Louise Nicholas has been awarded the Governor-General’s Anzac of the Year Award.
The Survivor Advocate was presented with the award by Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae in Wellington.
The award which is presented in partnership with the RSA was established to recognise people who have demonstrated extraordinary courage, compassion comradeship and commitment, essentially displaying the spirit of Anzac.
Sir Jerry Mateparae says, “Louise embodies all the qualities we look for in the Anzac of the Year. She is an inspiration to other New Zealanders”
The RSA Chief Executive, David Moger, says, “Louise shows us that the Anzac value of courage is not just displayed on the battlefield, and that standing up for what you know is right, regardless of the personal sacrifice involved, can inspire others to their own acts of bravery.”
Louise Nicholas was thrust into the national spotlight after going public with her story of sexual abuse at the hands of Police officers.
A statement issued by Government House outlined that 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.
Her campaign for victims’ rights did not stop there, Louise currently works within Rape Prevention Education as National Survivor Advocate. In this role she liaises 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. She is also on the Tauiwi Caucus of the Executive Committee of Te Ohaakii a Hine – National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together.
At the ceremony, in his speech, the Governor General said, “Louise, in defining your purpose, you have followed the ideals of the Anzac spirit. You have braved the outrage of personal hurt, used your experience to help other women and men in our society and initiated change for the better. You are an inspiration to other New Zealanders.”
Louise Nicholas said at the function that she was honoured and privileged to accept the award and paid tribute to her family for their support.