Fighting for the rights and needs of the disability community has become much of what former Hamilton City Council candidate Tim Young is living for, and his nomination for this year's Attitude Awards is just an added bonus to the results he has been getting in his disability advocacy.
The awards have nine categories ranging from sporting achievements to youth awards, and will be announced at a black-tie gala in Auckland on December 2. This is the awards' 13th year, and will also be broadcast as an hour-long special the following Sunday, December 13, on TVNZ1.
Young has been nominated by his wife for the Community Champion Award within the Attitude Award.
Young is tetraplegic as a result of a snowboarding accident in 2009, when he fractured his C5 and C6 vertebrae, permanently losing feeling in 84 per cent of his body. Last year he ran for Hamilton City Council, narrowly missing out on a seat in the East Ward.
By running for council on a platform of technology and accessibility, he has given a spotlight to many long-running inequalities and developed key relationships with the mayor and all councillors, which has since led to tangible results with fully accessible toilets included at the new Rotokauri Transport Hub and planned for the Central City, a city-wide accessibility audit, and the council committing to make its chambers and HQ more accessible.
"To be picked as a finalist is special, it was pretty nice to be up for the award," Young said.
Young said he has had strong results with his advocacy for better facilities for the disability community, including the toilets at the transport hub, and credited the new council for its commitment to work with him.
"When I first decided to run for council, I didn't want to focus on just the accessible side of things, but I soon saw the need for me to work for it - as I assumed wrongly that people would have already been doing.
"I now know I am making progress and that is what is driving me. I've been able to find a niche to use my technology skills to help fight for the disability community."
Young said the award night will be fun and that he loves attending the functions in the community, but his real reward is getting results for his work.
"You get a free meal and everything but that's the fun part. I'm not too worried about winning anything. I am just really happy to be making progress."
Young said he is confident that the new council is making the extra effort to help the disability community and has ruled out running again in 2022.