"I took up a series of opportunities, not realising each one would lead to."

That's how Dr Jacqueline Diane Miller, widely known as Dr Jackie Blue, describes her career advocating for women.

In 1992 she was work general practitioner when he was asked if she wanted to become a breast physician.

"It is a highly specialised area helping people with breast cancer. I couldn't stand the thought of anyone else doing it. So I took a leap of faith."

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Dr Jackie Blue. Photo / Stephen Parker
Dr Jackie Blue. Photo / Stephen Parker

In that role, Dr Blue lobbied tirelessly for breast cancer screening programmes to be expanded in New Zealand.

During one visit to Wellington, she met Dr Mary English and her husband Bill at a dinner and was inspired to become an active National Party member.

She stood in Mt Roskill in 2005 against Phil Goff, and despite losing the fight for the seat, her eight-year career as a list MP began.

"It was the scariest time in my life when people can asking you anything, at any time."

She chaired three cross-party parliamentary committees with a focus on human rights and women's rights.

These roles led straight into a job as the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission when she left Parliament.

This meant highlighting pay discrepancies and the interests of minority groups in gender equality including Māori, Pacific, disabled, transgender and non-binary women.

Dr Blue had been holidaying in Rotorua for fifteen years visiting her mother and after finishing her time at the commission in October last year, she and her husband David moved to Lake Tarawera permanently.

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She's not putting her feet up though, she has since started a massage course at Toi Ohomai.

Dr Blue says becoming a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit is an acknowledgement of the women she has fought for.

"That just means so much to me, it's huge."