RRA prominent campaigner for the Catholic Church and for women. Born in Taranaki. Died in Wellington on July 7, aged 76.

rdDame Stella Casey, the tiny, husky-voiced mother of 10 who became an active campaigner on a range of social issues and started a nationwide argument over her revolt against pornography, said her family fuelled her intense community involvement.

"It matters to me what society will be like in 50 years, even though I'll be long gone ... I've got such a big stake in the future."


Stella Casey, made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1991 for services to the community, had become a prominent member of the Catholic Women's League and the National Council of Women, a member of the Christchurch Polytechnic Council and the Federation of University Women.

Shortly before her death she completed a book detailing resolutions passed by the women's league over the past 50 years.

Her community work began in Browns Bay in 1969 when she made a stand against obscene literature being displayed in shops in East Coast Bays. That move started a nationwide debate. She also campaigned about broadcasting violence, calling for tougher controls to be introduced.

Dame Stella and her husband made an illustrious couple. Maurice Casey, a Court of Appeal judge, was made a Knight Bachelor in 1991.

Sir Maurice was the Wellington High Court judge who remained silent while under attack in Parliament in 1985 for awarding an interim injunction that stopped the All Blacks touring South Africa.

Dame Stella said her work came about through thinking as a housewife, "at the ironing board" and having time to work out solutions.

"We (the women) are the ones who have the potential to improve society because we are not caught up in the office."