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Paralympic swimmers selected as finalists for 2013 Attitude Awards

From Invercargill to Whangarei, New Zealanders have nominated Paralympians, national icons and incredibly determined local heroes for a 2013 Attitude Award.

The Attitude Awards, now in their sixth year, celebrate excellence and achievements of Kiwis living with a disability.  The 23 finalists will find out if they have won at a televised black tie gala event on World Disability Day, December 3 at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland.

Paralympic gold medal cyclists Phillipa Gray and Laura Fairweather (nee Thompson) are among finalists for the Sport Performer of the Year award. They are joined by fellow Paralympians and gold medal swimmers Sophie Pascoe, Mary Fisher and Cameron Leslie.

The Attitude Awards are not solely focused on sporting achievement. They also celebrate “changemakers”, artistic achievers, youth advocates and the positive ‘spirit’ Attitude seeks to promote through its programme. One of those people is Vanassa McGoldrick of Whangarei.  The 48 year old solo mother of two recently fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer.  Vanassa, was recognised by the Judges for her tenacity and achievements despite living with a painful physical disability.

Vanassa puts her effort into taking on a number of pro bono cases and accompanies her clients with a disability to WINZ and other government agencies to fight for their rights.

There are seven categories in the 2013 Attitude Awards: Sport Performer of the year, Courage in Sport, Artistic Achievement, Youth, Spirit of Attitude, the Attitude ACC Employer Award and the Making a Difference award.  The winner of the Attitude ACC Supreme Award is then selected from those category winners. Finally there is a Hall of Fame inductee announced at the Awards event.

The Attitude Awards have grown from the television series "Attitude", which screens during the year on TV One at 8.30am on Sundays.

Attitude associate producer and host Tanya Black says each year the Attitude team sees people pushing themselves to achieve.

"These awards are about changing perceptions,” Tanya says. “Everyone has gifts and abilities. It’s about how we choose to use them."

ACC Chief Executive Scott Pickering, who will be attending his first Attitude Awards this year, says he felt humbled reading the nominees’ stories.

“The spirit of the Attitude Awards, which is about finding strength from within and from those around us, resonates with us all,” says Mr Pickering. “It’s especially inspiring for us here at ACC, where our role is to give people the best possible support after injury, to help them meet their rehabilitation and life goals."

ACC is continuing its role as principal sponsor with the Lion Foundation, New Zealand on Air, Westpac, Drake Medox, Air New Zealand, Ministry of Health, Wayne Francis Charitable Trust and the IHC Foundation also remaining with the strong sponsorship family that supports the Attitude Awards each year.

2013 Attitude Award Finalists:

Sport Performer - Sponsored by Invacare New Zealand
Cameron Leslie - Whangarei
Mary Fisher – Upper Hutt
Phillipa Gray and Laura Fairweather - Invercargill
Sophie Pascoe - Christchurch

Courage in Sport - Sponsored by Westpac

Mackenzie Kench – North Shore, Auckland
Maia Amai – Pt England, Auckland
Neil Cudby - Tauranga
Phil Thorn  - Lower Hutt

Spirit of Attitude - Sponsored by Drake Medox

Elizabeth Charleston - Morrinsville
Margaret Alden – Mangere, Auckland
Vanassa McGoldrick - Whangarei

Making a Difference - Sponsored by Ministry of Health

Gary Endacott – Kaiapoi
Glynis Collins - Whangarei
Robyn Hunt – Wellington Central

Youth - Sponsored by Wayne Francis Charitable Trust

Jordan Milroy – Central Auckland
Loren Corbett – Hamilton East
Olivia Shivas - Pt Chevalier, Auckland

Artistic Achievement - Sponsored by IHC Foundation

Alisha McLennan – North Shore, Auckland