New Zealand Defence Force officer receives award for contribution to defence and international security

Line of Defence Magazine - Update

Laura Cranston
Role model: LTCOL Laura Cranston recognised in WiSAA 2023-24.

Lieutenant Colonel Laura Cranston wins the Women in Security Awards Aotearoa ‘Contributing to defence and international security’ category for her work on UN Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace, and Security.

LTCOL Cranston has been announced by the organisers of Women in Security Awards Aotearoa (WiSAA) 2023-24 as the winner of the ‘Contributing to defence and national security’ category in her role as Director, NZDF Women, Peace and Security.

This category recognises a professional who has through their commitment, capability, professionalism, advocacy, innovation, and/or leadership made a significant contribution to the defence of New Zealand and its national interests or, more broadly, to regional or international security.

LTCOL Cranston joins the winners of seven other categories as a 2023-24 WiSAA recipient. Her Category Winner citation reads:

LTCOL Laura Cranston is recognised for her contribution to implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 – Women, Peace and Security (WPS) within the NZDF and among international partners.

LTCOL Cranston was a key architect of the MOD and NZDF‘s Gender in Security Policy Statement that outlined Defence’s commitment to the UNSCR 1325 WPS Agenda. She led the growth of Gender Focal Points and Gender Advisors throughout the Services and the training of partners from the Pacific and beyond.

Among other initiatives, she is formalising training packages addressing the role of gender in non-traditional threats, such as climate change, human trafficking, and cybersecurity. Her achievements have promoted the prevention of gender-based violence, protection of human rights, fostering of development and building of resilient communities, contributing to international security.

The Women in Security Awards Aotearoa (WiSAA) initiative was established in 2020 to promote the role of women in sectors where they are still significantly under-represented, and to recognise women who are advancing Aotearoa New Zealand’s security, risk and resilience sectors.

Nominees must be women, or identify as women, with more than three years of experience in any occupation within the defence, law enforcement, physical security, personnel security, information security, national security, cybersecurity, investigations, intelligence, risk management, emergency management or resilience domains, and be actively practising either in Aotearoa New Zealand or overseas in the interests of New Zealand’s security.

Nominations for the 2023-24 awards were received from across the government, military, law enforcement, private, and community sectors.

Winners were announced via the Defsec New Zealand website on 05 June. It is anticipated that a call for nominations for the 2024-25 awards will be made in late 2024 with winners to be announced in time to be celebrated on International Women’s Day (08 March) 2025.


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