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Academy award winner backs Dyslexia Foundation

2 April 2007

Business leaders and Academy award winner back Dyslexia Foundation

A world class Dyslexia Discovery Exhibit that opens in the heart of Christchurch on SUN 29 April. It will feature original sculptures by internationally renowned English artist Mackenzie Thorpe and from Weta Workshop and Taylor.
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Academy award winner and Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop & Digital says The Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand is offering much needed debate and rationale for families and individuals that are experiencing the challenges of trying to make a difference in a world judged by academic achievement.

“The kids that find success at Weta are the ones that day-dreamed in their Maths exam and drew monsters on the backs of their pencil cases,” he said.

“These are young people who might not fit the traditional academic school model or be great on the sports field, but they can still have an important impact on the world through the celebration of their unique creative minds.”

Canterbury Chamber of Commerce CEO Peter Townsend agrees with Taylor. "For New Zealand and New Zealand businesses to achieve economic growth and productivity we need people who think outside of the square - people who can see a big picture and a way to solve a problem,” he said.

“Business leaders know this and value these people. Business managers are looking for this talent. The education system needs to ensure that these talents are allowed to develop in our emerging workforce.”

“It seems to me that the crisis that dyslexia first appears to be is simply an opportunity in disguise.”

The New Zealand government does not specifically recognise dyslexia and later this month the newly formed Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand launches the inaugural Dyslexia Awareness Week to draw attention to this.

The highlight of the week will be the opening of a world class Dyslexia Discovery Exhibit in the heart of Christchurch. It will feature original sculptures by internationally renowned English artist Mackenzie Thorpe and from Weta Workshop and Taylor. It is the first exhibit of this nature, celebrating dyslexia, anywhere in the world. Both men are dyslexic.

Taylor’s creation will be designed to show how it feels to be dyslexic and how dyslexic people see the world and he will be in Christchurch for the official opening launch on Sunday 29 April.

Another sculpture by leading NZ sculptor, Paul Dibble, will celebrate Christchurch born motorcycle designer John Britten. Britten was also dyslexic and designed motorbikes that set world land speed records that are still held today.

The project is backed by the Cookie Munchers Charitable Trust, the charity arm of Cookie Time, and tourism industry leaders say it will also be a leading tourism attraction which will add some real value to the city.

The Dyslexia Awareness Week will be between April 23 and 29 and will see a range of activities throughout New Zealand all aimed at raising awareness of dyslexia and giving a unified voice. Activity includes an innovative new style of cookie developed by Cookie Time on sale only during the week aiming to raise over $100,000 dollars for dyslexia.

The Cookie Munchers Charitable Trust approached Cookie Time to assist with its fundraising efforts for dyslexia, and Cookie Time, with valuable support from its key suppliers, distributors, and leading retailers will launch the new soft and chewy style Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie on April 23 as part of the inaugural Dyslexia Awareness Week.

The Cookie Munchers Charitable Trust is the principle sponsor of the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand that was launched in November last year to give a voice to the thousands of New Zealand’s that are dyslexic and struggle with no specific resources or funding, and no recognition from the Government.

Advocating change to New Zealand’s education policy to recognise dyslexia is a key goal of the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand.

Increasing the awareness, recognition, understanding and acceptance of dyslexia as a way of thinking in New Zealand are the primary aims of The Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand.

The Foundation’s focus is to have dyslexia recognised by the Ministry of Education so that dyslexia assessment, learning opportunities and resources can be made available to dyslexic learners throughout every school in New Zealand.

The Foundation is encouraging everyone affected by dyslexia to contact friends, families, clients, customers, suppliers and others about Dyslexia Awareness Week, and are also suggesting Members send their local Member of Parliament or The Minister of Education Steve Mahary a letter to raise awareness about dyslexia.

An 0900 Dyslexia (0900 39753) fundraising phone number is available to make a $20 donation to the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand.

ENDS

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