People's Choice Awards

Press Release

19 December 2019

All I want for Christmas is Accessibility!

Nominations are now open for the Inaugural Access Alliance People’s Choice Accessibility Awards for Business 

The Access Alliance is calling for nominations of New Zealand businesses doing great things in the name of accessibility. These businesses will then be put to the public to vote, and they will be recognised by the Minister for Disability Issues, the Hon. Carmel Sepuloni, at a special event on Friday 21 February 2020.

Chrissie Cowan, CEO of Kāpō Māori Aotearoa New Zealand and Access Alliance Chair, says, “Every New Zealander knows someone with an access need. This event is unique because it asks people with lived experience of having access needs to tell us about businesses who are role models and champions for accessibility in their communities. 

At this time of year people with access needs will be doing their Christmas shopping and planning their holidays too. This is an opportunity to reflect on a time in 2019 when they could interact with a New Zealand business or service with ease, equity and in a way that enhanced their dignity.

“Accessibility is not just about the width of the door – it’s about information and communication, customer service, an accessible education and employment system, and universal design of public facilities, goods and services. Accessibility is an enabler to achieving wellbeing - Barriers to access are barriers to wellbeing” says Mrs Cowan.

The awards, proudly sponsored by Sudima Hotels, will recognise businesses who are leading the way in championing accessibility and demonstrating that accessibility is good for business. A growing number of businesses and organisations are supporting #AccessLaw2020, the Access Alliance’s campaign for Accessibility Legislation. In doing so they are recognising people with access needs as valuable employees, customers and members of their communities. 

For low vision blogger Ite Lemalu, this is certainly true. “It’s often the little things that make all the difference. For example, recently, I was out shopping and people had dumped their shopping trolleys in the middle of the walkway. They were hard for me to see, but I was also concerned about other shoppers with access needs like older people or those in wheelchairs or with children in pushchairs. When I approached the staff, I was not sure how they would react, but they were helpful. Accessibility is a big topic but it starts with having the right attitude”. 

To nominate a business for the Access Alliance People’s Choice Accessibility Awards for Business visit: Nominations close January 19th and voting will begin. 

About the Access Alliance 

The Access Alliance is a movement comprising of the ten founding member organisations from the disability sector and partner supporters, individuals and supporting organisations representing people with access needs.  Collectively the Alliance represents disabled people, seniors, carers of young children, the temporarily injured, migrants and people for whom English is a second language.

The Access Alliance are urging government to put legislation at the heart of a fairer and more inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand. The Awards are part of the Access Alliance’s #AccessLaw2020 campaign. 

The Access Alliance member organisations include: 

  • Association of Blind Citizens New Zealand Incorporated 
  • Blind Low Vision NZ (formerly the Blind Foundation) 
  • CCS Disability Action 
  • Cerebral Palsy Society 
  • Deaf Aotearoa NZ 
  • Disabled Persons Assembly NZ 
  • Kāpō Māori Aotearoa New Zealand Incorporated 
  • National Foundation for the Deaf 
  • Parents of Vision Impaired New Zealanders 
  • People First, Ngā Tāngata Tuatahi 

Collectively, the founding member organisations assist over 763,000 disabled New Zealanders.  The Access Alliance network of partner supporters and social media followers sits around just over 6,000 like-minded individuals, twenty-six supporting organisations and fourteen business champions.

The Parliamentary Champions for Accessibility Legislation (PCAL), a cross parliamentary parties group of MPs support the Access Alliance campaign. 

The Access Alliance is also contributing to the Government’s ‘Accelerating Accessibility Work Programme’ to advise on what’s needed to improve accessibility.  


Event Details: 

Access Alliance People’s Choice Accessibility Awards for Business

Sudima Auckland Airport

21 February 2020 | 6:15 PM – 7:45 PM


For more information contact: 

Taryn Banks

Ddi: +649 355 6869

Mob: 64 022 0162571

E: [email protected]

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