Māori nominees in the running for Attitude Awards 2016

By Moana Makapelu Lee
  • Auckland
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Ngāti Maniapoto’s Rodney Bell is one of three in the running for this year’s Artistic Achievement Award at this year’s 2016 Attitude Awards.  

The Attitude Awards acknowledges the achievements and successes of New Zealanders living with disabilities. 

In 1991 Bell’s life changed forever when a motorcycle accident left him paralysed from the waist down.  He found a passion for dance after the accident which led to his establishment of the Touch Compass dance company.

His production this year, titled 'Meremere', tells the story of his experience living on the streets of LA for three years after the end of a five-year contract at Oakland's AXIS Dance Company in the United States left him homeless.  Bell says to win the award would mean more than just an acknowledgment of his solo production this year but the journey he has taken since the day his life changed 25 years ago.

Other Māori finalists at this year’s awards include Ngāi Tahu-Ngāpuhi descendant Holly Diepraam who is one of three in the running for the Youth Spirit award.  The Special Olympics NZ basketball team includes five Māori players and is also in the running, for the Sporting Spirit award.