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Attitude Award winners announced


Attitude Award winners announced

Suzanne Cowan


Talented dancer and choreographer Suzanne Cowan beat a gold medal winning paralympian to win the ACC Supreme Award at the Attitude Awards this evening.

The Attitude Awards are a new initiative developed to honour the outstanding achievements of New Zealanders living with disabilities.

Suzanne, also the winner of the Attitude Arts Award, is currently doing a Masters at the University of Auckland where 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 has been invited to present her work at the ‘Art of Difference’ festival in Melbourne in March 2009.

Other Attitude Award category winners announced on December 3, World Disability Day, were Samuel Gibson (Enterprise Award), Kerri Bonner (Youth Award), Mike and Lyn Ryan (Community Award), Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman (Spirit Award), 4Dice Business Group (ACC Employer Award), Cameron Leslie (Sportsman Award) and Sophie Pascoe (Sportswoman Award).

Sophie Pascoe and her sister


Kerri Bonner and Mum


Samuel Gibson and Campbell Easton


The awards were conceived by RSVP Productions Ltd, producers of the weekly series Attitude which screens on TV One on Sundays. One of the masterminds behind the Awards, Attitude presenter and associate producer Curtis Palmer, plans to make this an annual event.

“Disability isn’t just some add on to society, it isn’t some sub group. The biggest message we want to get across is inclusion. We want to open the public’s eyes to the contribution made to New Zealand by people with disabilities by celebrating their successs,” says Palmer, himself a Wheelblack Paralympian.

ACC was the principal sponsor, supporting the Attitude ACC Employer Award and Attitude ACC Supreme Award.

“ACC was extremely proud to be the principal sponsor of these Awards,” says Dr Jan White, ACC Chief Executive. “We work closely with people who live with disabilities every day, and hear wonderful stories about rehabilitation and injured people returning to their jobs and their communities. Now, with these Awards we have the opportunity to showcase and celebrate the achievements and determination of the finalists.”

Southern Cross Healthcare, Air New Zealand, NZ Trade and Enterprise, The Lion Foundation, NZ Relay, Invacare, Westpac and the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust were also key sponsors of the event, supporting the Awards with travel prizes, business mentoring and grants.


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