Susan Devoy

Dame Susan Devoy
Full name Susan Elizabeth Anne Devoy
Country  New Zealand
Residence New Zealand
Born (1964-01-04) 4 January 1964
Rotorua, New Zealand
Retired 1992
Plays Right handed
Women's singles
Highest ranking No. 1 (April 1984)
Last updated on: 9 May 2011.

Dame Susan Elizabeth Anne Devoy DNZM CBE (born 4 January 1964)[1] is a former New Zealand squash player who dominated the sport in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She won the World Open on four occasions.[2]

In March 2013, she was appointed to the position of Race Relations Commissioner for New Zealand.

Playing career

Born in Rotorua, New Zealand, Devoy attended MacKillop College.[3] Her family was very involved in the squash community and she started playing when she was very young.[4] Devoy turned professional at the age of 17.[5] Her first World Open title came in 1985,[6] with a subsequent win in 1987. Further World Open titles came in 1990 and 1992.[7] For most of her career, the World Open was held biennially, a fact that stopped Devoy potentially doubling her tally. She did, however, win the coveted British Open eight times, a record only beaten by Heather McKay in the 1960s/70s and by Janet Morgan in the 1950s.

In 1992, the year of her unexpected retirement, she was the Australian, British, French, Hong Kong, Irish, New Zealand, Scottish, Swedish and World squash champion.[8]


In the 1986 New Year Honours, Devoy was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire,[9] and elevated to Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1993 Queen's Birthday Honours.[10] She is also noted for her charity work, being the New Zealand Patron on the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In 1988 she walked the entire length of New Zealand, over seven weeks, and raised $500,000 for that charity.[11] Other achievements include being named New Zealand Sports Person and Sports Woman in 1985.[12]

In 1998, she became a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, the youngest New Zealander since Sir Edmund Hillary to receive a knighthood.[7] In between her charity work she is also a professional speaker in motivation and inspiration. In 2007, she appeared on Like Minds, Like Mine TV commercials in New Zealand to counter the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.[13]

World Open

Finals: 5 (4 titles, 1 runner-up)

Outcome Year Location Opponent in the final Score in the final
Winner 1985 Dublin, Ireland England Lisa Opie 9–4, 9–5, 10–8
Winner 1987 Auckland, New Zealand England Lisa Opie 9–3, 10–8, 9–2
Runner-up 1989 Warmond, Netherlands England Martine Le Moignan 4–9, 9–4, 10–8, 10–8
Winner 1990 Sydney, Australia England Martine Le Moignan 9–4, 9–4, 9–4
Winner 1992 Vancouver, Canada Australia Michelle Martin 9–4, 9–6, 9–4

Sports administration

After Devoy retired from competitive squash, she became the Chief Executive of Sport Bay of Plenty.[8]

Personal life

She married her manager and fellow squash player John Oakley, on 12 December 1986 in Rotorua's St Michael's Church,[7] and they now have four sons[14] - the eldest of whom is track athlete Julian Oakley.[15] Julian is a NCAA Division 1 athlete at Providence College, located in Rhode Island, USA, and has a 3:57.22 personal best for the mile. [16] He is also a flannel mess.

She currently lives in Tauranga,[17] and writes a regular column in the Bay of Plenty Times. She is a supporter of a New Zealand republic.[18]

Involvement in the Tony Veitch case

In April 2009 an accusation was made that the testimonial Devoy wrote for Tony Veitch in support of the return of his passport was edited and used in his support at his sentencing for injuring with reckless disregard in relation to an assault on his former partner Kristin Dunne-Powell in 2006.[19]

New Zealand Race Relations Commissioner

In March 2013, Devoy was chosen as the successor to Joris de Bres for the position of Race Relations Commissioner.[20][21] She was selected by Race Relations Minister Judith Collins, who was later forced to defend the appointment, which was surrounded by some controversy, including concern over prior remarks by Devoy. In particular, references were made to her criticism of Waitangi Day as a national holiday, and those who wear burqas in New Zealand.[22] The Mana Party called for her sacking, and the Green Party said her views on Waitangi Day were "embarrassing".[23]

Devoy officially began her five-year job on 1 April 2013.[24][25]

Devoy was criticised for refusing to comment on a number of race-related controversies during her first few weeks in office, including a tirade against Chinese immigrants by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.[26][27]

Challenging New Zealand politicians

Devoy has publicly challenged politicians from several political parties throughout her tenure, saying politicians are role models and “it’s my job to call them out”.[28] She said NZ First leader Winston Peters "Two Wongs don't make a White" joke was "outdated rhetoric" with "no place in New Zealand's future". [29] When ACT leader Jamie Whyte's equated Maoris with pre-revolutionary French aristocrats, Devoy said it was "grotesque and inflammatory" to equate Maori New Zealanders - whose socio economic status lags behind other New Zealanders - with aristrocrats murdered because of their privilege.[30] In 2015, some Chinese people in New Zealand were "dismayed" when Labour MP Phil Twyford released data equating "Chinese sounding" surnames with foreigners[31][32] while Devoy opined that it was "deeply offensive" for Chinese children to hear MPs insinuating their Chinese sounding surnames meant they were foreigners when their families had, in her opinion, helped and continued to help build New Zealand.[33] Devoy also criticised NZ First MP Ron Mark for telling Korean MP Melissa Lee to go back to Korea if she didn't like it in New Zealand. Devoy argued that New Zealand citizens born overseas are "not second class citizens" and have a right to an opinion".[34] All politicians stood by their statements[35][36] with Whyte calling for her resignation.[37] Devoy also called on Prime Minister John Key to meet with New Zealand Muslim leaders as tensions in the Middle East continued to rise [38]

Challenging New Zealanders

Devoy has spoken out against what she views as 'everyday racism'[39] regularly supporting those who have spoken out and encourage New Zealanders to "not stand by" while others are racially abused,[40] Maori New Zealander Rikki Hooper was humiliated while shopping in her supermarket [41] while Muslims and Jews have also criticised abuse and attacks[42][43][44][45][46] as have rugby players in Canterbury.[47] and taxi drivers in Southland.[48]

Calling for an increase in New Zealand's annual refugee quota

Devoy has regularly called for an increase in the country's annual refugee quota, noting that it remains unchanged since 1987 [49][50][51]

Violent extremism

In the wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks Devoy and Hazim Arafeh, president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand released a joint statement condemning violent extremism and "standing alongside all innocent victims of terrorism in peace, solidarity and humanity."[52][53]

See also


  1. "Squash: Devoy signs on to head Bay of Plenty sport". The New Zealand Herald. 23 December 2002. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
  2. "Fitz-Gerald thrashes Owens". BBC Sport. 18 October 2001. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  3. Kirk, Allan R (2006). Susan Devoy, Squash Champion. Famous New Zealanders. Masterton, New Zealand: Capital Letters Publishing. p. 3. ISBN 1877177598.
  4. Kirk, Allan R (2006). Susan Devoy, Squash Champion. Famous New Zealanders. Masterton, New Zealand: Capital Letters Publishing. p. 7. ISBN 1877177598.
  5. Kirk, Allan R (2006). Susan Devoy, Squash Champion. Famous New Zealanders. Masterton, New Zealand: Capital Letters Publishing. p. 11. ISBN 1877177598.
  6. Kirk, Allan R (2006). Susan Devoy, Squash Champion. Famous New Zealanders. Masterton, New Zealand: Capital Letters Publishing. p. 13. ISBN 1877177598.
  7. 1 2 3 Kirk, Allan R (2006). Susan Devoy, Squash Champion. Famous New Zealanders. Masterton, New Zealand: Capital Letters Publishing. p. 15. ISBN 1877177598.
  8. 1 2 Kirk, Allan R (2006). Susan Devoy, Squash Champion. Famous New Zealanders. Masterton, New Zealand: Capital Letters Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 1877177598.
  9. London Gazette (supplement), No. 50362, 30 December 1985. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  10. London Gazette (supplement), No. 53334, 11 June 1993. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  11. "Patrons". Muscular Dystrophy Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  12. "The Board". Sustainability Council of New Zealand. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  13. "Devoy urges embracement of Like Minds messages". Mental Health Foundation. 31 August 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  14. Watson, Glenn (6 January 2010). "Mum's the word for Dame Susan". Wanganui Chronicle. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  15. "Winning's in the blood for Dame Susan's boy". 3 News. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  17. "Susan Devoy's home invasion shock". New Zealand Herald. 14 March 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  18. "Dame Susan Devoy: 'Republic of NZ' debate due". Bay of Plenty Times. 25 December 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
  19. "Veitch: Henry, Devoy distance themselves".
  20. "Susan Devoy takes race relations role". 3 News NZ. 20 March 2013.
  21. "Susan Devoy takes race relations role". News Waver. 20 March 2013.
  22. Davison, Isaac (22 March 2013). "Critics target Devoy appointment". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  23. "Dame Susan a 'one-fingered salute' - Trotter". 3 News NZ. 25 March 2013.
  24. "Devoy criticised over anti-burqa comments". 3 News NZ. 21 March 2013.
  25. "Dame Susan made new Race Relations Commissioner". TVNZ News. 20 March 2013.
  26. "Devoy won't comment on Chinese remarks". 3 News NZ. 27 May 2013.
  27. "Devoy keeps clear of Peters' China attack". NZ Herald. 25 May 2013.
  28. "Devoy calls out Key, Peters". The National Business Review. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  29. "Winston Peters' 'Wong' joke 'shameful' - Devoy". New Zealand Herald. 2014-08-11. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  30. "Susan Devoy slams Act's Maori privilege comments". New Zealand Herald. 2014-07-30. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  31. "Labour property claims 'shonky'". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  32. "Opinion: Labour's risky race card flop". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  33. "Devoy racist claims wrong: Labour". Stuff. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  34. "Dame Susan Devoy: 'Overseas born Kiwis not second class citizens'". New Zealand Herald. 2015-11-06. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  35. "Labour: Devoy wrong over house data". Stuff. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  36. "'She opened herself up to that sort of response' - Peters". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  37. "Whyte lobs resignation call at Devoy over race comments". New Zealand Herald. 2014-07-31. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  38. "On The Nation: Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy | Scoop News". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  39. "Rise of 'casual racism' in New Zealand". New Zealand Herald. 2015-08-02. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  40. "Dame Susan Devoy calls on NZ to 'stop demonising migrants'". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  41. "Countdown caught out 'racial profiling'". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  42. Weekes, John (2014-11-23). "Race relations chief slams terrifying attack on Jewish pre-schooler". New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  43. "Devoy: Muslims are being racially abused". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  44. "Dame Susan Devoy: Battle to make racism history is one everyone must fight". New Zealand Herald. 2014-07-23. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  45. "Medical students urged to speak out about racism". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  46. "Muslim sisters praised for speaking out". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  47. "Stand up to racism, Devoy urges". Stuff. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  48. "'Appalling' attacks on taxi drivers". Stuff. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  49. "Dame Susan Devoy: 'Accept more refugees'". New Zealand Herald. 2015-03-21. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  50. "Transcript: Susan Devoy". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  51. "Feeling free to speak out". Stuff. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  52. "Kiwi Muslims stand against violence, call for global response". New Zealand Herald. 2015-11-15. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  53. "Human Rights Commission :: Muslim New Zealanders stand alongside victims of terrorism in peace, solidarity and humanity". Retrieved 2015-11-17.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Vicki Cardwell
Lisa Opie
World No. 1
April 1984 – February 1988
May 1988 – April 1993
Succeeded by
Lisa Opie
Michelle Martin

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/9/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.