National award nomination for Massey lecturer

Wednesday 3 October 2012, 4:10PM
By Massey University

A Massey University lecturer has been nominated for a national award for his work in campaigning for people with disabilities.

Dr Martin Sullivan, a senior lecturer in the School of Health and Social Services, has been nominated for the Spirit of Attitude award in this year’s New Zealand Attitude Awards.

The award recognises the efforts of disabled people and those who support them.

The awards, which have been held for the past five years, celebrate the lives and achievements of people with  disability.   

Dr Sullivan has used a wheelchair since he was injured in a motorcycle accident in 1969.

He teaches New Zealand’s first university-based disability studies course at Massey University’s Manawatü campus.

He says being nominated is humbling. “I first learned about my nomination when I got a phone call congratulating me on making the finalists for the Attitude award,” Dr Sullivan says. “I was quite thrown by the whole thing and thought, ‘Heck, someone has gone to the trouble nominating me, I may as well accept’.”

Dr Sullivan has spent the past two decades researching and teaching disability studies.

“I think it has been a source of pride for the movement to not only have disability studies taught within the university system but also having it taught by an academic who identifies as a disabled person. I think I was also nominated partly because I have been a long-time activist in the disability rights movement.”

The winners of the awards will be announced in Auckland on November 29.