The 2017 Attitude Awards Finalists
Proudly supported by ACC
Attitude Youth Spirit Award
Sponsored by Barfoot & Thompson
Talented folk singer Emma Cooper-Williams uses music as an outlet to express the chronic pain she endures from living with cerebral palsy and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Despite this, she sees her disabilities as motivation to push beyond her limits. Along with her unique voice, the 19-year-old plays the guitar, keyboard, drums and banjo. She won the Play It Strange Peace Song Competition in 2014, the Live For Tomorrow Change Makers Lyric Award, and the APRA Lyric Writer’s Award at the 2016 Smokefree Rockquest. What Emma’s most proud of is her role as a leader within the disability community. Emma is the Undergraduate Representative on the Disability Programme Advisory Group at the University of Auckland, Co-Vice Chair of the Cerebral Palsy Society Youth Alliance Board, and the youngest participant in the Be Leadership development course for people with disabilities. Emma’s also making an enormous contribution to StarJam, as a volunteer and tutor.
Eva McGauley has terminal cancer but this hasn’t stopped her quest to make New Zealand a safe place for her loved ones once she's gone. She wants to end the sexual abuse, which sees one in three girls, and one in seven boys abused by the age of 16. Eva recently secured the Government's commitment for a free 24/7 online chat service for sexual abuse counselling. The 18-year-old has inspired people throughout the country and started the conversation around sexual abuse. Something Eva often challenges people on is "why does it take me dying for someone to take action?" Eva has already been recognised at the New Zealand Youth Awards (and as a key note speaker) in the Giving Back Category 2017, she’s also in the book '200 Women Who Will Change the Way You See The World'.
Catherine Pot is a self-confessed science geek, making it her mission to inspire other young women to enter this typically male-dominated field. The 19-year-old won the 2016 Prime Minister's Future Scientist Prize, and the Best Overall Exhibit at the Wellington Regional Science Fair. Currently, she’s studying physics at Wellington’s Victoria University, and uses a Segway to get around campus due to a spinal cord injury as a baby. Catherine has been participating in national and international physics tournaments since 2013 taking her to Korea, Thailand and Russia. Her particular strength is in electromagnetism, a field most other Physics students try and avoid. This classic over-achiever also plays the harp, and captains a target shooting team.
Attitude Making a Difference Award
Sponsored by Ministry of Health
Wendy Duff is an unsung hero, a humble woman with amazing energy and wealth of knowledge, experience and compassion for kids with autism, and their families. Wendy has a son with ASD so organised one-on-one teaching for him from an early age, then was instrumental in opening an educational unit after discovering there were no specialist options available. Over the last 21 years, Wendy has supported countless families in crisis with their children with ASD, working tirelessly despite her own health challenges, including a liver transplant. She makes herself available day and night fighting for the rights of those who can’t fight themselves. She’s made it her mission to be elected to boards, fundraise and publicly speak on behalf of families affected by ASD.
Brian Benn has been a Special Olympics snow sports coach, team manager and mentor for more than 25-years. Most recently, Brian was Head of the 20-strong New Zealand Delegation for the 2017 Special Olympics in Austria. Despite Brian being a full-time, and well-respected employee of the New Zealand Police, he devotes his spare time planning and running snow sports training camps throughout the year for Special Olympics athletes. As well as snow sports, he’s also has been involved in Ten Pin Bowling coaching and is encouraging and supportive of the athletes with intellectual disabilities.
Professor Louise Nicholson
Professor Louise Nicholson is an-internationally respected neuroscientist, having dedicated her life to it. She’s passionate about making a difference in the lives of people with spinal cord injuries. As part of Professor Richard Faull’s development of the Centre for Brain Research Centre (CBR), a concerted focus was put on all neurological issues and research to improve their outcomes. Louise's contribution to science has extended to her enthusiasm for one of the largest student competitions in NZ, the Brain Bee Challenge, to promote neuroscience careers to NZ youth in 2007. After years of terrible headaches, which had been put down to migraines from working too hard, Louise was diagnosed with a brain tumour. There was a period of recovery, before she returned to work at Auckland University. Louise and her husband Jon also donated $1 million to support PhD students working to find a cure for spinal cord injuries.
Attitude Leadership Award
Sponsored by Datacom
Glen Terry is passionate about making a positive difference for the disabled community. As a young man with Down syndrome, he understands the importance of good support. Glen is the President for the Hamilton and Midland branch of People First, an advocacy group for people with learning disabilities, and is on the Enabling Good Lives leadership team. Glen is a strong advocate for information being presented in Easy Read, a writing format that’s easy and straightforward to understand. As a result, he began his own business called 'Readable by Glen', offering translation services so everyone can read and understand them. Outside his professional work, Glen coaches a local primary school basketball team, and volunteers for a conservation project.
Graeme Porter is striving to be one of Nelson’s great leaders. He’s the Captain of the Nelson Special Olympics Basketball Team and the Chairperson on the Athletics Committee. He stepped in as the local coach and is taking his leadership skills nationwide. Graeme’s also a Global Messenger for Special Olympics New Zealand, inspiring other athletes to travel overseas. Graeme is an athlete representative on the Board of Special Olympics New Zealand where he attends regular meetings and makes big decisions on the future of it. Most importantly, he leads by example for his wife and daughter, providing them with the best opportunities he can.
Hamish Taverner has been at the forefront of advocacy for New Zealanders with learning disabilities for more than 20-years. Until recently, he was the Central Region President (his second term) and National Chairperson of People First. Hamish undertakes service evaluations for Standards & Monitoring Services (SAMS), and has travelled domestically and internationally as a delegate representing various disability-focussed organisations. He’s liaised with the MOH in an advisory capacity, and been a voice for others with learning disabilities. 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.
The Spirit of Attitude Award
Sponsored by HealthCare NZ Ltd
Born with cerebral palsy, which affects her speech and mobility, Allyson Hamblett was accustomed to being singled out as different. She fought hard to attend university and qualified as a librarian but struggled to be fully accepted and find work. It was around this time she realised the gender she was born with didn’t ‘fit’, and began the journey of transitioning into a woman. Allyson sits on various boards such as CCS Disability Action and OutlineNZ (a support agency for LGBTQI+). She has petitioned Parliament to make it easier for trans, intersex and gender diverse people to update their birth, and citizenship certificates. In between campaigning and supporting others, Allyson also finds time to indulge her passion for art at Mapura Studios, a creative space for people living with disability and diversity. By positive example and tireless advocacy, Allyson is challenging society to celebrate difference and be more inclusive of transgender and disabled people.
Daryl Brougham was three months old when he first went into foster care. By the time he turned 18, he had attended 27 schools, been through over 30 social workers and moved around more than 80 different homes. He suffered repeated sexual, physical, emotional and psychological abuse. Rising above all the abuse, Daryl is now 36 and holds a Bachelor of Social Work (Biculturalism in Practice). He helps others who have been through similar abuse and is passionate about improving New Zealand’s foster care system. Daryl wrote the book 'Through the Eyes of a Foster Child', documenting the abuse he experienced while in foster care, and does free public speaking to share his story. In 2015, he received an official apology from the Ministry of Social Development for a litany of errors, including failure to follow their own procedures and placing him with unapproved caregivers. Despite all the trauma he endured, Daryl holds no ill-feelings, anger or resentment, he simply wants to ensure others don’t suffer the same torture.
Geneva Hakaraia-Tino is non-verbal but this intelligent and driven young woman has a lot to say. She gets around in a wheelchair due to living with cerebral palsy, and uses a computerised TalkLink device to communicate. Despite these challenges, Geneva completed a Bachelor of Communication Studies and is studying Te Reo Maori. Geneva's a mentor with TalkLink at Kiwichat camps for children who use AAC communication. She acts as a voice for kids who are finding theirs, and reassures parents that like her, their children can achieve whatever they set their mind to. Geneva's determined to make computerised communication devices more advanced and accessible for everyone. She's on a crusade to get a Kiwi accent for the devices, and add Te Reo so she and others can converse with Whanau and be more immersed in their culture.
Attitude Artistic Achievement Award
Sponsored by Manawanui in Charge
Andrew McMillan was a promising saxophonist when a BMX accident left him paralysed from the arms down. He discovered electronic music and improvisation as a new way to express himself creatively. His compositions and performance work is used across a number of genres such as theatre, dance, film & TV, and is featured nationally and internationally. The establishment of ‘Vitamin S’ weekly pool nights in 2002 was devised by Andrew as a place where those interested in improvised performance could meet and perform. Andrew says “I like the idea of exploring new music, enabling people to experience new music which opens their mind to more than just mainstream stuff.” He was presented the Big ‘A’ Artistic Achievement Award 2013, and is the Chairman of the Audio Foundation, a charitable trust promoting the creation, production and dissemination of innovative New Zealand audio.
Steff Green is a New York Times bestselling author of paranormal romance, urban fantasy and dark science fiction. Although her genres acquire different pen names, the work is all produced and self-published by her. Steff is legally blind having been born with the rare genetic condition Achromatopsia. Her condition causes colour blindness and means she has both extreme sensitivity to light and short-sightedness. Growing-up, Steff didn’t have many friends and she developed a love of reading and making-up stories. Today she writes more than 50,000 words a month and can't imagine doing anything else. She wants to use her platform to advocate for diversity in fiction, and highlight the struggles and stories of groups excluded from mainstream novels.
Jared Flitcroft is a talented filmmaker and trailblazer. He was the first Deaf student to graduate at the New Zealand Film School and has gone on to achieve critical acclaim for his short films, including the recently released 'Tama'. Jared wrote the film in 2011, which he describes as a coming-of-age film about a Deaf Māori boy from Kaikohe who wants to learn the haka. Although the short film is not autobiographical, he says its overall theme of isolation reflects his experiences. Despite his skill and passion, Jared struggled to work in the strongly hearing-led film industry. He decided to create his own inclusive projects and it's paid off with his film being shown in festivals around the world. Jared is the Chairperson of the 2017 Deaf Short Film Festival, where Tama is being shown.
Attitude Entrepreneur Award
Sponsored by Westpac
Bruce 'Pic' Picot
Pic Picot has boundless passion for his business and the people who work for it. Pic’s Peanut Butter is a household favourite in more than 12 countries, but not many people would know he has a visual impairment, Pic reckons his condition has contributed to his success, rather than hindered it. Pic is cherished by the Nelson community for his generosity of spirit, compassion and commitment to keeping jobs local, growing regional prosperity. Pic’s Peanut Butter started in good Kiwi fashion - using a concrete mixer in a garage. Twelve years on, it’s now a $15 million brand with 35 employees churning-out 3.5 million jars a year.
Robbie Francis is a dynamic young woman with a passion for making a difference. After witnessing first-hand how disadvantaged some of the world's disabled people are, she started The Lucy Foundation (named after her own prosthetic leg). It's her way to help improve the lives of people living with disabilities through coffee farming in Mexico. Robbie works with coffee farmers and their families, through an organic, sustainable and disability inclusive business model. On top of this, Robbie is studying a PhD at Otago University on the displacement of disabled people in conflict.
Victoria Lessing became Deaf when she was two years old. Far from seeing it as a disadvantage, Victoria believes Deaf culture and New Zealand Sign Language has enriched her life. This mum, university student and business owner has a lot on her plate, and feels the only barrier to her full inclusion in society is other people's lack of appreciation for her communication needs. It is part of the reason she started 'Merge.' Still in it's infancy but with some lofty goals, Merge offers tutorials in NZSL and Deaf culture as well as consultancy services to help businesses and other organisations to become more inclusive.
Attitude ACC Employer Award
Sponsored by ACC
Espresso Carwash Café
Espresso Carwash Café grooms more than 100 cars a day at one of the busiest intersections in Christchurch. Owner and operator Craig Freeman has been praised for being accommodating and understanding of people with hidden disabilities, especially those with mental health challenges. When a person with a disability starts, they are paired with senior staff to ensure they learn the role. Craig is always willing to give people an extra chance when they have a rough start. He is very aware of the wellness of his staff and takes action if he sees something at odds with usual behaviour. The business offers flexible hours to suit each person. Craig is known for his approachable and friendly communication style, always being available for a chat.
Fairfax Media recognise the valuable contributions of disabled employees. Senior Manager Annamarie Jamieson has created eight jobs within Fairfax for people with disabilities through Creative Spirit, a programme providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Fairfax has made significant changes to many of its offices across New Zealand making them accessible and inclusive. The company allows flexible working hours, offering a comprehensive induction and training opportunities for employees with disabilities. All the workstations in their new Ponsonby office have height-adjustable desks catering to anyone with mobility needs. The Coffee Co-op is a coffee shop run by deaf baristas where people order through sign language. Fairfax brought in New Zealand Sign Language teachers to teach 350 employees how to use basic NZSL in one week to make sure they have the right java!
Hattrick Services Limited
Hattrick Services Limited is a business operating 16 Z Service Stations in Christchurch. They have a partnership agreement with Workbridge, to secure a flow of jobseeker talent. Some of their structures include flexible working conditions, additional breaks and shift overlaps to ensure they’re accommodating to all employees, including those with disabilities. Business partner Anton Hutton began the Z in Schools initiative to build pathways for disabled students from school into employment. This programme currently supports four young disabled students from Riccarton & Papanui high schools. A particular focus is made to ensure graduates of the programme are presented with NZQA certificates and NZEA 10 credits to contribute towards their school qualifications.
Three other Attitude Awards will be presented during the evening. These are different to our other awards in that only one person is acknowledged. They are:
Attitude Shining Light Award
Sponsored by Cigna
This award celebrates someone in the sporting realm who not only contributes to New Zealand on the world stage in the sporting arena, but is also someone who is doing great work to advance the lives of people who live with disability. This person may be an athlete, or someone who makes it possible for the athlete to shine in the spotlight.
Attitude Epic Award
Sponsored by Drake Medox
This award celebrates the unexpected and will be presented to someone who has broken pre-conceived ideas of what is possible when you live with disability. It is all about truely interesting talents and is relative to the winner's disability.
Attitude New Zealand Invictus Award
This award recognises the undefeated spirit of the disabled servicemen and women who represented New Zealand at the recent Invictus Games in Canada. The winner will be someone who exemplified the true meaning of team spirit both on and off the sporting field and will be selected by the New Zealand Defence Force.