Asia Pacific Report newsdesk
The Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy, this week invested social justice advocate and former Green Party MP Keith Locke as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit “for services to human rights advocacy”.
Locke described the the award in the New Year Honours list as recognition of the great work of human rights advocates in the many organisations he had worked in, such as those mentioned in the tribute read out at the ceremony.
“Mr Keith Locke has been a long-term human rights activist at both national and international levels,” said the citation.
“Mr Locke became the National Co-ordinator of the Philippines Solidarity Network from 1986 to 1991 and created exchange programmes between social justice groups in New Zealand and their counterparts in the Philippines.
“Around this time he opened the progressive One World Books store, which provided a hub for activists in Auckland.
“He was Secretary of the Wellington Latin America Committee from 1980 to 1985.
In the 1990s he was a Foreign Affairs spokesperson for the NewLabour, Alliance and Green parties and was a Green Member of Parliament between 1999 and 2011.
“During this time, he advocated on politically unpopular international human rights issues and drew attention to human rights abuses in Tibet, China, East Timor, Fiji, Sri Lanka, and the Middle East.
“He was recognised by Amnesty International with the Human Rights Defender Award in 2012 and the Harmony Award from the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand in 2013.
“Since retiring from Parliament, Mr Locke has served on the Boards of the Auckland Refugee Council from 2012 to 2017 and the New Zealand Peace and Conflict Studies Centre Trust until 2019.”