Community Champions

Since 2019, Taranaki Women’s Refuge has been recognising outstanding commitment and contribution to our cause by rewarding our Champions with Community pins.  It is our pleasure to honour these heroes.


Evan Davies

From the first time we reached out to him, Evan Davies was 100% in, committed, enthusiastic and ready to support the mahi and the people of Taranaki Women’s Refuge.

As the Head of Culture at New Plymouth Boys High School, he has encouraged a fleet of students to get involved in their community, fuelled by his passion for good.  Whether he is volunteering for every Annual Appeal, prepping info packs for mail outs, volunteering, entertaining or MCing at our events, creating his own fundraising events on our behalf, or supporting education and awareness of Domestic Violence, Evan is a consistently dedicated Champion for our Refuge. He has been involved in almost every fundraiser we have had in the last 5 years, lifting the awareness and raising funds to help support women and children in Taranaki who face Domestic Violence.  No job is too big or small and every need is always met in Evan’s ‘above and beyond’ way. Evan believes the work of Refuge is critically important.  His ongoing dedication to our cause made presenting him with our first ever community pin a very special occasion.

ken n anna

Ken and Anna

When considering nominations for our Community Champions following a 2 year hiatus, there were two names that just kept coming up; Anna Richardson and Ken Swan.  Local MoreFM breakfast hosts Ken and Anna have long been championing our work, using their platform to help share our news and events and of course bring awareness of Domestic Violence to the Taranaki airwaves.

Committed to helping support those in their community, they actively find ways to use their voice for our cause which goes over and above their job description.  We have had many conversations, messages, ideas and discussions about our work, the challenges we face and about what they can do to help those who are affected by Domestic Violence.    During our fundraising events they have reached out to update the community and encourage others to get involved.  You will often find them hosting an event, working from home or outside of working hours just to make sure the things that are important in our community reach those who need to hear it.

Ken loves “promoting local charities and groups and getting their stories out there”.  The desire to help others has been part of Anna’s ethos since she was a child.  “Even as a young girl growing up, I knew I wanted to do something that would make a difference in the world.  That’s the biggest joy I get from my job, is knowing that we can make a difference.”

They have shared more, done more and been more of an ally for our work whenever they can.  It was a privilege to present Ken and Anna with their awards on behalf of our Refuge and the many women who have and will benefit from the work they do to share our messages.

Taranaki Women's Refuge

Dame Trelise Cooper

Celebrated New Zealand fashion designer, business woman and icon, Dame Trelise Cooper is well known for creating gorgeous garments that make women look and feel fantastic.

Few people would be aware of the dedication and length of time Dame Trelise Cooper has given to the Women’s Refuge movement in New Zealand.  Dame Trelise first volunteered for an Auckland Refuge in the 90s as a call-out worker, collecting women from safe meeting points at any hour of the night and admitting them into a safe house.  She continued to gift to Refuges throughout New Zealand and in 2017 Dame Trelise became a committed friend of Taranaki Women’s Refuge.  Making considerable donations to our annual Pop-Up Clothing Shop fundraiser, she has most certainly supported the growth and popularity of this event.   Her strong belief in the empowerment of women has significant influence and continues to raise awareness of the need for Women’s Refuge services.  It was an honour to award Dame Trelise Cooper with our second Community pin, acknowledging her support as a Taranaki Women’s Refuge Champion.  Taranaki Women’s Refuge is endlessly grateful for Dame Trelises’ dedication to our cause and for her active leadership for women.

Taranaki Women's Refuge

Annalee Kemsley 

In 2016, Annalee delivered a box of make up to our office to be gifted to clients.  At the time, none of us could have guessed how much of an impact this small gesture of kindness would have.

From providing clients with a sense of care and welcome during the most vulnerable of times, Annalee has become one of our most dedicated supporters.  Annalee is an incredibly talented Make Up Artist, Social Media guru and creative who uses her considerable platform to champion awareness of Domestic Violence in our region to a local, National and International stage.  Whether she is presenting, attending or hosting her own fundraiser Annalee is consistently committed to supporting positive change for our women.  Her passion and drive has invited a whole new generation into the movement where the rights of women and children to live free from violence are at the center.  It was an absolute pleasure to present Annalee with our third Community pin acknowledging her varied contributions, on-going efforts and her choice to use her voice for change.