2019 Attitude Awards Night Special

The 12th Annual Attitude Awards celebrate the achievements of people making a positive impact in the community. Meet this year's extraordinary winners in this one-hour entertainment special.

*Wow! another Attitude Awards done and dusted! A huge congratulations to all of the finalists, and a big thank you to all of the people who made it happen. Without further to do here are the winners of the Attitude Awards 2019.


This award recognises an employer who provides outstanding recruitment and retention opportunities for people with disabilities. The employer is confident with the integration of workers with disabilities into the workplace and demonstrates an exemplary level of commitment, innovation and support for employees with disabilities.

Eric Chuah and Graeme Haddon receiving their award
Eric Chuah and Graeme Haddon

The Cookie Project

The Cookie Project is a social enterprise with a winning recipe. Founders Eric and Graham provide paid work experience for people with disabilities.

Eric and Graham met when Eric was delivering a speech to the migrant community. Sales volumes have never been their KPI. They measure success on the social impact of their cookies.


This award recognises an employee who has proven themselves to be a great contributor to the company or organisation they work for. They will have served as an inspiration to other disabled people seeking employment and/or to employers who might be reluctant to employ a person with a disability. Career opportunities available to people with disabilities are often limited by the willingness of employers to support them and their aspirations. The exemplary work ethics of people with disabilities who are currently employed only serve to encourage other employers to recruit from the disability community.

Gavin Rolton
Gavin Rolton

Gavin Rolton

Gavin is quadriplegic following a diving accident. At first he struggled to find a career post accident. Now he’s a leader, not just at work but in his personal life.

Described as a “powerhouse“ employee, instrumental in developing a culture of diversity and empathy, critical to the services provided by Drake Medox.


Celebrating a person with a disability who has developed his or her own business or social enterprise. This may be a cottage industry or a larger company. We seek to highlight the role that disabled people can play as employees, employers and entrepreneurs.

Jezza receiving the Entrepreneur Award
Jezza receiving the Entrepreneur Award

Jezza Williams

Kiwi adrenaline junkie, Jezza Williams has always pushed his limits. He was working as a canyoning guide in Switzerland when he slipped off a rock and sustained a spinal injury.

Through his business, Making Traxs, he now educates tourism operators, and showcases how to make adventures accessible.


For someone who lives with an intellectual disability and has shown leadership amongst their peers. Leadership comes in many forms: the person may be in a national governance role, or a leader in their community or they've simply led others by drawing attention to the rights of people who live with disability through their personal achievements.

Tim Fairhall receiving award on stage.
Tim Fairhall helped change laws that affect many disabled kiwis lives.

Tim Fairhall

Tim Fairhall isn't afraid to stand up for his rights. Tim rocked the boat by presenting to a government select committee, questioning the rules around Kiwi Saver.

Tim boldly challenged the rules on behalf of all Kiwis and his stance led to a ground-breaking change that allows people to access their Kiwi Saver before the age of 65.


To recognise someone with or without a disability who has made a significant contribution to improving the lives of people with disabilities. This may be paid employment or they may work voluntarily, but this person must be making outstanding personal efforts beyond their job description or effectively be an unsung hero in their community. The entrant may have given up their time and energy to help other people. They may have influenced policy making at local government level, participated in local action, or otherwise made a difference which has benefited others in their community.

Paul Gibson Receiving Award
Paul Gibson has also worked as the Disability Rights Commisioner

Paul Gibson

When Paul Gibson was studying for his Masters degree in he faced ignorance and prejudice but those challenges fuelled his future career. Paul is vision impaired. His degree is in public policy, making him perfectly suited to roles he has held – including Disability Human Rights Commissioner, and as a commissioner on the Royal Commission on Historical Abuse of those in state care.


A person with a disability who has overcome hardship to achieve their personal goals. This award celebrates those who are truly embracing life and making the utmost of whatever abilities they have. The recipient of this Award will be someone who has risen to the challenges they face with a positive, ‘can-do’ spirit. This award serves to remind the NZ public of the thousands of people who live their life with positivity.

Juanita Willems receiving an award.
Juanita Willems was awarded the Spirit of Attitude Award

Juanita Willems

Despite a busy life raising two boys with epilepsy and being almost blind herself, Juanita is a lead person for Fostering Hope in Otago. Juanita has been going progressively blind, the result of an injury when she was a child. She’s lost 97% of her vision and turned to volunteer work after she lost her job due to her lack of sight.


This award is about valuing professionals who support people with disabilities to live their best life possible. Recent moves in the support worker industry have recognised and valued disabled people by placing emphasis on providing a higher level of care. While the award recognises a professional, we're looking for someone with the X-factor who goes above and beyond their job. This category is open to (but not limited to) support workers, carers, occupational therapists, physios and nurses.

Leah Stewart receives the Support SuperStar Award
Leah Stewart is an exceptional example of support workers that enable disabled kiwis lives.

Leah Stewart

24 year old Leah Stewart knew from an early age she wanted to care for others. As a rehabilitation coach and carer she works with adults and children with complex needs. Five year old Levi has severe cerebral palsy. Leah expert care has also resulted in her niece, who is blind, reaching milestones well ahead of medical predictions. 


This award is for a person up to the age of 20 who lives with a disability and who has made a significant contribution to improving society. It highlights the hard work and dedication shown by young people and the contribution they make to our society. Nominees may have excelled in the educational, sporting or artistic field, or they may be a strong advocate in the community.

Cory Newman holding his award on stage.
Cory Newman is the frontman of Gisborne band 'Sit Down In Front'

Cory Newman

Living with Cerebral Palsy, Cory Newman is the lead singer in the band Sit Down In Front, a Gisborne based punk rock band that won ‘best song’ at the 2019 SmokeFreeRockQuest, opened for Jimmy Barnes at his New Zealand concert in September and has had a number of songs with national and international airplay.

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