A Gisborne teenager who's been given the top honour at an annual awards celebrating New Zealanders with disabilities, says the win was beyond his wildest dreams.
Sixteen-year-old Cory Newman, who has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and ADHD, won the Youth Spirit category and then the Supreme Award at the 12th annual Attitude Awards.
Taking to the stage he said, "this was the last thing I expected, thank you thank you thank you, I'm completely and utterly humbled to get this".
In an interview he told 1 NEWS, "My first reaction when they read out my name was "did I hear correctly?""
Attitude Trust chairperson Dan Buckingham commented on Cory’s win: “Cory is what we aspire to, someone who lives with disability and lives the fullest of lives."
"He has high expectations for himself, and from those around him to be completely included in all of the activities his peers are involved with. However, he has gone above merely being involved ... he’s excelled in all of his pursuits, whether they be academic, sports, cultural, or performance and the arts.”
The recognition tops off a great year for the 16 year old, whose band earlier this year opened for Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes.
Called Sit Down in Front, the band also placed third this year at the national SmokefreeRockquest, and its song Rain made it to the top 10 on the New Zealand Singles Music chart.
Cory said playing before Jimmy Barnes at Spark Arena was definitely a huge highlight.
"I had a lot of mind equals blown moments," he said. "Spark arena is a venue I'd fantasised about playing at since I was a tiny kid."
Jimmy Barnes sent a message of congratulations to be played at the awards event last night.
"Cory you've got nothing but the world in front of you mate and I'm so proud to be your friend," he said.
The teen hopes he can inspire others with his story but said the most important thing to him is about having fun.
"I just feel like the luckiest bloke in the world to do stuff like this," Cory said.
Sit Down in Front is set to open for Jimmy Barnes' band Cold Chisel in Tauranga in February.
The band also has a new single coming out next week.
TVNZ 1 will screen an hour-long package from the Attitude Awards on Sunday December 2 at 11am.