Attitude Awards 2018: The award show celebrating Kiwis living with disabilities

by Fiona Rae / 01 December, 2018
Attitude Awards 2018, Sunday.

Attitude Awards 2018, Sunday.

RelatedArticlesModule - Attitude Awards

The Attitude Awards, which started out as a way of showcasing disabled Kiwis’ employability, have become a global online hit.  

Nowhere else in the world has anything like the Attitude Awards 2018 (TVNZ 1, Sunday, 11.00am), the annual celebration of the achievements of Kiwis living with disabilities.

That’s according to Attitude CEO Robyn Scott-Vincent anyway. International viewing goes gangbusters online, and “the Canadians have bought us before”, she says. “It’s like, why would they be interested? But there’s no celebration that we know of anywhere else.”

This is the awards’ 11th year and, from the get-go, Scott-Vincent wanted it to be a fancy black-tie event.

“When we began, someone said we should do it as a nice little afternoon tea. But we said, ‘Why does everything for disabilities have to be somehow low grade?’ So we said, ‘No, it’s going to be fabulous,’ and it has been.” A decade later, however, the awards come with great expectations.

“People expect us to up the ante every year. It’s pretty funny. One year we said, ‘Right, we’re going to have a mobility dog carry the envelopes onto the stage,’ and another year we had a parade of children.”

But the awards have serious intent. They not only recognise Kiwis living with disability, but also employers who support and integrate them. This year, the Employer Award finalists include a Whanganui horticulturist and Greymouth’s BP service station.

“Employment was the main reason we started the awards,” says Scott-Vincent. “Employers have a perception that people with disabilities are somehow not capable. So the more we could showcase high levels of achievement, the more that would help to create a culture where it would be natural that people with disabilities should be in employment.

“All an employer has to do is shift their thinking no more than 10 degrees.”

Talent will out, however, and differently abled Kiwis are achieving despite the odds. Finalists in the Attitude Leadership Award include Alex Snedden, a disability advocate who attended the World Down Syndrome Congress in Scotland this year, and autistic man William Luskie, who advises a number of agencies in Dunedin.

Young deaf fashion designer Cruze Kapa is a finalist in the Attitude Entrepreneur Award, along with candle-maker Emma Sykes and educational video-game designer Tim Young.

“Every year we’re amazed that the nomination process uncovers new people,” says Scott-Vincent. “You forget that if one million Kiwis have a disability, there are amazing stories out there.”

This article was first published in the December 1, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

The pioneering Kiwi surgeon who heads a world-leading team
104715 2019-04-21 00:00:00Z Profiles

The pioneering Kiwi surgeon who heads a world-lead…

by Clare de Lore

Harvard-based New Zealander Simon Talbot leads a team of surgeons performing astonishing hand transplants and plays a part in operations that...

Read more
Norah Jones’s new beginning and return to New Zealand
104817 2019-04-21 00:00:00Z Music

Norah Jones’s new beginning and return to New Zeal…

by Russell Baillie

The jazz songstress is staying inspired by writing with others.

Read more
Bill Ralston: Only fundamentalist Christians should be hurt by Israel Folau
104814 2019-04-20 00:00:00Z Social issues

Bill Ralston: Only fundamentalist Christians shoul…

by Bill Ralston

Israel Folau’s social-media post might condemn the Wallabies to Rugby World Cup hell, but the rest of us should ignore him.

Read more
What happens next with the Mueller report?
104863 2019-04-20 00:00:00Z World

What happens next with the Mueller report?

by Noted

Did Trump “corrupt” with intent?

Read more
The Heart Dances: Lifting the lid on the culture clash behind ‘The Piano’ ballet
104740 2019-04-20 00:00:00Z Movies

The Heart Dances: Lifting the lid on the culture c…

by Russell Baillie

Documentary offers an intriguing look at the clash of artistic sensibilities behind adapting The Piano into a ballet.

Read more
How this remarkable native insect is being saved
104836 2019-04-20 00:00:00Z Planet

How this remarkable native insect is being saved

by Jenny Nicholls

Principles of bird conservation are helping to save another remarkable native you’ve never heard of.

Read more
Environment Ministry 'unashamedly proud' of bleak report's honesty
104868 2019-04-20 00:00:00Z Planet

Environment Ministry 'unashamedly proud' of bleak…

by RNZ

The Secretary for the Environment Vicky Robertson said she was proud of the report's honesty and it was an important stocktake for the country.

Read more
The new What We Do in the Shadows is more dad joke than demonic
104712 2019-04-19 00:00:00Z Television

The new What We Do in the Shadows is more dad joke…

by Diana Wichtel

Diana Wichtel reviews a new American TV series based on the hit Kiwi comedy.

Read more