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Wellington ‘changemaker’ wins national disability award

Media release
December 3

Wellington ‘changemaker’ wins national award

Dame Rosie Horton, Robyn Hunt and Minister Judith Collins

A fearless fighter for disability rights, Robyn Hunt, has won the Attitude ACC Supreme Award at the 2013 Attitude Awards on December 3 – World Disability Day.

In its sixth year, the national awards celebrate the excellence and achievements of Kiwis living with a disability. This year’s black tie gala evening was held at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre and hosted by TV One News anchor Simon Dallow.

Overcoming strong competition from more than 20 other national finalists, Robyn took out the Making a Difference category award, sponsored by the Ministry of Health. She was then selected from the winners of the seven award categories to win the overall Attitude ACC Supreme Award.

The Wellington woman’s experiences of living with vision impairment, coupled with her strong sense of social justice, has fuelled her passion for human rights and disability advocacy for more than 30 years.

Robyn attended university and entered the workforce at a time when disability support was minimal, but this didn’t stop her proving her critics wrong and becoming a journalist and policy-maker, paving the way for the inclusion of people with disabilities.

During her eight years as Human Rights Commissioner, Robyn played a major role in driving the commission to hold an inquiry into the accessibility of public transport. She also worked on New Zealand’s National Disability strategy and represented the country in New York during the negotiations of the United Nations Disabled Convention.

Robyn now runs a communications company that ensures websites, information and communications are accessible to all. She also writes a blog about human rights and disability issues called Low Visionary and travels around the country speaking about these issues.

Robyn received $2,000 of Air New Zealand travel for winning the Attitude ACC Supreme Award and as winner of the Making a Difference award she earned an Attitude Awards Trust cheque for $1,000. She also received a free night stay with pampering products at Museum Hotel.

Other Attitude Award winners are Loren Corbet (Youth Award), Maia Amai (Courage in Sport), Sophie Pascoe (Sport Performer), Alisha McLennan (Artistic Achievement), CCS Disability Action Canterbury West Coast Branch (Attitude ACC Employer Award) and Vanassa McGoldrick (Spirit of Attitude).

Alexia Pickering, a leading expert on access for people with disabilities, was inducted in the Attitude Hall of Fame.

Mayor Len Brown and Alexia Pickering

The awards have grown out of the Attitude TV series, which tells stories about and for people living with disabilities, and screens on TV One on Sunday mornings.

Attitude Awards trustee Dan Buckingham says: “The Awards are about celebrating success. We have so many people in New Zealand doing fantastic things, many of them unsung heroes, but people with disabilities are often left in the shadows and the achievements undervalued.”

“Through the Attitude Awards we shine a bright, proud spotlight on some very deserving people,” says Mr Buckingham.

ACC as principal sponsor sees the benefit in promoting positive role models and hopes that the Awards will help break down barriers and increase opportunities for people with a disability.

ACC Chief Executive Scott Pickering says: “The Attitude Awards are important because they remind us that we all benefit when we look at what we can do, rather than what we can’t”.

“We all have a role to play in ensuring we live in an inclusive society. It’s great to share the experiences of the finalists and I hope that others can learn from and be inspired by them,” says Mr Pickering.

ACC, Lion Foundation, New Zealand on Air, Westpac, Drake Medox, Air New Zealand, Ministry of Health, Wayne Francis Charitable Trust, Invacare and the IHC Foundation sponsored the awards.


Full list of winners and locations:
Attitude ACC Supreme Award and Making a Difference Award
Robyn Hunt Wellington

Attitude Hall of Fame Inductee
Alexia Pickering Wellington

Attitude Sports Performer Award
Sophie Pascoe Christchurch

Attitude Courage in Sport Award
Maia Amai Auckland

Attitude ACC Employer Award
CCS Disability Action Christchurch
Canterbury West Coast Branch

Attitude Youth Award
Loren Corbett Hamilton East

Attitude Artistic Achievement Award
Alisha McLennan Auckland

Spirit of Attitude Award
Vanassa McGoldrick Whangarei


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