Government House, Wellington, 23 April 2015: The Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae has presented the 2015 Anzac of the Year Award to Survivor Advocate Louise Nicholas at a function at Government House in Wellington this evening (5.30pm,Thursday 23 April, 2015).
The Governor-General’s ANZAC of the Year Award is presented in association with the RSA and was established to recognise the spirit of ANZAC evident in New Zealanders today. The recipient must have demonstrated extraordinary courage, compassion comradeship and commitment.
Louise Nicholas was nominated for the award by the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society and was selected by a panel of judges chaired by the Governor-General.
Citation 2015 Anzac of the Year
The Anzac spirit is typified by the ordinary person stepping up to do extraordinary things in the service of others and there is no better illustration than Louise Nicholas.
Louise is a survivor of childhood and adult rape. Her decision to go public with her story and seek accountability for what happened to her saw her battle her way through two deposition hearings and five court cases. This in turn led to a full Police investigation “Operation Austin” and a Commission of Inquiry into Police conduct.
Following the trials, Louise worked with the New Zealand Law Commission on a report on the victims of sexual crimes and with a team of legal researchers at Victoria University investigating the same topic. She also worked with the New Zealand Police, educating its officers about sexual crime.
Currently she works within Rape Prevention Education (RPE) as National Survivor Advocate, a role that sees her liaising with survivors, their families and communities all around New Zealand. She represents survivor perspectives in service development and the sexual violence and abuse services sector (networking, providing advocacy and advising). Louise is on the Tauiwi Caucus of the Executive Committee of Te Ohaakii a Hine – National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together (TOAH-NNEST).
She was voted NZ Herald’s New Zealander of the Year 2007 and was also placed in the top 10 as one of “New Zealand’s Living Treasures”.