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Attitude Awards celebrate disabled community's achievements despite Covid-19 pandemic

An evening celebrating achievements in the disabled community is underway in Auckland.

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The evening celebrating achievements in the disabled community took place in Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

The Attitude Awards had a record number of nominations this year, with many living with impairments not letting Covid-19 hold them back.

Among the finalists is a group called the Independance Collective.

They're four friends with intellectual disabilities who decided to start a business.

"Our goal is to get financial independence," said co-founder Janie Tutton.

They've created a beer brand named Change Maker, whose motto is "Brewing better lives".

They want to show others with disabilities what is possible.

"If they have a passion they can also either start their own business or they can join us," said Tutton.

Team member Neville Pugh said "all people should be equal".

Attitude chief executive Dan Buckingham told 1 NEWS, "After so many years of doing this, we keep finding great talent and great stories."

"What I love across the range of finalists is we've got so many people who are forging their own path and not waiting for something to happen, they're making a difference themselves."

The shortlist includes 20-year-old Grace Stratton, whose work is about ensuring disabilities don't block access to fashion.

"All is for All is her organisation and basically it has, people with disabilities, putting them in the forefront as models," said Buckingham.

Another finalist is 19-year-old Libby Hunsdale.

"I thought the whole thing was crazy,” she told 1 NEWS about her reaction to being shortlisted.

She's set to hit the big screens next year, as the lead in new Kiwi film Poppy.

"Poppy is about a Down's girl, who, she can live her own life on her own terms... anybody with a disability can do anything," said Hunsdale.

Her attitude is reflected by all those nominated tonight.

Buckingham said, "They're leaders, people to be admired, especially in this year, the year of covid, they're people who haven't sat back"

The awards will be aired on TVNZ1 on Sunday, December 13 at 4pm.