Disability Minister congratulates the recipients of New Year’s Honours

Tariana Turia, Minister for Disability Issues, has congratulated the recipients of New Years’ Honours 2013, and in particular the recipients of awards associated with disabilities.

“I am thrilled that two sportswomen living with disabilities have been recognised for their outstanding achievements. Mary Fisher (Swimming) and Phillipa Gray (Cycling) have been awarded the Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to their respective sports. Ms Fisher competed at her first summer Paralympics in London last year and not only came home with a gold, two silver and a bronze medal but she also broke a world record,” said Mrs Turia.

“Ms Fisher is 19 years old and is blind. Her outstanding achievements mean that she is currently one of the best in the world of blind swimmers.”

“Phillipa Gray, despite suffering from Usher Syndrome causing her to have poor vision and hearing loss won medals in both track and road cycling events at the London Paralympics.

“I am absolutely confident that these young women who will continue to inspire us all with their dedication and perseverance.”

“I am also pleased that this year’s honours list includes those who have worked in the disability sector. Lorna Sullivan (MNZM for services to people with disabilities) is held in high esteem by all who work with her. She has worked with government departments, service providers and those living with disability. Her leadership in the development of the Enabling Good Lives approach is nationally significant, and will do much to transform the lives of disabled persons and their families.”

“Wendy Duff (MNZM for services to people with autism) has worked actively with Autism NZ for the past 16 years including as a president and with the Auckland committee.

“Patrick Wikiriwhi Thompson (Ngati Paoa/Whanaunga) is the Kaiwhakahaere for Ngati Turi o Aotearoa and has been awarded the Queens Service Medal (QSM) for services to Maori and the deaf community.

“I know that those working in the disability sector are working tirelessly to ensure that those living with disabilities are empowered to make decisions for their futures so they can lead full lives – and those living with disabilities continue to show us what can be achieved. They are true champions.”

Media contact: Kaapua Smith-Purkis: 021 943070

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