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Geneva's Colour Cruise 'Race of Champions' celebrates diversity

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

"We all have different abilities, attributes, values, cultural backgrounds and gender identities. Without diversity, life would be very boring! We are a beautiful mix of people, and we are all dazzling in our own unique way" - Veronica Manion, Geneva Healthcare Chief Executive.

Geneva Healthcare, VIPs and industry leaders celebrated the annual Colour Cruise ‘Race of Champions’ on Wednesday, 5 June at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland. There were over 120 people who have disabilities from Geneva’s Community Living Homes, Choices in Community Living, Geneva Elevator, and athletes from Special Olympics New Zealand.

Tupara Morrison, Geneva Healthcare Pou Tikanga Rua started the event with a mihi whakatau acknowledging the Mana Whenua Ngãti Whãtua Orãkei and welcomed Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister of Disability Issues and Social Development; and Hon Michael Woodhouse, Member of the Health Select Committee and National Party Spokesperson for Health, and former Minister of ACC.

"Veronica (Manion) was right; this is a huge crowd! Just like Mother Teresa said, "Together we can do great things". So it’s good to see all of us here, as this is an event for us!" said Patricia, Geneva Healthcare Client.

We were also lucky to have other special guests with us, including: Chelsea Blair, ACC Strategic Partner; Gilli Sinclair, Cerebral Palsy Society of New Zealand Chief Executive; Amy Hogan, Researcher for Cerebral Palsy Society of New Zealand, Michelle Isemonger, Miss International Oceania 2017; and 12 Special Olympics New Zealand Athletes.

"You are all champions! You’ve turned up today to demonstrate to all of us, and yourselves the importance of keeping active, the importance of participating, and the importance of competition," - Hon Carmel Sepuloni.

We were honoured to have an entertaining yet motivational speech by Special Olympics New Zealand Athlete, James. He said he used to be a water boy, distributing water to rugby players but was never allowed on the team. Now he is a Power Weight Lifter and recently competed in the Summer Special Olympic Games in Abu Dhabi 2019. "I didn’t get my first lift, but luckily I listened to the advice from my coach and came back even stronger, and I won four silver medals! So thank you to Special Olympics New Zealand for helping me learn that I could be more than a water boy!"

There was also a surprise relay from Mohimohi, our Geneva Bear which means "to care" in Te Reo Māori. "Let’s ALL be like Mohimohi and care for one another every day," said Veronica Manion, Geneva Healthcare Chief Executive.

Then the races began! Everyone was off on foot, manual and power wheelchairs as the chequered flags waved, and the loudest of cheers echoed all around. After the races finished, everyone enjoyed a well-deserved post-race lunch thanks to Attainable Trust and The Pure Food Company. "The food was delicious!" said Special Olympics New Zealand Athlete, William.

"We have developed a really good relationship with Geneva across the various areas of work that they do, and we’re learning a lot about the fantastic work that you [Geneva Support Workers] all do" - Hon Michael Woodhouse.

The race winners received certificates, medals, and prizes for their incredible efforts. Hon Michael Woodhouse announced the Lite Cruise winners (those walking or using manual wheelchairs). In 1st place was Jaydon, 2nd place was Andrew, and in 3rd place was Tavisi. Gilli Sinclair, Cerebral Palsy Society of New Zealand Chief Executive, and Amy Hogan, Researcher for Cerebral Palsy Society of New Zealand, announced the Power Cruise winners (people using power wheelchairs). In 1st place was Stephanie, 2nd place was Ioane, and 3rd place was Apera.

"I want to start by thanking Geneva for putting on this event today. It’s such an awesome opportunity for everyone to get out and have some fun!" - Chelsea Blair, ACC Strategic Partner.

The Van Lier Trophy for Sportsmanship was awarded to Liam, while Best Dressed Support Worker went to Helen, and awarded Best Dressed Client was Julie.

Geneva provides disability services from Rehabilitation and Supported Employment at Geneva Elevator to a caring home environment at our Community Living Homes across Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua and Tauranga. The annual Colour Cruise is just one of the many ways that we support our Clients to live their best lives.

A big thank you to our event partners: ASB Showgrounds, Cerebral Palsy Society of New Zealand, CactusLab, Buddle Findlay, SecureCom, Toyota Wreck 2018 limited, and volunteers from Nurses of Auckland University Student Association.

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