Press Release – Attitude Awards
A man who has spent his life being active in and covering some of the country’s most significant moments within the disability sector has won this year’s “Attitude ACC Supreme Award”.Attitude Award winners announced
A man who has spent his life being active in and covering some of the country’s most significant moments within the disability sector has won this year’s “Attitude ACC Supreme Award”.
Mike Gourley, journalist, researcher and host of the radio show One in Five was announced as the winner last night by Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford and ACC Board Member Murray Hilder at a black tie function at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland.
The Attitude Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of New Zealanders living with a disability and have grown out of the Attitude TV series, which screens on TV ONE on Sundays and TVNZ 7 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
It was Mike’s second award of the night. He also won the Making a Difference Award which recognises an unsung hero who has made a significant contribution to improving the lives of people with disabilities. He won the use of a Toyota Signature Class car for a year and $5000 worth of air travel thanks to Air New Zealand.
His passion comes from living in the shoes of the people he supports. Born with a rare congenital condition, where his arms did not fully develop and also caused a heart condition, Mike has spoken out for people living with disabilities. He has advocated for the rights of disabled people to participate in the community, in work places and on the sports field on the same basis as their nondisabled counterparts.
Mike is recovering from a stroke he suffered earlier this year, which prevented him from attending the awards, Murray Hilder accepted the Supreme Award on his behalf.
Through his career Mike has covered most of the major victories of disabled people such as the development of the 2001 Disability Strategy and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the disabled community supported heavily.
As a broadcaster he brings visibility to major disability issues in New Zealand and helps people living with disabilities tell their stories, ensuring their issues are heard by a mainstream public audience.
His long list of achievements also includes collecting the Roosevelt international disability award in New York in 2008, which New Zealand won in recognition of its achievements in disability and support.
Other Attitude Award category winners announced on December 1 were Gabrielle Hogg (Youth Award), Patricia McQueen (Courage in Sport), Sophie Pascoe (Sport Performer), Eddie Low (Artistic Achievement), Mary Schnakenberg (Hall of Fame Inductee), Mission Heights Junior College, (Attitude ACC Employer) and Mark Grantham who took home the Spirit of Attitude Award.
Attitude TV executive producer Robyn Scott-Vincent says that every year the awards highlight people with incredible stories and achievements which prove to be inspirational.
“Our aim for the Attitude Awards is to help create more awareness and support of people who live with disability,” Robyn says. “We hope to gain more inclusion in society and recognition for the incredible people that win these awards and those who are featured on the ‘Attitude’ TV series.”
ACC is the principal sponsor, supporting the Attitude ACC Employer Award and the ACC Supreme Award.
“Once again, the Attitude Awards have shown us what all people can achieve if they have a goal, a positive attitude, determination and the right support,” says Ralph Stewart, ACC Chief Executive.
“All the nominees for this year’s Awards faced obstacles that most of us would find daunting, yet they chose to view those obstacles as a challenge that could be successfully overcome. Like everyone at the Awards, I found this tremendously inspiring and I thank the nominees for sharing their fantastic success stories.”
Toyota New Zealand, The Lion Foundation, Air New Zealand, Westpac, Wayne Francis Charitable Trust, Drake Medox, IHC Foundation and the Ministry of Health also committed to supporting the awards.