Wellington’s inaugural Accessibility Awards honour inclusiveness

26 July 2018

Nine Wellington organisations were last night honoured at Wellington City Council’s inaugural Accessibility Awards for their efforts to help make Wellington more accessible for everyone.

Group photo of all the winners of the 2018 Wellington Regional Community Awards.

The winners of the 2018 Wellington Regional Community Awards - Photo: Mark Tantrum

The four category winners were Arts Access Aotearoa (Accessible Initiative), Everybody Cool Lives Here (Accessibility Champion), The Wellington Museum (Innovative Design in Accessibility Award), and Desman Tekira from Air New Zealand (Customer Service).

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, who presented the awards, says making a location or service accessible is about equity for our communities.

“It’s easy to think of accessibility as being wheel chair ramps and mobility parking but it extends beyond this and includes attitudes and the way people are treated. Accessibility is about our ability to participate in our communities.

“Almost a quarter of New Zealanders have a disability and with an ageing population, this number will increase. As a society we need to become more accessible to allow everyone to participate equally and with dignity.

“We are hoping this is the beginning of an ongoing award scheme that will continue to get bigger and help make our city an even better place for everyone,” he says.

The awards are an initiative sparked by accessibility advocate Neelu Jennings, from Limitless with Support, and have been driven by Wellington City Council.

The judges considered the range of ways spaces and organisations were accessible. This included the built environment, such as providing talking exhibits or quiet spaces, and customer service that values everyone equally, such as providing mobile EFTPOS at tables rather than requiring people to pay at the register. 

The inaugural Wellington City Accessibility Awards were held last night at the Michael Fowler Centre in conjunction with the Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards.

2018 Winners and Runner-ups

Accessibility Champion

Celebrating a local leader or champion who has made a significant contribution to improving accessibility in Wellington.

  • Winner: Everybody Cool Lives Here
  • Runners-up: Thomas Bryan (Blind Foundation), Newtown Community Centre

Accessible Initiative

Celebrating an initiative that improves the accessibility of places, services or information in Wellington.

  • Winner: Arts Access Aotearoa
  • Runner- up: Mornington Golf Club

Customer Service Award

Celebrating customer service that has gone the extra mile to eliminate barriers to participation.

  • Winner: Desman Tekira (Air New Zealand, Wellington Airport)
  • Runner up: Parafed Wellington

Innovative Design in Accessibility Award

Celebrating innovative design that improves accessibility in Wellington.

  • Winner: The Wellington Museum
  • Runner-up: Te Auaha New Zealand Institute of Creativity