On Tuesday the 29th November, Attitude Trust held its annual awards to recognise the success and achievements of the one in four New Zealanders who live with disabilities or chronic health issues.
From accomplished artists, talented young people, to elite athletes and people who unselfishly focus their lives on others in the community, the awards recognised some of New Zealand’s outstanding talent.
KPMG proudly sponsored the Artistic Achievement award for the first time this year, which highlights the outstanding creative achievements of Kiwis living with disabilities, whether it’s creating art or empowering others to be artistic.
KPMG Partner, Souella Cumming presented the Artistic Achievement Award to Rodney Bell, for his dedication to dance and the creative industries for people with disabilities. Rodney was a professional dancer for 20 years until his spine was injured in a horrific motorcycle accident. This led him to become a founding member of Touch Compass, New Zealand’s only professional inclusive dance company. After relocating to the USA to work with dance company Axis, Rodney ended up living on the streets. Eventually he returned home, and has choreographed a Creative NZ funded project, telling his story of surviving homelessness in San Francisco.
Talking about the awards Souella said, “I’d like to congratulate last night’s Artistic Achievement award winner Rodney Bell, along with category finalists Steff Green and James King. Every single winner and finalist last night had an incredible story of struggle and success to share, and I was absolutely humbled by the experience.
“We’re thrilled to have presented this award to Rodney for his constant commitment to the dance industry. He went from being a professional dancer to being a founding member New Zealand’s only professional inclusive dance company, then eventually being homeless before coming home to continue to pursue his passion. He is admirable for what he’s achieved, and a disability never stopped him,” says Cumming.
“At KPMG we believe in respecting every individual and their contribution to business and the community. Diversity and inclusion of everyone is so important in fuelling New Zealand’s prosperity for the benefit of us all.
“Our ability to successfully maintain an environment for all New Zealanders to flourish requires that our people be as diverse as our clients and the communities we live and work in, and these awards encapsulate this,” says Cumming.
As part of the wider Inclusion & Diversity initiative, KPMG partners with Global Women, is a signatory for Champions for Change and Women’s Empowerment Principles, and is also recognised as a Rainbow Tick certified business.