Articles, Blog

2018 Attitude Awards Finalists

* The Attitude Awards celebrate
the achievements of people
with disabilities across eight different categories. Here are the 2018 finalists. Ko te Atua o Taiehu te maunga, ko Otakou te tai,
ko Otakou te marae, ko Kai te Pahi, Kati Moki,
Kai te Ruahikihiki a hapu,
ko Kai Tahu te iwi. (REGGAE MUSIC) 15-year-old Kiringāua Cassidy has
a passion for his Maori tikanga. He’s determined to build his mana
and rises to the challenges of
living with spina bifida. He’s a kapa haka leader, involved in
managing after-school programmes, and he competes in
Manu Korero speech events. Kapa haka, Nga Manu Korero,
which is a Maori speech competition, anything to do with loving
being Maori, then I’m there. He spends long weekends being on
the snow, revelling in the thrill
of speed and freedom, with a goal of competing
at the Paralympics. I’d like to think I’m
leading by example. It’s really about representing
who I am and showing the world
that nothing’s stopping me. Here I am. Instagram. Jaden — J-A-D-E-N — Movold — M-O-V-O-L-D. Hit me up, guys, and like me. At an age when many teenagers lack
motivation, 14-year-old Jaden Movold
is focused and determined. I live for sports — basketball,
swimming, triathlon. Born with spina bifida, Jaden’s
endured 25 major surgeries. Each time, he’s bounced straight
back, competing in 24 Kiwi Kids
Tryathlons. Six weeks ago, I had
major spinal surgery. But I came back to swimming,
worked really, really hard. Since, I’ve beaten my 200m
backstroke time by 35 seconds. Jaden has recognised he has a
role in supporting the disability
community. He’s an ambassador for the
Jonesy Youth Foundation, involved with Achilles International
New Zealand and the YES Disability
Resource Centre. I love being a leader in my
community and at school, so what I’m
doing is impacting other people. That’s my whole message. Jaden was head boy at Murrays Bay
Intermediate School and has his eyes set on
Rangitoto College’s top laurel
in a few years’ time. I wanna continue to change the
public’s perceptions towards
disabilities so they focus on what we can
do and not what we can’t do. Alicia Kapa may have difficulty
communicating verbally due to her
cerebral palsy, but she has cultivated her
skills of observation. That’s a perfect fit for her
proposed career in criminology
and her love of travel. You have to count down, though.
(BOTH LAUGH) Together, they developed a project
called Wheely Wacky Adventures, posting videos on Facebook,
Instagram and YouTube. They have a following
of 1200 people. It’s about being in control,
because you have to be, with sport.
But I’ve got a lot of determination. 25-year-old sharpshooter
Neelam O’Neill has Paralympic
glory squarely in her sights. New Zealand’s only female
para-shooting international, Neelam is on the elite
Pathway to Podium programme. As the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics
approach, she’s ranked inside New Zealand’s
top three para-shooters. I started shooting
at a very young age. We used to shoot cans and ice cream
containers with a slug gun. Neelam was born with a degenerative
form of spina bifida and increasingly lives with
pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Spasming in her legs and her
arthritic elbow can throw her off. All the more reason to
maintain mental focus. It’s 90% mental game,
compared to the 10% action. It’s about being in synch with
yourself, physically and mentally. 2019 will see Neelam
competing in multiple events. Shooting’s brought me so many great
things that I don’t know where I’d
be if I didn’t have it. (DRAMATIC MUSIC) Racing — it’s a big adrenaline rush,
when you’re behind the blocks and
you’ve got the whole crowd going. As soon as you dive in, it’s only
you in the water, and that’s the
only thing that matters. Celyn was 5 years old when he
lost his arm in a car accident. He never let it stop him
participating in sports his mates
were playing, including rugby. A natural in the water, he was
quickly identified as a potential
Paralympian. When I lost my arm, I didn’t
really let it change my perception
on swimming. I just kinda jumped in the pool and
changed a couple of things around, and I just kept pushing
through everything. Last year in Berlin, at his first
international meet, he won bronze
in the 100m butterfly. And he holds 23 New Zealand
records across all strokes. Tokyo in 2020 — Paralympics there
will be one of my main goals. The biggest piece of advice is,
as long as you can get something
working, you can always change it to
make it as good as it can be. It sounded crazy, the first
time someone used the phrase
‘history maker’. I didn’t set out to be a history
maker. I wanted to change my life,
and I’ve done that. Whanganui mum of three Rachel Maia
has been turning heads on the
international para-climbing circuit. Rachel started climbing
at the age of 16. In her very first competition,
she fell and broke her ankle. The condition in my
ankle is degenerative, to the point where five
years ago I couldn’t walk. As the condition deteriorated,
the pain increased. Rachel made a choice to ignore the
pain and instead use mental focus
and exercise. So my attempt at climbing again was
an opportunity to sort of re-engage
with the world. And when you adapt
to your challenges… EMOTIONALLY: like, you can
go beyond what you can see. By placing one foot tentatively
in front of the other, her strength
grew. 20 years after her accident, she
entered her first international
competition. As I approached for that first
climb, I just kept thinking,
‘This is my moment.’ I placed fourth at the world champs. That’s a new New Zealand record for
either para-climbers or able-bodied
climbers. There’s something to be said for
visualising who you want to be, and it made me acknowledge you 100%
can learn new tricks. (CHUCKLES) We got on the dance floor.
Jackie was going for it.
Next minute, her leg flies off. Jackie de Bruin’s infectious
laugh and smile is a foil, part of her strategy to accept
all that life has thrown at her. They used to call me ‘Precious Pup’,
because I sounded like I was
Precious Pup. (CHUCKLES) Born with a rare form of
spina bifida and a shorter leg,
Jackie also has epilepsy. Uncontrolled spasms have led to
a series of terrible accidents. At age 15, she fell on an iron and
endured third-degree burns to her
face. She broke her leg in
a car accident at 17. At 23, gangrene took hold
and her leg was amputated. It still didn’t stop me. You know, I moved on and tried to be
positive about the things that had
happened in my life. Medical complications meant Jackie’s
plans to travel were put on hold,
until one day… I went straight into a travel agent
and I booked a ticket. (LAUGHS) Jackie spent two years travelling —
a good move; she met her Dutch
husband. Now she’s devoting much of
her life to helping others. I cook for homeless and people
that are having hard times. Providing clothing or bedding. I would like to say to anybody
who is living with a disability, do not be scared. Be yourself.
Just show who you truly are. (GENTLE ACOUSTIC GUITAR MUSIC) Music has provided healing for
Jacinta Tevaga since she began
losing her eyesight at 16. She overcame a decade of depression,
before further education and finding
work. I kinda went down into a severe
depression, where I had some dark
thoughts. Jacinta spent a lonely 10 years
before her GP convinced her to
move forward with her life. When I started to accept my
vision loss, I knew I had hope. I had a way of seeing
the world from my heart. Thanks to adaptive technologies,
she was able to study and graduate with a qualification in
mental health and addiction, a major achievement for a girl who
didn’t focus at school, even when
she was fully sighted. Now 36, she’s an administrator
for Pasifika health provider
Vaka Tautua. The most rewarding part is I can
actually make a difference, and also to show them that someone
with a disability can do it. (POIGNANT MUSIC) Retired teacher Isobel Tamati was
74 when a fall changed her life. She experienced an aneurysm.
She was told she would never
walk or talk again. It’s knowing who you are
and what you’re doing. That’s the crucial thing
that I had lost. At the beginning, Mum had nothing.
She couldn’t speak. She had no movement, no ability to
coordinate her limbs or any bodily
functions at all. Isobel was determined to fight
the odds. And so were her children. I just absolutely
refused to believe it. And I’ve spent my whole life doing
things that people tell me I can’t
do. So I just applied all those
same principles to her, and I just absolutely believed
that I would get her back. Across two years, Isobel’s
spirit stayed strong. Today, she’s proof of
the power of the mind. I’m blessed and I’m still alive. And knowing that I had
their support was awesome. And being so grateful for it,
I just hope that I’ve told them
that enough. (CHEERFUL MUSIC) A snowboarding accident at the
age of 20 meant Tim Young needed
to rethink his life plan. Despite the challenges of using a
mouse with little hand function, Tim chose to develop his
own educational video games. It’s an open-world game
with 25 different characters, and you can work with them to
learn about their specialty, whether it’s with the farmer,
about agriculture, or the marine biologist about the
local ecosystem and how to keep it
sustainable. Since his accident,
Tim has completed a Masters
of Science and Psychology and a Post-Graduate Certificate
in Educational Psychology. It turns out gamifying content is a
good way for some students to learn. Tim’s now exploring markets
for his product. Because I have my own challenges,
I really wanted to set myself up
with a career from home. And it naturally fit with
the educational video games and then being able to reach lots
of kids and make a big impact on
the world as well. (GENTLE MUSIC) From the day he was born,
Cruze Kapa has faced challenges. As a newborn, he survived
collapsed lungs. He was later diagnosed
with hearing loss. Mainstream schooling
in Gisborne was tough. But at Christchurch’s Van Ashe
school, he embraced Deaf culture. He graduated from Otago Polytechnic
with a Bachelor of Design and promptly set up his
own fashion label, Cruze. Now he’s rising above the noise in
the competitive fashion industry as the first Deaf Maori fashion
designer, producing collections
inspired by his culture. He’s hosted fashion events using
all-deaf crew, from models
to catering staff, and he supports two deaf interns. A recent invitation to Shanghai to
attend a design tour gave him fresh
inspiration. (GENTLE GUITAR MUSIC) Tony Sykes knew his daughter
Emma had talents and abilities. All he had to do was match a
business plan to those skills. Emma and her dad had struggled
to find her a job. And, after unsuccessful doorknocking
expeditions, they opted to set up
their own business making candles. She’s really risen to the challenge
of the fact of having to get up
every day and travel to work and spend
the whole day at work. I always knew she had it inside her.
It was just a case of drawing it
out. Emma had always loved candles
and perfume, so the business
was an obvious choice. What’s your favourite
candle at the moment? Coffee.
Coffee? All it took was one social media
post by Star Trek actor George Takei to turn the fledgling business
into a global success. It’s really invigorating and
encouraging, the amount of contact
we’ve had from all around the world. Do you like working? Here is my green chair that I
sit in, and do a lot of thinking. 24-year-old William Luskie
has plenty to mull over. The Dunedin man works juggling
responsibilities as a People First
national representative to the Ministry of Health, advisory
member to Dunedin City Council, as a committee member for his local
branch of CCS Disability Action and a Dunedin People First
committee member. Welcome to the
Donald Beasley Institute. It is a research organisation that
focuses on the rights of persons
with disabilities. I started off with a work
experience, to try and find
my foot in the door and to try and find a place in the
world that I could share and express
my ideas and thoughts. Will’s Asperger’s led to anxiety. He uses dance as a release. Will performs with the
GASP! dance collective. In 2018, at the
Dunedin Fringe Festival, he received the outstanding
emerging talent award. Now a familiar face on the speaking
circuit in Dunedin, Will is an
established leader. I don’t like sitting back too much.
I usually try and get right in
there. I’m a student at
university at Waikato. Recently graduated, moving
on to my master’s, focusing
on Computer Science. Billy Jo was born
severely autistic. He’s had a number of setbacks,
but he’s been able to lead an
independent and successful life. I actually didn’t do so well in
the first year, so my mum would
encourage me to try it again. So I tried again and
succeeded the second time. Billy Jo’s persistence paid off. He’s an example to other people
with learning disabilities to
never give up. A leader is someone
that gives encouragement. Don’t concern yourself too much with
other people and, like, how quickly
they do things. Keep going for your dreams. Alex Snedden has always strived to
surpass any goal he sets himself.
And there have been plenty of those. When he was invited to attend the
World Down’s Syndrome Conference
in Scotland, he created a 10K run, fundraising
among his contacts to cover the cost
of travel. When Alex secured his first job,
as a teenager, he set his sights on working
for the Bishop of Auckland. He’s moved on, and he’s now
working for Auckland Rugby. And he’s established himself
as a disability leader. Independence is one goal Alex
well and truly ticked off. Duncan’s national and international
performances have helped form his
identity. Duncan was the first person
with a learning disability to receive independent
funding from Creative NZ. Though grateful for the funding he
has received, Duncan says agencies
need to be more inclusive. My work is about chronic pain
and bodily scarring. So the work’s cracked and broken,
like my body. As often happens with artists, Virginia Leonard has found that her
life experiences are reflected in
her art. The mother of two was in a
motorcycle accident when she was 20. I have a paralysed foot that creates
a lot of pain, and I limp really
badly. And I’ve probably had too many bits
of surgery to try and improve it. I put the pain somewhere,
because you can’t talk about it, because chronic pain
has no biological value. So the best thing for me to do is
to make the work, because then I can
give the pain a language — I can actually turn it into
something that’s tangible, that I can see, that I can feel,
that I can look at. Virginia’s early career
focused on painting. But it is her pottery that has
led to international recognition. I saw myself as very damaged goods. But now I’m not ashamed, because the
work is strong and I believe in my
process, and I believe in what I’m doing. I’m consequently proud of my body. (GENTLE GUITAR MUSIC) Shaun Fahey, a man with
an infectious smile. A talented illustrator and actor
who used his magnetic personality
to charm audiences around the world. Shaun’s performances created
a link between the Deaf and
hearing communities. The freelance artist and illustrator
found his calling late in life, when he attended a 2015 acting
workshop set up by British theatre
studies lecturer Dr Laura Haughey. Laura knew immediately
that Shaun was special. Shaun had a natural talent
of physical storytelling. He could carve a story out
of the air with his hands. Meanwhile, Shaun used his
artistic skills to produce
30,000 illustrations for the New Zealand Sign Language
Dictionary. In April this year, Shaun was
diagnosed with advanced cancer. He left the hospital for one day
to see his step-daughter married. Shaun died the following day. We’re an equal-opportunities
employer, and we say there’s a
place for everyone in this world. BP To Go in Greymouth has been
employing staff with disabilities
for almost 30 years. How are things going
for you this morning? Yeah, good.
Pretty good? Owners Joanna and Dayaram Ganda
connected to disability recruitment
agencies three decades ago with the clear intention
to be inclusive. We work together when they advise us
that there’s something that they
cannot do or are having difficulty with,
then we work and compromise to
meet everybody’s needs. I have young-onset Parkinson’s. It is tough to get a job for
somebody who’s got fine-motor-skills
struggles. And a lot of people like
to set limitations for you. And the good thing about working
here at BP, it’s never been that
way. I enjoy working. I’d rather
work than sit around at home. Joanna and Dayaram are very good. They listen to you.
That’s all you want. They’re always keen
to upskill their staff. They’ve taught me a lot of skills
like dealing with customers, working
with customers. I’ve also learned a lot
of leadership skills. It’s made our staff and our
customers aware that there are
people with disabilities out there that deserve…
…an equal chance. …an equal chance, and they’re
just as capable as anybody else. All of us waiters and
waitresses are actually blind, so we’re serving you guys your food
and drink in the complete dark. It’s an experience
into another’s world, and the owners of Dans le Noir
at Auckland’s Rydges Hotel deliver a truly authentic experience
by employing and training waiters
who are blind. I like to add in comedy and humour.
Sometimes that gets some of them
relaxed, especially the ones
that are very nervous. If they ask for the colour of the
wine, I tell them it’s black wine. The commitment to supporting people
into employment has led to a work
culture of inclusion. I guess for me it was the whole
concept of being able to serve
someone confidently in the dark. As the months went by,
I grew in confidence. Tonight we have 60 people.
(WAITERS CHEER) Manager James Billing encourages all
Kiwis to experience a world without
sight, not just for the taste sensations. I think it’s a great way to
understand what blind people perhaps
go through on a day-to-day basis. They’re very resilient,
very capable people. Probably the most committed,
most motivated staff I think
I’ve ever seen. Tony Sanson and his wife, Janine,
have operated their Whanganui
business Horticultural Services for 13 years. From the beginning, Tony
created an inclusive team. We’ve never closed the door on
individuals who have disabilities. They are some of our most loyal,
dedicated, hard-working staff. And, look, they just
fit in very well. Just putting all that together now. Michael has MS and has been with the
company for 12 months as a mechanic. It’s nice to know that there are
people that you work for that are
completely in the loop, in terms of disability
and who are OK with it. I’ve just fallen in love
with doing what I’m doing. This is the kind of job that, if you
do have a disability, you can
achieve your work ethic. Tony ensures all staff
are well looked after. If we didn’t have good staff, we
wouldn’t be able to do the job
that we do. I wouldn’t hesitate to employ
people with disabilities. In fact, we’ve got a couple of jobs
going, so anybody who wants to put
their hand up, give us a ring. (PEACEFUL MUSIC) Umi Asaka is an agent of change. My passions are people
in the moment. The 22-year-old Social Work student
is a common sight on the University
of Otago campus, advocating for the environment,
performing duties as the
university’s international officer and always challenging stereotypes. Umi has osteogenesis imperfecta,
brittle bone disease. Her fragile bones
have broken 15 times. But that doesn’t stop her from
getting out to the wild beaches
for clean-ups. You can see the influx of
climate change so clearly. I do everything that I can do. Umi campaigns for social justice. And in July, that meant sleeping
out on Dunedin’s freezing streets to raise awareness of hundreds
of Kiwis sleeping rough. A hug is just a really nice way to
remind yourself of human connection. My name is Kim Robinson. Kim. Kim has a high profile as a Deaf
rights campaigner with a sustained
history of advocacy. He helped introduce visual fire
alarms and the relay phone service
for the deaf into Aotearoa. I decided enough was enough. I wanted to have control over my access to the phone. Kim’s advocacy has led to getting
sign-language interpreters at events and on TV programmes
of national importance. We all have different gifts
that we can bring and share. We don’t have most of the resources,
but we make things happen. And I think it’s that creativity
that draws people to New Zealand and that makes us being
able to make a difference. Namibian-born Martine
Abel-Williamson wears many hats. 22 years ago, she moved to Auckland
to be with her brother and sister. She soon found a need for
her Braille-reading skills, voluntarily teaching
newly blind people. That kicked off a long career
in the disability sector. She is treasurer of the World Blind
Union, chair of the Auckland
Disability Law Centre, vice-president of
Blind Citizens New Zealand, lead of the Asia-Pacific
regional UN advocacy network. She is also on panels for
agencies including ACC. My voluntary work often is sort of
the passion, because the struggles
that we work through are really just amazing. I feel I get home at the end of the
day, and have made a difference. She also wrote New Zealand’s
world-leading policy on the
safe design of shared spaces, where pedestrians and
cars share the road. New Zealand can say hand on heart
that we made sure that a scary
concept for many people actually can be quite a vibrant,
accessible exercise. Martine throws herself into new
situations and loves experiencing
the world, from Mongolia to the Netherlands. Martine sees little end to her work.
There’s simply too much to be done. And she encourages others in the
disability community to step up. I say to fellow disabled people
that we have to be at the table; otherwise we’re gonna
be on the menu. Tickets are now on sale for
the 2018 Attitude Awards. This premier event shines a
spotlight on the achievements of
people who live with disability. Go to for
information about the event.
Copyright Able 2018 Attitude was made with
funding from NZ On Air.

  • Glad to see people who are making a positive change in their communities being recognized ❤️ Best of luck to all of them!

  • Hmm, there was a major mistake. 🧐Will has ‘Aspergers’ so he should not have been nominated for the ‘intellectual disability’ achievement award, much less win it! By definition, having an ‘Aspergers’ diagnosis means the person has autism + an average/above average IQ. This is 100+. Aspies never ever have ‘intellectual’ disability! Having ID means, you have significant lack of adaptive behaviour + your IQ is below 70 [or 75 (in sports classification)]. Thus Will has no ID & he shouldn’t have been nominated for an ID achievement class award. Mistake of the organisers. Only Billy Jo, Alex & Duncan have ID but, errorneously, it was Will who won. In future, organisers must place aspies NOT in the ID group but in another class, altogether. Solely autism per se is not ID. We know this fact from Mencap & also because we have very different autistics in my family line. See: Otherwise, 5*****. 😊

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