Unsung Hawke's Bay heroes take out Attitude awards

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HIGH ACHIEVER: Nicola Wood (left); Guy Harrison; Dan Buckingham, Chair of the Attitude Trust at the Attitude Awards ceremony in Auckland. PHOTO SUPPLIED
HIGH ACHIEVER: Nicola Wood (left); Guy Harrison; Dan Buckingham, Chair of the Attitude Trust at the Attitude Awards ceremony in Auckland. PHOTO SUPPLIED

The annual Attitude awards have seen two worthy Hawke's Bay recipients walk away with a trophy in hand.

The national awards ceremony, held in Auckland on Tuesday, saw teenager Guy Harrison win the People's Choice Award and company Genera take out the ACC Employer Award.

In its ninth year, the Attitude Awards celebrate the excellence and achievements of Kiwis living with a disability.

Napier teenager, Guy Harrison, who at the age of 3 was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, holds the NZ Men's Open Para 800m and 1500m records and hopes to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

The 15-year-old was also announced as a finalist for the Emerging Athlete award and was thankful to everyone who voted for him.

"It means a lot to me to be recognised for my achievements."

Mum Vickie Harrison was also over the moon with the achievement.

"We are really, really proud. The fact that he even got nominated is pretty amazing, especially with the people he was up against."

Genera was also recognised for its on-going inclusion of workers with disabilities, after securing a place in the top three last year.

Gavin Smales, Genera's operations manager for the Napier Port Branch, said the award was great to receive but hiring good staff that were willing to learn and turn up and do the job simply made good business sense.

Generaemploys five people with disabilities, and works with Workbridge Hawke's Bay to look for great candidates. Smales said he recommended the approach to other businesses.

"We don't change anything - we can't afford to. But we can put people where we can use their strengths," Mr Smales said.

Lynne Gibson, team leader of the Hawke's Bay and East Coast branch of Workbridge, who nominated the company, said they couldn't be happier.

"Gavin Smales is an excellent employer who takes people on their ability rather than their disability."

Dan Buckingham, chairman of the Attitude Trust, said the Awards were about celebrating outstanding New Zealand achievements, as well as shining a spotlight on disability.

"We celebrated success and achievement across areas such as art, sport and the big one for us; employment and entrepreneurship. There were some spectacular moments on stage, with some very humble Kiwis getting the recognition they deserve."

The awards saw a winner celebrated from each of the eight categories, including Youth Spirit, Making a Difference, Emerging Athlete, Sporting Spirit, Spirit of Attitude, Artistic Achievement, Entrepreneur and Employer Award.

The overall winner of the Attitude ACC Supreme Award was selected from the category winners and a People's Choice winner and Hall of Fame inductee were also announced at the awards.

Debra Lampshire, a woman at the forefront of driving attitudinal change in New Zealand's mental health system won the ACC Supreme Award.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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