Dame Margaret Sparrow

Senior New Zealander of the Year

2020

Ryman Healthcare

Senior New Zealander of the Year

Te Mātāpuputu o te Tau

Ryman Healthcare

Dame Margaret Sparrow has made extraordinary contributions to the field of sexual and reproductive health and has been a trailblazer in the campaign for legal abortions in New Zealand.

Margaret has advocated for many years on changes to our abortion laws, and in 2020 abortion was successfully decriminalised and in the following year 2021, the Safe Areas Amendment introduced by Louisa Wall gave greater protection to those attending an abortion service

Working in the student health centre at Victoria University in the late 1960s, she ignored the rules that allowed contraception to be given only to married couples, making information available to all students. The Wellington Family Planning Clinic is named after her.

Dame Margaret was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire, for services to medicine and the community, and in 1993 she was awarded the New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal.

In 2002 she was appointed a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to medicine and the community, and in 2009 she accepted re-designation as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. A two-time president of the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand, Dame Margaret continues to publish and lead Family Planning education in New Zealand.