Former High Court Judge, Hon Dame Lowell Goddard DNZM QC, has been announced as the newest patron of spinal cord injury research charity, CatWalk Trust.

Dame Lowell, who served as a Judge of the High Court of New Zealand between 1995 and 2015, has been a significant supporter for the CatWalk Trust for many years, and has previously been a member of the Trust’s grants committee.

CatWalk Trust general manager Meg Speirs says she is delighted to have Dame Lowell on board as a patron.

“Dame Lowell has been involved with CatWalk Trust in one way or another for many years, and in addition to her illustrious legal career she has always shown tenacity in her support for the Trust’s pursuit of finding a cure for spinal cord injuries.

“The body of scientific evidence suggests a cure will be found for spinal cord injuries within our lifetime, and I look forward to our continued work together raising funds to help finance that research,” she says.

Dame Lowell says she feels honoured to have been offered the role as patron, and looks forward to helping raise awareness of the charity.

“Our family has long been involved with the equestrian industry, and through this involvement have seen the serious impact that spinal injuries can have first-hand, not only on those affected but also on their families.

“I look forward to working alongside the CatWalk Trust to increase awareness of the very real likelihood of a cure for spinal cord injury, and to support the pioneering research being done to find that cure.”

Goddard joins a number of other high-profile patrons of the CatWalk Trust, including former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, international equestrian rider Zara Phillips, Olympic BMX silver medallist Sarah Walker, and media personality Toni Street.


About Hon Dame Lowell Goddard DNZM QC

Dame Lowell Goddard DNZM QC served as a Judge of the High Court of New Zealand from 1995 to 2015.

In her early years, Dame Lowell practised at the Independent Bar in Auckland, before joining the Crown Law Office in Wellington as Crown Counsel, and subsequently as Deputy Solicitor-General. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1988, one of the first two women to receive the honorific in New Zealand.

Goddard has held many high-profile positions during her legal career. During 2007 and 2012 she chaired the Independent Police Conduct Authority, and was a member of the United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) from 2010 to 2016. During that time, she took part in field inspections of conditions of detention in countries such as Cambodia and the Ukraine.  She also acted as the subcommittee’s focal point in the Asia Pacific Region.

In February 2015 she was appointed by the British Government to Chair the UK Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), a role she undertook until August 2016.

In 2014, Goddard was made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the law.


About CatWalk Trust

The CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust raises funds to support the body of scientific opinion which says a cure for SCI will be found. The Trust was founded in 2005 by Catriona Williams, formerly one of New Zealand’s leading international equestrian riders who, following a riding accident in 2002, is now C6/C7 tetraplegic and confined to a wheelchair.

In 2011, CatWalk helped establish through seed funding the Spinal Cord Injury Research Facility based at the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland. The Trust operates a fully transparent and rigorous annual funding process utilizing the expertise of the Neurological Foundation’s scientific Advisory Committee and its independent and international peer review process.

The CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust is registered as a Charitable Trust under the Charities Act 2005. Charities Commission Registration No. CC27170.


For more information and interview opportunities, please contact:

Rob Fitzgerald,, 09 306 5817, 027 808 6029


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