Beating a path to the podium

November 30, 2020

The past year will be remembered by most of us for COVID-19 and lockdowns. But that’s not the case for a group of extraordinary people who are beating a path to the winners’ podium this year.

IHC nominated people in three categories for the Attitude Awards 2020 – and all of them reached the finals. As this magazine is delivered, they will be finding out if they are winners.

We put forward Libby Hunsdale, a remarkable young actor from Whanganui, for the Attitude Youth Courage Award. This award recognises courage and determination and marks out future leaders.

Libby, 18, has Down syndrome and was born with a learning disability. She has overcome great grief and loss to star in a new feature film, Poppy . Her mother died in 2015, followed by her grandfather and mentor in 2018.

Poppy producer Robin Laing says Libby showed incredible courage in taking on the role. “We know Libby embodies the spirit of this award. Her courage has been shown in her overcoming personal loss and throwing herself into auditioning for, and successfully gaining, the role of Poppy,” Robin says.

Produced by Robin Laing and Alex Cole-Baker, Poppy is the debut feature film for Raumati writer-director Linda Niccol and is based on her short story Poppy. The film is scheduled for release early next year.

We nominated Elizabeth Goodwin, a disability advocate from Wellington, for the Attitude Support Superstar Award. Elizabeth and her team became a lifeline for families during lockdown, coordinating online support and making sure no family was left isolated.

Elizabeth and her team launched the Awhi-at-home Facebook page within a week of the move to Alert Level 4 and it quickly became an online community where parents could support each other.

Finally, as seen on TV’s Unbreakable documentary, The Independence Collective, a group of young entrepreneurs from the Käpiti Coast, was nominated for the Attitude Employee and Entrepreneur Award. The award recognises people who have faced the challenges of their intellectual disabilities to start their own businesses and redefine workplaces.

The four IHC Collective members, Janie Tutton, Nathan Martin, Cameron Stichbury and Neville Pugh, were all looking for real jobs and better lives. In July, after two years of dreaming and planning and hard work, their Change Maker beer hit a milestone – it became available in all New World and PAK’nSAVE stores in the North Island and from distribution centres in the South Island. 

As 2020 ends, let’s hear it for all the finalists in the Attitude Awards 2020.  Congratulations.

Above: The Independence Collective (from left), Nathan Martin, Janie Tutton, Cameron  Stichbury and Neville Pugh, is redefining success.