Dame Judy McGregor has “lifted the voices and improved the lives of women, children and older people around the world”.
These are the words of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as she extended her congratulations to the AUT Emeritus Professor on her damehood in this year’s Queen's Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours List.
Dame McGregor was appointed the honour for service to human rights and health, having worked with emerging national human rights institutions in Malaysia, Nepal, the Maldives, Jordan, and Palestine on developing human rights communications strategies, and on women’s rights.
At AUT she co-authored research on human rights titled Human Rights in New Zealand: Emerging Faultlines, identifying five critical issues to be addressed including women’s rights, equal pay, child poverty and the over-imprisonment of Māori.
She was the first Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner for the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, and produced the report Caring Counts, based on undercover work in the aged care industry, that had a significant impact and lead, ultimately, to a historic industry-wide settlement.
Dame McGregor was appointed Chair of the Waitematā District Health Board in 2018, and has been in the position through the Covid-19 pandemic.
She chairs the Health Workforce Advisory Board and the Mental Health and Addictions Assurance Group with the Ministry of Health.
The lawyer and former newspaper editor was named the Supreme Winner at the 2016 Women in Governance Awards for lifetime excellence in governance and is patron of the Auckland Women’s Centre.
Dame Judy McGregor says that Covid-19 has exposed inequalities, and AUT’s Master of Human Rights is a fantastic opportunity to renew understanding about how we rebuild.
“Students today need a good grasp of how individual freedoms intersect with collective rights as the world and NZ recovers from the global pandemic.”