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ACC Congratulates New Zealanders With `Attitude’

EMBARGOED UNTIL 9PM, 3 DECEMBER

MEDIA RELEASE

3 December 2008

ACC Congratulates New Zealanders With `Attitude’

An Auckland choreographer and an Eftpos-servicing company are helping lead the way in changing New Zealanders’ attitudes towards people living with disabilities.

Choreographer Suzanne Cowan won the Attitude ACC Supreme Award, while Wellington company 4Dice won the Attitude ACC Employer Award at tonight’s inaugural Attitude Awards in Auckland.

ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) is principal sponsor of the awards, which are a new initiative designed to honour the outstanding achievements of New Zealanders living with disabilities. The awards were conceived by RSVP Productions Ltd, producers of the TV series ``Attitude’’ which screens on TV One on Sundays.

The award winners were announced at a black tie event at Sky City in Auckland tonight [Wednesday December 3] to coincide with World Disability Day. After winning the Attitude Arts Award, choreographer Suzanne Cowan was named the Supreme Award winner.

``Suzanne Cowan is a truly inspiring woman who lives with a disability herself, and has performed with dance companies around the world,’’ said ACC’s CEO Dr Jan White. ``She uses dance to change people’s perceptions of disability. Her talent for dance is so great that audiences watching her and her dancers see beyond any physical limitations they might have.’’

Winner of the Attitude ACC Employer Award, 4Dice is an independent company that services Eftpos terminals. Run by Rob and Mandie Fordyce, it has a team of seven workers who live with disabilities. The company regards its employees as the key to its success – each employee has a workplan with future aspirations for work and life-skill developments.

``4Dice is a great example of how an employer can not only give their employees the independence that comes with having a good job, but how they can actually contribute to their lives on several levels. 4Dice has focused on employing people with disabilities and then strategically and specifically ensured they grow as people as well as employees,’’ said Dr White.

New Zealand, when compared to other countries, has a relatively low percentage of people with disabilities in the workforce.

``ACC works with people with disabilities every day and we know how important it is for everyone to feel valued for their abilities. I heartily congratulate all the Awards winners and the finalists for the contribution they have made to New Zealand communities,’’ Dr White said. ACC, through its National Serious Injury Service, handles the claims of over 4000 people who have disabilities as a result of being seriously injured.

ends

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