Former Labour minister and champion for women's rights Dame Margaret Shields has passed away, aged 71.

The former Kapiti MP was an elected Labour politician for nine years and was a minister from 1984 to 1990. She also chaired the Greater Wellington Regional Council and dedicated her life to campaigning for women's rights.

Dame Margaret passed away on Wednesday last week at Eldon Lodge Retirement Home in Paraparaumu, her family has said in a death notice of her local newspaper.

"She will be sadly missed by her extended family and friends," the notice said.


The Labour Party has paid tribute to Dame Margaret, who is survived by her husband Pat and one of her two daughters.

"Dame Margaret was tireless campaigner for women's rights. She founded the Women's Electoral Lobby in 1975, and was Minister of Women's Affairs from 1987-1990," Labour leader David Shearer said.

"She went on fighting to advance the position of women internationally, serving with the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women.

"Dame Margaret made a difference. She stood up for what she believed in, and fought to build a fairer and more just world.

"The Labour Party joins Dame Margaret's family in mourning her passing.

"She was a woman of conviction who lived a life of leadership and service."

Her funeral will be held at Old St Paul's in Wellington at 2pm on Friday.