Rape prevention campaigner honoured

HONOURED: Dr Kim McGregor, right, was supported by Louise Nicholas at the investiture.
HONOURED: Dr Kim McGregor, right, was supported by Louise Nicholas at the investiture.

Louise Nicholas, rape survivor advocate, was in the audience supporting Dr Kim McGregor as she was honoured for her services to the prevention of sexual violence.

McGregor, the director of Rape Prevention Education, was at Government House in Auckland today where she was made a Companion of the Queen's Service Order, receiving her insignia from Sir Jerry Mateparae along with 13 others at the investiture ceremony.

Speaking after the ceremony, McGregor said it was humbling to receive the honour, as most people in her sector were not recognised for their work.

"I had to think before I accepted it, but I wanted to accept it on behalf of all of my colleagues who are working in very, very difficult circumstances with very limited resources over decades," she said.

"I don't feel like it's about me as an individual, it's about all of us working for sexual violence prevention - and that's what's important."

McGregor said experiencing sexual violence from her stepfather at age 11 was a powerful motivator in her work.

"When I learned about the high prevalence of sexual violence - one in four girls, one in eight boys - it normalised the experience I had."

Nicholas, who is an advocate for Rape Prevention Education, said she was "so proud" of McGregor's achievements.

"If it wasn't for Kim the sector wouldn't be where it was today."

Nicholas’ own rape claims featuring senior officers sparked the 2007 Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct.

Nicholas said McGregor had kept her grounded in the wake of the TV screening of Consent: The Louise Nicholas Story on Sunday.

"We've been absolutely inundated by so many people thanking us for what has been achieved through the film.

"Conversations have started and that's all I ever asked for. We're on the way up."

Sitting next to McGregor at the ceremony was Rodney Hansen, QC, who became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the judiciary. 

The former High Court judge was the trial judge in Nicholas' case against former top Rotorua detective John Dewar, who was found guilty on four charges of attempting to obstruct or defeat the course of justice in his handling of historic sex allegations.

"I've just met [Nicholas] and talked to her, and it was so nice to speak to her," Hansen said.

He named the Nicholas trial as one of the most memorable of his career, along with the Urewera Four and Taito Phillip Field trials.

But as a judge, "you don't do anything that isn't really important to someone," he said.

"Those things are important because of the public interest that's attached to them, but they're not any more important than lots of other things that go unnoticed."