Waikato businessman honoured for winning attitude

Selwyn Cook is committed to employing people with disabilities. The Waikato businessman believes everyone has a disability of some kind, whether it’s physical, intellectual or confidence related.

“We don’t employ disabled people. We just employ good people and if they’ve got a physical disability, so what?” says Selwyn.

This attitude earned Selwyn and SSC Service Stations, where he works as retailer, the ACC Employer Award at the 2014 Attitude Awards on World Disability Day.

The national awards celebrate the excellence and achievements of Kiwis living with a disability. This year’s winners were announced at a black tie gala held at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre on December 3 and hosted by TV news presenter Simon Dallow.

The Awards havegrown out of the Attitude TV series, which screens on TV ONE on Sunday mornings at 8.30am. The overall Attitude ACC Supreme Award was taken out by champion Paralympic swimmer Mary Fisher (21).

Attitude Awards Trustee Dan Buckingham, a member of the elite national wheelchair rugby team the Wheel Blacks, says the Awards are about raising expectations around what is achievable for people living with disabilities.

“Last night we celebrated winners across a range of categories, but really the aim of the Awards is to change peoples’ perceptions about this broad and diverse sector of society. So in that sense, all 24 finalists are winners and fantastic role models,” he said.

As the operator of 14 Z service stations in the Waikato region, Selwyn wanted to ensure his business was inclusive of people with disabilities. So two years ago, after being inspired by TV programme Attitude, he approached disability recruitment agency Workbridge Waikato about hiring staff.

Selwyn says Workbridge is now his ‘first choice’ recruitment agency, having connected him with many wonderful employees who have enriched his business.

“They are competent employees, without question. They bring an understanding that life isn’t always fair. They never have man ‘flu. Rain, hail or shine they battle their way to work,” he says.

Selwyn says he is hugely proud of his staff, including Biju Thomas who was recently recognised as the leading Z Service Station customer service representative in the region. Biju, who lost the use of his right hand and arm in a motorcycle accident, was acknowledged for the pride and passion he gives to his role.

Other Attitude Award winners are Matthew Weir (Courage In Sport), Craig Jessop (Spirit of Attitude), Lyn Cotton (Making A Difference) Corey Peters (Sport Performer of the Year) Mary Fisher (Youth and ACC Supreme Award), Paul Barrett (Artistic Achievement) and Muskan Devta (Junior).  John Baldwin Munro was inducted in the Attitude Hall of Fame and Jessica Quinn took home the People’s Choice Award.


Chief Executive of ACC Scott Pickering says ACC is proud to be principal sponsor of the Awards for the seventh year running, including sponsorship of the Attitude ACC Employer Award and the Attitude ACC Supreme Award.


“Congratulations to all the 2014 Attitude Awards winners. They are high achievers and their determination and spirit is inspirational.”


Other sponsors supporting the awards include: Invacare, Barfoot & Thompson, Westpac, IHC Foundation, Drake Medox, Ministry of Health, Air New Zealand, Wayne Francis Charitable Trust and The Lion Foundation.


Full list of winners and locations:

Attitude ACC Supreme Award and Attitude Youth Award

Mary Fisher – Wellington

Attitude Courage In Sport Award

Matthew Weir – Auckland

Attitude Sport Performer of the Year Award

Corey Peters – New Plymouth

Spirit of Attitude Award

Craig Jessop – Whangarei

Attitude Making A Difference Award

Lyn Cotton – Christchurch

Attitude Artistic Achievement Award

Paul Barrett – Auckland

Attitude ACC Employer Award

Selwyn Cook, SSC Service Stations (licensed retailer for Z Energy, Waikato) – Hamilton

Attitude Junior Award

Muskan Devta – Auckland

Attitude Hall of Fame Award

JB Munro – Mosgiel

Attitude People’s Choice Award

Jessica Quinn – Auckland


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