Commission pays tribute to Briar Bentley

Commission pays tribute to Briar Bentley

July 7, 2016

The Human Rights Commission has paid tribute to transgender community leader and passionate human rights advocate, Briar Bentley, who passed away this week.

Human Rights Commissioner Richard Tankersley said Ms Bentley has made a lasting mark on the Northland community and New Zealand, through her work in human rights education.

“Briar was the driving force behind the transgender support network in Whangarei and through that community work, became an invaluable contributor to human rights education in Northland.”

Briar was an active participant in the Taku Manawa (My Human Rights) programme - an initiative which saw the Human Rights Commission work with communities to promote human rights.

Her involvement in the programme led her to develop her Conversation on Human Rights exhibition, a collection of 30 of her photographs, each a visual representation of an article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights accompanied by her commentary. 

“Briar’s gift was being able to present human rights in a unique way that encouraged interaction and discussion among communities.

“Since it first opened in Whangarei in March 2011, her exhibition has travelled widely, giving thousands of New Zealanders the opportunity to learn more about why human rights are so important to all of us.

“The Commission cannot speak highly enough of Briar’s contribution to human rights in New Zealand.”

Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Briar came to New Zealand to be a farmer, initially share milking in the Bay of Plenty and then owning dairy farms in Northland. She then went on to run the transgender support network in Whangarei.

She also facilitated workshops and human rights information sessions with various groups throughout the Northland region.

Human Rights Commission

The Commission works for a free, fair, safe and just New Zealand, where diversity is valued and human dignity and rights are respected.