incredibly proud of the high standard of dogs we provide for our clients throughout the country. 

Our History

"Creating an organisation in New Zealand to cater for this gap of service in our community."

ADNZT was founded in 2008 by Julie and Rick Hancox after Julie left the field of a prominent service dog organisation.

During her career, she came across people with various disabilities that did not receive the same access to service dogs. There was nowhere for people with disabilities such as Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and Diabetes to go to obtain a dog to assist with their disability with legal public access rights.

After being introduced to families bringing in dogs from the US to assist their children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Julie took on the challenge of creating an organisation in New Zealand to cater for this gap of service in our community.

Julie formulated her own dog training programme and with the constant assistance and support of Rick, Assistance Dogs New Zealand Trusts now services over 40 clients New Zealand-wide with a waiting list that is continuously growing beyond the capabilities of this unique and successful charitable organisation.

The ADNZT team continues to offer great things to the community through strong breeding stock, professional training and dog assessment programs and a consistently high placement success rate. Without a doubt, the team are committed to our cause and work tirelessly to overcome the many obstacles that come our way.

Access Rights

Access Rights

In 2010, ADNZT was granted full access rights under New Zealand Legislation, allowing all ADNZT pups and dogs to travel in public places. This means that an ADNZT staff member, volunteer, or client has the right to take an ADNZT puppy or dog into any public place - including, supermarkets, shopping malls, food outlets, motels or hotels, movie theatres and restaurants. They are also entitled to travel on all forms of public transport. Discrimination against persons relying on or training an Assistance Dog may be considered a breach of the Human Rights Act 1993 and/or Dog Control Act 1996.



Reporting Back

We're committed to remaining open and honest with our supporters and stakeholders at all times.


Click here to read our 2023 annual report.


Click here to access our latest, full financial report.


You can also find publicly available information about us on the Charity Services Website.

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