The hidden disabilities sunflower scheme is an international programme that enables people with non-visible disabilities a discrete way to indicate to staff at participating organisations that they have a hidden disability and may need a little extra support, guidance, understanding, or time.

If you have a disability that isn’t immediately obvious to airport and AvSec staff, such as; autism, ADHD, dementia, a hearing or visual or impairment, anxiety (or one of the many invisible disabilities) you may want to wear a hidden disability sunflower lanyard at the airport.

How to get a lanyard

Check with your airport in advance on how to apply for a free sunflower lanyard. Auckland Airport(external link), Wellington Airport(external link), Christchurch Airport(external link) and Queenstown Airport(external link) participate in the hidden disability sunflower scheme.

You don’t need to provide proof of your disability to apply for your sunflower lanyard. The lanyard will be yours to keep and use for future journeys or outings where the scheme is recognised.

What to expect when you are wearing a lanyard

Airport and AvSec staff are trained to recognise the sunflower lanyard and to provide you with any help you may need at the different stages of your journey through the airport. For example, if you are feeling overwhelmed, staff can slow down the process for you, keep things quiet and offer extra assurance.

By wearing a lanyard, our staff will recognise you have a hidden disability and may need a little extra help or time. However, they won’t know what your specific disability is or the challenges or issues you may face. If you do have special requirements, please contact your airline and make sure they are aware of any special assistance requirements you may have. 

More about the hidden disabilities scheme(external link)