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Cory Newman, 16 takes home Attitude ACC Supreme Award

Charismatic punk rocker Cory Newman has been announced winner of the Attitude ACC Supreme Award at the Attitude Awards in Auckland tonight. Now in their 12th year, the black-tie gala event celebrates the achievements and successes of New Zealanders living with disabilities.

Gisborne-raised Cory (16) was born premature and has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and ADHD. Two years ago, Cory followed his dreams and formed a band with his high school friends, Sit Down In Front, of which Cory is the lead singer.

In one of the toughest industries to crack into, Cory and his band have erupted onto the local and international music scene, placing third at the national Smokefreerockquest and catching the attention of music legend Jimmy Barnes, who invited them to open for his recent national tour. In a touching moment at the Attitude Awards this evening, a video message from Jimmy was played to the audience congratulating Cory.

The high-energy band performed at tonight’s award ceremony to an audience of 650 New Zealanders, including many prominent figures from the disability sector. In addition to Cory’s success with his band, he has excelled at school, having won awards for academic excellence, and leadership roles including becoming House Captain in Year 9. Cory’s also completed school cross countries, athletics days, school swimming sports and performed in Kapa Haka groups and a Polynesian club.

Attitude Trust chairperson Dan Buckingham commented on Cory’s win: “Cory is what we aspire to - someone who lives with disability and lives the fullest of lives. He has high expectations for himself, and from those around him to be completely included in all of the activities his peers are involved with. However, he has gone above merely being involved.… he’s excelled in all of his pursuits, whether they be academic, sports, cultural, or performance and the arts.”

On accepting his award Cory said: "This was the last thing I expected, I'm completely and utterly humbled. Who thought that a guy in a wheelchair, from a tiny country town, would get to experience this. I certainly didn't!"

Principal sponsor ACC’s Chief Executive Scott Pickering said this year’s finalists’ achievements are impressive: “They are proof of the power of attitude in achieving audacious goals or helping others in your community and of the unique and powerful talents we all bring to the table,” said Mr Pickering. “Congratulations to Cory for pursuing his dreams in music and for all he has achieved with his band and in his community. His drive and determination make him a very worthy recipient of the Attitude ACC Supreme Award. Well done Cory.”

Cory’s award closed an outstanding evening where 27 individuals and organisations were recognised. The black-tie gala was co-hosted by TV news reporter Simon Dallow and comedian Tom Sainsbury and saw performances from William Waiirua (Dancing With The Stars), comedian Willy De Wit and opera singer Tim McCallum. Highlights from the 2019 Attitude Awards will be screened on Sunday 1st December on TVNZ 1 at 11:00am.

© Scoop Media

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