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Celia Lashlie Wins Portrait Gallery Vote

Celia Lashlie Wins Portrait Gallery Vote

Celia Lashlie, social justice campaigner who achieved worldwide fame for telling mothers how to handle their teenage sons, is the people’s choice to fill the Who’s Missing? gap on the walls of the New Zealand Portrait Gallery.

The social justice campaigner, who died of cancer at the age of 61 in February, was a runaway winner when members of the public were asked to vote for the most deserving New Zealander to join the illustrious faces in the national portrait collection.

Lashlie’s face will join those of The Queen, Kiri te Kanawa and Sir Edmund Hillary and about 200 others at the gallery on Wellington’s waterfront.

Celia Lashlie wrote He'll be OK: Growing Gorgeous Boys into Good Men which focused on research from discussions with pupils in 25 boys' schools throughout New Zealand. Her work on raising teenage boys as well as on social justice issues made her a popular speaker in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the United States.

Gallery director Gaelen Macdonald announced that Lashlie had attracted 110 of the 657 votes cast by visitors and on line during last month’s exercise, which was dominated by female nominees.

She finished well ahead of former prime minister Helen Clark with 38 votes followed by suffragette Kate Sheppard (25) whose face is not in the gallery’s collection although she adorns the country’s ten dollar banknotes.

Teenage pop singer Lorde (15 votes) and rape victim campaigner Louise Nicholas (14) were the fourth and fifth choices, with remaining votes spread among scores of nominees.

Ms Macdonald said Lashlie’s win demonstrated the power of social media as most of her votes resulted from a supporters’ campaign on Facebook.

“We are now on to the task of contacting her family, getting permission and then finding a portrait, or a portrait artist for a commission.” The gallery is preparing a fundraising campaign for the picture.


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