“The fact that she has never appeared (on the honours list) I think is a condemnation of our government.“ Prof. Graeme Wake*
Our civic and military honours system, in its various iterations with or without knights and dames, has often led to some curious awards, refracted through that part of the party political spectrum currently in favour. Over a long period of time, there have been some even curiouser non-awards.
Which Kiwi, nicknamed the White Mouse by the Gestapo, garnered the following post-World War II awards for wartime bravery but hasn’t made it onto any national New Zealand civic or military honours list in the more than 65 odd years since her incredible wartime exploits?
Australia: Companion of the Order of Australia; George Medal
Commonwealth of Nations: 1939-1945 Star; France and Germany Star and bar
United Kingdom: Defence Medal and bar; War Medal 1939-1945
France: Legion d’Honneur; Croix de Guerre with two palms and a star; Medaille de la Resistance
United States of America: Presidential Medal of Freedom with Bronze Palm
New Zealand: Nil, zero, nothing, not a sausage
Yes, that’s right, Wellington born Nancy Wake, who will turn 99 next month and still retains her New Zealand passport after a childhood move to Australia, is a heroine without honour in her own country, apart from a Kiwi Consolation Prize: Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association Badge in Gold.
Relative Graeme Wake, a professor in industrial mathematics at Massey University’s Albany campus, says Ms Wake was physically frail and living in a rest home in England but her mind was still very sharp.*
Prof. Wake has recently approached his MP, Parliament Speaker Lockwood Smith, in a new bid to have his famous relative honoured by New Zealand.
See my 14 June 2009 blogpost Nancy Wake-the path of most resistance* for more on the incredible veteran.
Email Lockwood Smith firstname.lastname@example.org supporting an appropriate award for Nancy Wake in the next Honours List.
Postscript 8/8/11 It has just been announced that Nancy Wake has died in London aged 98*. See video tribute below.*
https://lukeytraining.wordpress.com/?s=Nancy+Wake Nancy Wake’s incredible story