Advocates’ work recognised

Louisa Wall
Louisa Wall
Two MPs I have been proud to call friends are Louisa Wall and Georgina Beyer. They have both fiercely advocated for women’s rights, LGBTQI rights and social inclusion.

I’m looking forward to chatting with one of them at a public session next week, while sadly acknowledging the passing of the other.

Louisa is most famously known for introducing, and seeing through, a new law to allow same-sex marriage.

At the time, Louisa likened the passing of the Bill to winning a rugby World Cup Final. She should know — being a double cap for New Zealand in netball as a Silver Fern, and playing rugby in the first world-cup winning women’s Black Ferns team.

She has also been an outspoken advocate for human rights globally, including championing the cause of the Uyghur people of Xinjiang in China, and shining a light on illegal organ transplant tourism.

Georgina, I knew for more than 20 years.

I interviewed Georgie early in my journalism days, for her work supporting the decriminalisation of prostitution. More recently, she supported many of the events I organised at Parliament as co-chair of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians — a group that promotes women’s legislative leadership.

At various times I have reached out to each of these wahine toa, asking them to speak at the iconic Dame Dame Dorothy Fraser Lecture Series — but the timing hasn’t worked.

Georgie wanted to wait until the risk of Covid not longer threatened her compromised immunity. Sadly that wasn’t to be, with her passing this month at the relatively young age of 65.

However I am looking forward to hearing Louisa’s story when we chat next Tuesday evening at the EFKS Church Hall, 41 Macandrew Rd, South Dunedin, for the 11th Dame Dorothy Fraser Lecture.

The lecture series was started in 2012 by my predecessor MP for Dunedin South (now Taieri), Clare Curran.

Although the format has changed from a formal lecture to a "fireside chat", the series continues the tradition of honouring the late Dame Dorothy Fraser by highlighting the achievements of New Zealand women, and remembering their contributions.

Dame Dorothy Fraser was the youngest person to join the New Zealand Labour Party and was a well-known community figure who gave so much back to the South Dunedin community in her various governance roles.

Previous speakers include former prime minister Helen Clark, Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly and sexual abuse campaigner Louise Nicholas.

Tickets can be purchased on Eventfinda, by phoning 0273306474 or emailing