The Attitude Awards 2016 Finalists

Proudly supported by ACC.

Youth Spirit Award

Madison Davy

Born profoundly deaf, Madison Davy received cochlear implants at 3-years-old. Learning to speak was a long road for Madi, but today she is an articulate student in Year 12 at Stratford High School. At just 17 years old she is already proving herself to be a valuable advocate for deaf New Zealanders - she was the first Student Representative on the combined Board of Trustees for the Kelston and Van Asch Deaf Education Centres. One of Madi’s key achievements is her establishment of a youth group for hearing-impaired young people between the ages of 13 and 24 throughout Taranaki.

Holly Diepraam

Holly Diepraam cannot remember a time when she was not dancing. Despite being born with club foot and undergoing multiple surgeries since she was six months old, Holly has a passion for modern dance, especially musical theatre-style. Holly teaches jazz, tap, hip hop and contemporary at three different dance schools in Christchurch. She is also in her third year of a BA in cultural studies at The University of Canterbury and has choreographed the last three productions for the university’s Musical Theatre Society, including their current production of ‘Hair’. Holly's long-term goals is to expand her own business Holly Diepraam Dance and teach dance in primary schools.

Eilish Wilkes

Eilish Wilkes lives with an inoperable brain tumour, which has resulted in her being legally blind. She also lives with stroke-like migraine attacks as a result of radiation therapy, and she has chronic fatigue and pain... but she has constantly given back. She's been involved with CanTeen and is working alongside the Ministry of Health towards improving the quality of care for young cancer patients. Eilish is also a talented writer whose book 'Hospital Happenings' walks a child through the daunting experience of going to hospital, in a way that’s not scary.

Making a Difference Award

Wendy Duff

Wendy Duff is a committed advocate for families, informed by her own experiences as a parent to Elliot who is on the Autism Spectrum. Wendy walks alongside families to help them navigate the system and achieve the best life possible for people with Autism. In 2000, Wendy started a 12-year term on the Autism NZ board (7yrs as president). Alongside her work with families and Autism NZ she is also a representative for two Ministry of Health working groups. In 2013 Wendy became a Member of the NZ Order of Merit.

Debra Lampshire

Debra Lampshire uses her personal experience of mental illness to inform her work and support others. She is an academic and an advocate, empowering people to be active participants in their own recovery. She felt powerless when at 17 she was committed to Kingseat Psychiatric Hospital and stayed within those confines for 18 years. Today, Debra is passionate about people reaching their full potential “recovery should mean having a life worth living, the life you would choose for yourself … its about expecting and working for the best that you can be".

Hamish Taverner

51-year-old Hamish Taverner has been at the forefront of advocacy for New Zealanders with a learning disability for over 20 years. Up until recently he was the Central Region president (his second term) and National Chairperson of People First New Zealand Nga Tangata Tuatahi, a self-advocacy organisation that is led and directed by people with learning disabilities. He undertakes service evaluations for Standards & Monitoring Services (SAMS). Alongside his advocacy work Hamish is a Global Messenger with Special Olympics and is currently working for Malatest International as a researcher, interviewing people living in residential homes about their lives.

Emerging Athlete Award

Tupou Seini Neiufi

Tupou Seini Neiufi was hit by a speeding car at the age of two, which resulted in a traumatic brain injury and caused hemiplegia or paralysis to her left side. Her family was warned she may never regain any mobility. But Tupou has well and truly proven the doctors wrong. Tupou began swimming as a form of physiotherapy, but the sport has become a passion. She is now a world-class swimmer who made race finals at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Since racing at the Games, her enthusiasm for the sport has grown and she plans to win medals next time.

Chris Arbuthnott

Swimmer Chris Arbuthnott is racking up personal achievements in the pool, including breaking the one minute mark in the 100m freestyle in last year’s NZ short-course champs, winning his first international medal in the Victoria open champs and personal bests at the Berlin para-swimming competition this year. Chris was born without his right arm below the elbow, and his ultimate aim is to make it to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. Outside of sport Chris is a high achiever academically. Currently still at high school, he has plans to become a sports psychologist, hoping to eventually help the next generation of athletes who live with disability to achieve their dreams.

Guy Harrison

Guy Harrison was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at the age of 3. The first sport he got involved in was golf when he was just five-years-old as his doctor recommended it as the twisting movements would aid his mobility. He now has an impressive handicap of 11! He was invited to join the Hawke’s Bay Junior Golf Academy and now represents Hawke’s Bay at events. His ultimate sporting goal is to represent NZ at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in his other passion - middle distance running. Guy holds the NZ Men's Open Para 1500m and 800m records, something he ranks as the highlights of his running career so far.

Sporting Spirit

Graeme Porter

Graeme Porter has committed thousands of hours to supporting basketball in his region. Alongside the Nelson Special Olympics team, Graeme was selected for the NZ Special Olympics basketball team in 2007 which travelled to the World Summer Games in Shanghai. He also represents Special Olympics as a Global messenger and is on the athletes committee in Nelson. Graeme lives with an intellectual disability, which mainly affects his speech and literacy. He is married to Nyssa who he met during high school through their shared love for swimming sports and they have a four-year-old daughter Lilly-Rose.

Grant McKenzie

Grant McKenzie’s passion for powerlifting, rowing and athletics has sparked leadership opportunities through Special Olympics New Zealand. Living with Asperger’s has taught him the importance of treating everyone the way you want to be treated. He says sport has opened his eyes to lots of motivating people in the community and he has made friends for life. A huge highlight was competing in powerlifting at the Special Olympic Summer World Games in Los Angeles last year where he won two gold and two silver medals.

Special Olympics - New Zealand Basketball Team

The Special Olympics World Summer Games are held every four years. In 2015, amongst the more than 10,000 athletes and coaches participating in 25 sports, one team’s dedication and sportsmanship made their country particularly proud - the New Zealand Basketball team. The team produced the best ever performance by a New Zealand basketball team at a Special Olympics World Games with an overall 6th placing. This provided the team with a silver medal in division 2. But the big highlight was coming 1st place in sportsmanship and winning the Deloitte Trophy.

The Spirit of Attitude Award

Cystic Sisters

Sisters Kristie and Nikki were born with Cystic Fibrosis and were not expected to live beyond 18-years-old. Now 33 and 25 respectively, they are both married and have children, but physio and stays in hospital are a regular part of their lives. In the lead up to Cystic Fibrosis week last year, the sisters decided they wanted to give back. They spread awareness of organ donation and cystic fibrosis by doing good deeds, such as delivering home baking to emergency services, hospital security and lifeguards, and collecting used clothing and toys to donate to good causes.

Cayley Colyer

Cayley Colyer loves to share with other people who live with intellectual disability how she lives a full life. She plays sport, has a boyfriend, she's flatting and she's the first person with an intellectual disability to be employed by the Papakura Art Gallery. Cayley also squeezes in some voluntary work at Middlemore Hospital where she mans the information desk, and a rest home where she helps with activities and the exercise class.

Ese Aumalesulu

Originally from Samoa, Ese Aumalesulu came to New Zealand with his father and brother when he was 7. Ese’s Mother had died when he was 3, and his father was in search for a better future for his sons. Ese lives with a visual impairment and reads braille music and some printed music using a magnifier. After completing high school at Manurewa, Ese completed a music diploma through MAINZ. He plays piano, guitar, bass and drums (and more) and now works as a music teacher. A highlight of his teaching career so far includes taking 10 students with no training in music through to winning the national Bandquest competition.

Artistic Achievement Award

Rodney Bell

Rodney Bell has performed as a professional dancer for over 20 years. A motorcycle accident in 1991 had left him with a spinal injury. To keep active he originally played sport, then became a founding member of Touch Compass, New Zealand’s only professional inclusive dance company. Rodney relocated to the USA in 2007 to work with dance company Axis, but in 2012 ended up on the streets. He eventually came back home, and this year he has been choreographing a Creative NZ funded work which includes the story of how he survived being homeless on the streets of San Francisco.

Steff Green

A self-described ‘mad, blind, heavy metal loving chick’, Steff is a USA Today best-selling author of 12 novels, several short stories and poems and a handful of creative guides. Steff was born with the rare genetic condition achromatopsia which has resulted in colour blindness, extreme sensitivity to light and extreme short-sightedness. A passionate advocate for independent musicians, authors and artists - Steff is regularly called on as an expert on the topics of metal and goth subculture, creativity, writing, self-publishing and living with a disability.

James King

James was a successful radio host at Newstalk ZB when a series of mental health issues led to him losing his career and living between hospitals and on the streets. James took up painting in 2007 when he was diagnosed with depression, and believes this was a major factor in his recovery, giving him meaning and direction in life. James is also a great supporter of fellow artists and his talent blended with his humble nature makes him both a figure to aspire to while accessible in multiple ways.

Entrepreneur Award

John Burton

John Burton imports over 40% of all coffee beans into New Zealand, supplying coffee beans to hundreds of coffee roasters. His life was turned upside down when at 38, he woke from complex heart surgery to find he was paralysed from the chest down. He had two young children and a growing businesses so he continued to work from his hospital bed in the spinal unit. Twenty-one years on, John still travels the world, often to less developed countries, and has hardly ever taken a sick day.

Genevieve McLachlan

Ten years ago Genevieve McLachlan established her own business, supplying equipment and training to enhance the lives of disabled and older people. The idea for the unique service came about when Genevieve became frustrated with being treated as a list of symptoms rather than a whole person with complex and changing needs. Legally blind, Genevieve also has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair - and a lot of the adaptive equipment to manage her successful business. She was named in the 2016 Queens Birthday Honours List as a Member of the NZ Order of Merit for Services to People with Disabilities. (MNZM). She says it dispelled any doubts she may have had.

Bryce Dinneen

In 2007 Bryce Dinneen broke several vertebrae after he dived into shallow water on Wellington harbour and spent 11 months in Burwood Spinal Unit. Unable to move from the chest down Bryce thought the thing he most enjoyed in life was now out of reach. But a day out in a friends boat made him realise that where there is a will there is a way. Bryce has taken his passion for fishing and created a charitable trust called Wish for Fish - creating opportunities for people with disabilities to experience the joy of being out on the water.

ACC Employer Award

Genera Ltd

Genera Limited is a bio-security company for logging imports and exports. Their Napier Port branch is run by Operations Manager Gavin Smales, who employs five people who live with disability. He actively encourages people with disabilities to begin employment by contacting Workbridge when he’s recruiting staff. An Attitude Awards finalist in 2015, in the last year the team of 10 have welcomed night watch person Morgan Pellew, who is an arm amputee.

Lifemark Ltd

Lifemark promote greater accessibility in newly built homes. They work alongside designers and builders to offer advice on how to make best use of space in a home, based on the principles of Universal Design. Lifemark values the input that a team-member with life experience of disability can to their business. Adam Wakeford was a newly-qualified builder when a swimming pool accident left him a C5/6 tetraplegic at age 22. Looking to remain in the industry he loved, he got into architectural drafting then became a ‘barrier free advisor’ (specialist in accessibility design) through the barrier free trust. Lifemark have adapted the workplace for Adam - which includes providing him with a trackball mouse for his computer, extra screens and a heater.

Coffee Educators

Not long after opening Co-Ed Cafe and the associated training school, Claire Matheson began running courses for students of Newlands College Deaf unit. The company has now grown into a diverse business that looks at people’s capabilities. Specifically, NZSL has now become an integral part of the business - used in meetings and training, and they have menus in sign language. Coffee Educators also now has a contract with the MSD to train their clients and assist them into work. They focus on hearing impaired clients, youth and those with barriers to finding employment, and the whole course is able to be taught in NZSL.