The Attitude Awards honour the outstanding achievements of New Zealanders living with disabilities, whether from injuries or other circumstances. We are proud to be the principal sponsor of the Attitude Awards.
The 2016 Awards were held at the ASB showgrounds on the 29 November. ACC Board member Des Gorman presented the ACC Employer award, which acknowledges employers who provide outstanding recruitment and retention opportunities for people with disabilities.
Our Chief Executive, Scott Pickering, presented the Attitude ACC Supreme Award and spoke of how important the Awards are to changing perceptions of New Zealanders with disabilities.
Congratulations to all the finalists and winners. Learn more about the winners and their stories by watching the award highlights on the Attitudelive website.
Supreme Winner: Debra Lampshire
Youth Spirit Award: Eilish Wilkes
Making a Difference Award: Debra Lampshire
Emerging Athlete Award: Tupou Seini Neiufi
Sporting Spirit: Graeme Porter
The Spirit of Attitude Award: Ese Aumalesulu
Artistic Achievement Award: Rodney Bell
Entrepreneur Award: John Burton
ACC Employer Award: Genera Ltd
People’s Choice Award: Guy Harrison
2016 Hall of Fame Inductee: Anne Hawker
Here are the past recipients of the Attitude ACC Supreme Award:
2015 winner: Muskan Devta
Muskan Devta is a published author, award winner and inspirational speaker. She is on a mission to make positive change in the world.
In 2013 Muskan published her first autobiography, I Dream, to raise money for Starship Children’s Hospital where she underwent corrective surgery.
When she turned 15, she donated $500 of her birthday money to support the Breakfast Club, a programme providing breakfast for low decile schools in Auckland.
Her selflessness has only grown stronger over the years and her goals are bigger and more ambitious. She is currently raising funds to build two classrooms at a school for blind children in India. This month she started a popular social media movement Makes a Difference (#makesadifference) that encourages others to perform random acts of kindness and promotes empathy and understanding.
Muskan dreams of becoming an ambassador for children with disabilities. She’d like to promote inclusiveness and empathy for children who grow up like her – feeling different because of their disability.
2014 winner: Mary Fisher
Mary Fisher is an international swimming success and a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her service to swimming.
She scored a gold medal, two silvers and a bronze at the London Paralympics, five gold medals and a silver at the 2013 IPC World Championships and six golds at the 2014 Pan Pacific Para-swimming Championships.
In between her swimming successes and a gruelling weekly training programme, Mary is helping to ensure other young people have the confidence to achieve their goals. Mary has been a youth mentor with Blind Foundation since 2007. She’s combined her study in a BA in Psychology and Human Development with working as a Parent Support Worker, with families who have a child who is blind or has low vision, and she joins training sessions and speaks at camps with young developing swimmers beginning their Paralympic journey.
2013 winner: Robyn Hunt
Robyn’s experiences of living with vision impairment, coupled with her strong sense of social justice, have fuelled her passion for human rights and disability advocacy for more than 30 years.
Robyn has paved the way for the inclusion of people with disabilities. She has worked as a journalist and policy-maker. During her eight years as Human Rights Commissioner, Robyn played a major role in driving the commission to hold an inquiry into the accessibility of public transport. She also worked on New Zealand’s National Disability strategy and represented the country in New York during the negotiations of the United Nations Disabled Convention.
Robyn now runs a communications company that ensures websites, information and communications are accessible to all. She also writes a blog about human rights and disability issues called Low Visionary and travels around the country speaking about these issues.
2012 winner: Sharon (Shaz) Davies
West Auckland woman Sharon Davies was awarded both the Spirit of Attitude Award and the 2012 Attitude ACC Supreme Award.
Sharon, better known as Shaz, describes herself as “small body, big attitude”, which she uses to make sure Swanson, Waitakere, is accessible.
Shaz was born with spina bifida and spent much of her young life at the Wilson Home in Takapuna, until she was deemed able to live independently.
She makes a huge contribution to the West Auckland community, through her organisation of film nights, community meetings and her work to ensure the station, parks and other areas are accessible for wheelchairs, pushchairs and the elderly.
2011 winner: Mike Gourley
Mike Gourley, journalist, researcher and host of the radio show One in Five was awarded the 2011 Attitude ACC Supreme Award.
Born with a rare congenital condition, where his arms did not fully develop and also caused a heart condition, Mike has advocated for the rights of disabled people to participate in the community, in workplaces and on the sports field on the same basis as their nondisabled counterparts.
As a broadcaster he brings visibility to major disability issues in New Zealand and helps people living with disabilities tell mainstream public audience their stories, ensuring their issues are heard by a mainstream public audience.
2010 winner: Melanie Sloan
Melanie Sloan, a compassionate and spirited Oamaru teacher, won the 2010 ‘Attitude ACC Supreme Award’.
Melanie has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which is a painful inflammation of the joints that is characterized by swelling, heat, and living with chronic pain.
In spite of this Melanie decided at an early age to excel academically and help others. Melanie put her own disability aside to help advance the wellbeing of other people.
After talking with the IHC, she invited a person with Downs Syndrome to live with her and helped her to become more independent. Melanie also helps buddy a girl with an intellectual disability.
2009 winner: Robbie Francis
20 year old Robbie is a student at Waikato University and has Phocomelia Syndrome. This means she was born without several bones in her legs. After major reconstructive surgery she now wears a prosthetic limb.
Robbie has been to Bangladesh doing volunteer work with disabled children and has taught English in Calcutta slum schools. She also sponsors a World Vision child with a similar condition to hers and looks after a seven year-old girl with severe cerebral palsy three days a week.
2008 winner: Suzanne Cowan
Talented dancer and choreographer Suzanne Cowan recently completed a Masters in Creative and Performing Arts at Auckland University. Her thesis is on how dance and disability can be combined as a powerful way of shifting perceptions around disability.
Suzanne says she wants to see if through dance she can break the idea of disability. By exploring the ‘grotesque’, she hopes to move away from classic dance movements. Suzanne was invited to present her work at the ‘Art of Difference’ festival in Melbourne in March 2009.
Reviewed: 24 November 2016