Louise Nicholas to receive her Queen's Birthday honour

Louise Nicholas will officially be made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the prevention of ...
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Louise Nicholas will officially be made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the prevention of sexual violence at ceremony at Government House on Tuesday.

Rape survivors' advocate Louise Nicholas will officially be made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) on Tuesday.

Nicholas will receive the honour for services to the prevention of sexual violence from Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae at an investiture ceremony at Government House.

The long-time advocate for sexual violence victims was rewarded with the ONZM in the Queen's Birthday honours in June.

Nicholas rose to national prominence when she claimed that, as a vulnerable teenager in Rotorua, she was raped by four policemen.

Her decision to go public with her story and seek accountability for what happened to her saw her battle through five court cases.  

The accused officers were eventually acquitted, but her case rocked the justice system to the core and, after a 2007 commission of inquiry, senior police were forced to confront how the force treated sexual violence victims.

Speaking ahead of the ceremony, Nicholas said it was going to be a very special day, which she would be sharing with her family.

The honour was also for all survivors and victims of sexual violence, she said.

"The award is recognition that finally the voices of victims of sexual violence are being heard. It's for my colleagues and my survivors. There are many many of us receiving this award."

It had been a "hard slog", but she had taken heart from the great strides being made by the Law Commission and the Justice Ministry and their ongoing work into reviewing pre-trial and trial processes for sexual violence cases, she said.

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The court system has came under fire for traumatising sexual offence victims who give evidence.

It would also be great to catch up with Sir Jerry again, Nicholas said. She was named as the Governor-General's Anzac of the Year in April.

Others to receive their awards later this week will include Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum and coach Mike Hesson. 

 - Stuff

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