Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Obituary For Bridget Nichols

"An Elegant Warm-Hearted Woman"

Exemplary diplomat, lawyer, and human being.

Bridget Nichols. New Zealand Deputy High Commissioner, Honiara. Born in England, 25 June 1951. Died in Honiara, Solomon Islands, 17 March, aged 50.

Possessed of remarkable personal qualities, Bridget Nichols served New Zealand with professionalism, extraordinary energy, courage and kindness. To her friends in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, both those who knew her well and those with whom she had only the briefest contact, Bridget always impressed with her strength of character and her determination to get the job done well. She impressed also with her commitment to the public good and human compassion for others at a personal level. Her death is a reminder to all that the foreign service can involve hazards - even to life itself. Bridget understood that, and expressed her own concerns about it, but she was never daunted. She accepted all the challenges of her job with total integrity, enthusiasm and good humour.

Bridget was a "participant" in the very best sense of the word. In her early days she was a Queen's Guide, and at St Anne's Grammar School in Ealing, London she was an outstanding student, the leader of the school orchestra, and the "Head of School". Her love of music was life long; for her farewell from her assignment in Ankara (see below) she arranged a string quartet to play for the guests. As a legal scholar her credentials were outstanding. After graduating Bachelor of Laws at Leicester University (1973) she came to New Zealand, being admitted to the degree of Master of Laws at Victoria University in 1975.

Before joining the Ministry, Bridget practised law as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand. She was admitted also as a Solicitor by the Law Society of England, and as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of Solomon Islands. She was a member of a number of professional legal organisations, and the Executive Committee of the Wellington Branch of the Commonwealth Trust. For all that, she was modest about her achievements.

Bridget's early working contacts with the Ministry were in her capacity as Legal Adviser to the Solomon Islands Western Provincial Government, with which she worked under the auspices of New Zealand Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) from 1989 to 1991.

As the Wellington District Law Society have commented, Bridget quickly gained the admiration and lasting respect of all those with whom she worked and came in contact. As well as raising local awareness of the environment and drafting laws to protect it, Bridget worked with village communities and women's groups helping them ease the burden of their daily lives. In memory of her achievements and her care and concern for others, the Wellington legal profession has established a Trust to promote the ideals that Bridget espoused, and help others do what she achieved by assisting those who are prepared to work from time to time with people in need in developing countries.

Bridget joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1992 as a policy officer in the Ministry's Legal Division. Before her assignment as Deputy High Commissioner in Honiara, Bridget served at New Zealand's embassies in Mexico City and Ankara. Her responsibilities while in Ankara included coverage of events in Jordan and Israel, including contacts with the Palestinian Authority. A demonstration of her courage and determination was a decision to walk, unaccompanied by any security presence, to a meeting in Ramallah - when her taxi driver was not prepared to continue the journey as far as the Qallandia checkpoint.

Bridget was only beginning to unpack her shipment of personal effects from Ankara when the tragedy struck. A recent comment from the Ambassador in Ankara noted that at the last office Christmas party, Bridget was the one member of staff who knew the names of all the children - and took time to talk to all of them. The quotation in the heading of this article is from a Turkish woman who assisted Bridget with her official representational duties in Ankara. Her colleagues there have arranged a memorial service at the church she attended during her posting in Turkey. The New Zealand Ambassador also plans to pay tribute to her in his ANZAC Day speech at Chunuk Bair. The Embassy in Ankara was closed to the public on 19 March as a mark of respect for Bridget, and as a reflection of the feelings of loss on the part of staff.

In Wellington, staff of the Ministry have signed a book of condolence to be sent, with other messages, to Bridget's family in England.

Bridget's funeral will be held at Wellington Cathedral of Saint Paul at 1.30 pm on Tuesday 26 March with the service conducted by The Very Reverend Michael Brown, Dean of Wellington.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election