The Legal Ladies Adding A Fresh, Gender-Balanced Addition To “Footie”

Gender diversity has reached the higher echelons of New Zealand Rugby (we can only wait for the lower echelons to be reached) in the form of the arrival at the NZ Rugby board by former Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy and legal adminstrator Rowena Davenport.

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They join New Zealand Maori board chairwoman Dame Farah Palmer on the board.

Dame Patsy, a LawFuel Power List leader, completed her term as Governor General last year and has already battled sexism during her career. She has been a senior partner at RuddWattsMinterEllison as well as previously heading a major review of intelligence agencies, held multiple directorships, chaired the New Zealand Film Commission and worked as a chief negotiator on Treaty of Waitangi settlements

Reddy brings extensive skills to the board following a career as a lawyer, director, and crown negotiator before serving as New Zealand’s governor-general from 2016 to 2021.

She has served in numerous high-profile governance and consulting roles in both the private and public sectors.

“It’s an exciting time to be joining the NZR Board, with the Rugby World Cup in Aotearoa later this year,” Reddy said.

“I am sure this tournament will inspire a new generation of women and girls to play rugby.

“I look forward to contributing to a sport that has unified and enthralled New Zealanders from all walks of life for over 150 years.”

Rowena Davenport

Rowena Davenport is Chief Executive of Dunedin-based Gallaway Cook Allan, where she was appointed last year to provide support and strategic leadership to the law firm.

She resigned only recently as the first female chairperson of the Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU), following a long association with the game.

For Davenport her rugby involvement has been extensive, having transitioned from University second five, to sideline supporter, to volunteer, to administrator, to a position where she can have a big impact on the future shape of the sport.

“I’ve spent much of my life in and around rugby clubs and I’ve had a really positive experience,” she told the Otago Daily Times.

“This is what led to a number of volunteer roles in rugby governance … starting when I joined the Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU) as a director of the board in 2014.

“That was following their near collapse two years earlier, so it was a really interesting time to join the board.”

Prior to joining Gallaway Cook Allan she was working at MTF Finance as part of the Treasury Team before taking on a strategic role with the business as a member of the Executive Team.

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