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Margaret Bazley was born in Paeroa on 23 January 1938, and has a Diploma of Nursing and DipHA from Massey University. Starting as a nurse from 1958–63, she was charge nurse at Tokanui Hospital, Te Awamutu in 1961, then Assistant Matron at Seacliff Hospital, Matron at Sunnyside Hospital, Senior Public Health Nurse in the Auckland District Health Office, Deputy Matron in Chief for the Auckland Hospital Board 1974-75, and Chief Nursing Officer of the Waikato Hospital Board 1975-78. She was President of the Nurses' Association (now part of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation), and is a Patron of the New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses.
Bazley held senior roles in various parts of the New Zealand public service: Director of Nursing, Department of Health 1978-84 then Commissioner of the State Services Commission 1984-87 and Deputy Chairperson 1987-88. From 1988-93 she was Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, then Director-General of the Department of Social Welfare 1993 to 2001.
She was subsequently appointed to various commissions and committees:
- Member Working Party on the Reorganisation of the Income Tax Act 1976 (1993)
- Chairperson, New Zealand Fire Service Commission 1998 to 2011
- Member, Waitangi Tribunal from 2001-11
- Chairperson, Foundation for Research, Science and Technology from 2001-07.
- Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct. Announced 4 February 2004, reported 30 March 2007; released 3 April 2007.
- Member of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance (2007–08)
- Review of the Legal Aid System (November 2009)
- Registrar of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of Members of Parliament, 2007 to 2013 
She is currently on the following commissions and committees:
She received the Sir Peter Blake award in 2011. She is also a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Transport in New Zealand. She received an Honorary Doctorate of Literature from Massey University in 2008.
- "Dame Margaret Bazley, Wellington, ONZ, for services to New Zealand". Gg.govt.nz. 4 September 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "Disappointed at Firefighter Union's Decision to Strike". Scoop.co.nz. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "Waitangi Tribunal". Waitangi Tribunal. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "New Chair of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology Board". beehive.govt.nz. 18 November 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "Transforming the legal aid system — Ministry of Justice, New Zealand". Justice.govt.nz. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "New Zealand Parliament - Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests 2013". Parliament.nz. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "About the Commissioners". Ecan.govt.nz. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "The Queen's Birthday Honours List 1999 (including Niue)". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
- "The Queen's Birthday and Diamond Jubilee Honours List 2012". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
- "Sir Peter Blake awards: Dame Margaret Bazley". nzherald.co.nz. 2 July 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
Dame Margaret Bazley
- "Honorary graduates". Massey University. Retrieved 25 March 2016.