Drew Hadwen

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I got involved in devotion, and probably around January 1993. I had not long been back from my little and possibly look like a little time on my hands. And so various friends who were had been involved in the previous devotions come and help with us come and help with that. And I think David Hundley may have been a volunteer coordinator the previous couple of years, are in the meeting him for coffee at dividends. And him with a smile sort of at me, as he talked me through what that role involved and handed over the list of names of previous volunteers, the head, that was me, devoted what was devotion, devotion, was at that point, had been a big dance party that have been held sort of and bought venues on willing to move the front. Think it was started by Peter who did the a translation at the time back in 91. I was away. But I remember thinking, when we hit nothing like this when I was at home, bad timing. And I think some of his motivation might have been around raising funds to support the work of the happiness into. But again, I could have just made that up. But I like that idea. I know in 93, when I got involved, there was I think 93 was the first year there was a parade as well. Yeah. And the volunteers that I was sort of working with were predominantly brave people. Because we were down and shoot 21 opposite the railway station, which is now like some fancy apartments. But they it was far from fancy, there was birchers and nasty stuff everywhere. So we did a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of gross cleaning. Before we could even start to build the various bits and bobs we did indoors to hold the device dance party. Now, you mentioned fundraising for the earthiness into the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. And my understanding was that this kind of initiative bit like hero came from a response to the huge impact that he was having in New Zealand. And I'm wondering, can we just take a step back so back into the 80s and just talk about you know, what? The impact of AIDS I guess, on New Zealanders some of us live that and other people I think that I even people that I know now in my own generation, were just oblivious, I think for a lot of us that was that like What the hell's happening? And for me, I think I was first became aware of it, like I grew up and greater Wellington region. I'm a particular code. And I remember like around the time of the law reform bill coming into town to go to the moon these and these viral fundamentalist I guess Salvation Army Christian, he people just like almost surrounding us, you know, to try and force us to sign the petition and, and saying horrific things about people living with HIV, which I didn't make all the men at that point they're probably called them really nasty, derogatory terms. And what a death it was going to be on everybody and bullet blaming at horrific stuff yet, people offerings and find out and our community, we're getting diagnosed with this thing that nobody knew about. And like, when there's no information, obviously, there's the ignorance and fear and hits that feed those people's discrimination, but it was just shows, and it was really horrific. And they were people and so the young teenager trying to make sense of that show, it was just like, now this is wrong, we need to be doing positive stuff to support people and, and try and get other people to, you know, the less ignorant to break that stuff down. So that was kind of my experience of the impact. And initially, yeah, like an early mid 80s and then I think I said just before I have not long being back, I just went to the UK and I spent some time and Scotland before I went away I had been volunteering with your fingers into to do condom pics Really? Like funny they still with it now. And ahead. Yeah, when I was overseas, I volunteered with Scottish aids monitor Sam and I've been involved in dance parties and things like that with my volunteer in there so it was kind of an easy segue into coming home and getting over my phone my that I've missed out on the first two diversions and just becoming involved again Can you recall what the some of the other community responses to a to New Zealand word other than my own experience because I guess I was quite young and you know often when we're younger we not as aware of wider communities and then that sort of bug little bubble we live in volunteering you know to do stuff like make the continent packs was was what I knew and I know that the fitness center and was been established and they were trying to you know work with people at system will pull up with Kelly and all that stuff around the legislation and the lobbying and they will always you know, she's checking in on frock on to go down to Parliament, there was always something he was off to terrify. And but you need a sore, and they'd otherwise habit and carry on. It was probably really community building, in some ways, because this was something that was impacting us. And but in some ways opponents together and I guess gave us some strength because we needed to we needed a community response. Because if it wasn't happening to other communities they didn't seem interested in and trying to sort provide any support or, or that kind of thing. I remember a lot a lot of funerals. I remember going to the hospital with food because even in the hospital food wasn't necessarily appetizing visiting people. And real strong sense of we're all in this together. You briefly mentioned sister poor, do you have other other memories of system? Absolutely. When I remember the day I miss her, I'd sort of seen her in the fitness center until she sent a nice older person. And she always said hello, but I'd never had a proper interaction with her. And one day we turn up for the condom packing. And there were none of the other thing to staff the associate was on the phones. And I just about fell over. I heard this beautiful, smaller older woman to say, oh, yesterday, but I don't think you were looking the toilet seat. Perhaps you were and then she you know started to describe roaming. And I just stood with my mouth wide open going wow. Yeah, so that's one of my men. More beautiful memories that sister Paula, I also have, like I feel really privileged to have header in my life, you know, have lots of memories of who I remember when she was unwell. And with her cancer and going through him to stick to me and stuff. And then that leading into when another volunteer who I'd met through famous into clear head went through a similar journey. And we were up visiting her and cancer Ward at the hospital. This is many years after what we've been talking about. And my own sister was about to have a mistake to me and we were just talking about it. And you know what a beggar cancer was and revolve around us. And they both asked how my sister was feeling about it. And as I think she's just feeling a bit weird about having your breasts removed. And so sister Paul, and just works out her little insert things that were in her bra and teach me or she can get some of these and hand it to the head of them to me. And before I knew it, I was like, holding these little things that are non put in a bra thinking what the boom? Oh my God, I've got an answer to my end. Is it clear? I think it's pretty hot days. She was hilarious. She Yeah. And she had. She was, I think the Wellington, Rainbow communities, and particularly the Athena center. And all of us was so lucky that she was one of our team, because she had humor. But she also had a real knack of getting people to come on board and getting people to do stuff. Like whether they was to help her move house or I know in Wellington Women's Center was getting C's up item Bay library was changing its shelf. So next minute, the people from Ireland a library of delivering the bookshelves to the Wellington Women's Center. And they're just little tiny examples, but they're really, yeah, anything and everything she could make it happen. And she if she put in mind to it, you wouldn't want to get in the path if you were on the other side of that idea. So how did she get involved? Not in a bad way? You know, he was this horrible little tissues just was very determined and got results. Yeah. So how did she get involved with the off in the center? I really don't know. For as long as I knew she just was with her. She got involved through her involvement and human rights it lobbying or whether it was through her involvement in community? I'm not entirely sure, but pretty awesome. One of the things that was happening in the late 80s, and early 90s was the amount of people dying from AIDS related illnesses. And that seemed to peek around kind of 9192 ish. And at the same time, we hit things like hero, the hero festival in Auckland kind of coming up trying to give I give people a sense of hope, in one regard. What was it like in Wellington in that conflict early 90s period. And you say missed the very early 90s, I was away from Little for all of 91 and 92 came back very early 93. And I left just before the sort of indifferent 1990. So I don't know entirely what it was like, and Wellington and obviously, the UK, it was quite different. But I think what you're saying was still going on, when I can bet and it was it was happening before I went away to there was that. That real? Let's be Let's be positive about this. Let's not let's be positive. But like you said, that desire for hope. And what can we do to, to hold on to that rather than going to complete the spear I guess. And, and was hope there was Let's celebrate what is great. And I think there was an element of that through devotion to, you know, it's about hope and looking forward, creating visibility. We'd had the law reform time, you know, and then there was a hanger that were assimilating. But the next time we kind of hit the press, there was the HIV staff, which received a whole lot of just, you know, discrimination and nasty stuff. And we didn't really then really been anything brought us back together since lower form that we just kind of drifted off into a little worlds again. And I think the devotions and hero, we're about what we do with us, because we had these times that we had a real students have community and she'd cause and shared drive. And so the, I think the heroine, devotion, and I had one in Christchurch at some point freedom, supported that, and, and gave us a sense of community and an identity and belonging for a lot of people. As well as a damn good time. You know, who doesn't want to party? So jumping back to 1993, and your via with David Lee was giving you the volunteer list? What did the job entail? What were you doing? Um, I think they've invested in it for those previous couple of years. And it was just getting in touch with people have somebody organizing a part of the dance party or a part of the parade, had one help with something specific, whether it was like I talked about there was that real need for physical, grungy cleaning. But there was, I think, yes, a specific role like plumbing or someone who go to the library staff or someone who could perform or someone who could do catering either. There are all sorts of things that would identify as we went along that we needed help with. So it was trying to find people with those skills within our communities or networks, who might be willing to volunteer and help out because it wasn't a paid gig, it was just all about community coming together to raise money for, for for our communities and our own stuff. And then they were also a bunch of people who were like, no on a piece of this. And so it was about having conversations with them about well, these are the kinds of things that we need a hand with, what kind of things do you think you'd have, and trying to find something that enabled him to be involved and contribute as well. To the 93 Party have a thing was it think, who might have a little while ago. I remember that. Because from volunteer coordinator, my role morphed into being the front of house manager on the night of their party. And I remember there being a phenomenal wall of water. For Angela main, the party director had wanted to create to welcome people as they came in to shoot 21. And we managed to tell you, it was all bunched together with you know, huge plastic she seen and the actual water was a garden hose. I don't know if you could even buy a soaker hose in, but we made a whole lot of holes in it with the nails. And that made it work and run down. We had a few issues as the party went on with safe drainage that the water wanted to run everywhere the you know, electricity was, but we managed to sort that out. Yeah, and we both that was the year that there was a huge Walker boat to bring one of the groups in for one of the performances. So that was a little bit genius and and rehearsals when the sheet wasn't jammed with people went really smoothly. It's like logistical nightmare when it's live, and there's, you know, hundreds of people on the, on the dance floor and trying to drive through. I don't think anyone was actually squashed. But it could have been could have come off quite, quite badly. But with that, well, I mean, so there was this amazing Walker on this frame on wheels that just came from the back of the ship right down to the front where we built the stage. And that was pretty awesome. There had been a mezzanine floor in there. And we managed to build a staircase that kind of went up and down so that people could Yeah, bit different levels of the party we built chill out here, as I remember, we had to put an to make health and safety stuff, emergency exit doors, and someone just happened to have been renovating their house. And so we're going to check out all of your interior doors and donated them and we wire them up with little middle flats and a proper crash exit doors at either into the sheets, there was loads of different bits that we intend to it. None of that necessarily gives you the thing. But maybe hopefully it gives you a bit of a sense of the Granger. And yeah. And tell me about some of the performance. performance. I have to tell you my memory of one devotion to another can get really blurry. But I think because that was my first one I can remember they were there were a whole load of says I remember one show we're to Rome and some others had built some platform shows that were ridiculous, Lehigh and dangerous. And Jerome was a very total main to start with. So when he got on to these homemade platforms with wouldn't heels probably about an extra six inches. It was just a towering phenomena. Skype fantastic. Yeah. And I know there was another show, we're pretty sure there was a bunch of women who were wearing somebody. And on the shoulder. He was wearing a different color of the rainbow flag. There were lots of great lights. I don't want to downplay it because I know that Angela mine and and i think john Penny was involved with some of the tech stuff and all those people at the time just did an awesome job. Like if you'd seen that horrible, Birgit covered, shared with a whole load of old tires and stuff. And then come back. On the night of the devotion Patty would have blown your way. That was fabulous. was really well done. So there was the dance party, but you're also saying there was a question right as well. Yeah, yeah. Says another bunch of people were really keen to the parade. I don't know if it was the first one in 93 or four it was the next one but definitely know that. The radio station 91 video what was called at the time got involved and their sponsorship team or whatever it is the marketing team help support it with a little bit of financial contribution and the vehicle to wear a parade. That kind of thing. I think a 93 one might have gone from civic square to somewhere and in the 94 one came from Shaffer's Park and down Courtney place not way before the skate park was and chief is but but yeah, around the corner down Courtney place on to manners and then we'll listen Mercer back into civic square so change direction that Yeah, can you record what on what was thought of the scorpion love parade? This was 93 Yeah, I think it was called the left to right and then at some point became known as the devotion parade. I remember being on it, just walking. I don't remember a lot of Hessel order ready ready at all. I remember being just buzzing, you know, haven't been to pride in London and, and have huge that was and to have the opportunity to be doing that in Wellington, you know, pretty much my hometown, and everyone who is participating in the parade and and be involved in organizing, it was just a really excited and buzzing and there were a lot of people who I knew from our communities, who didn't feel that excited about it yet. came down to watch it, you know, seeing people the new and then just beaming, but with a still felt a little unsafe to be there out? Or for some people at that time. I'm not sure. But yeah, but to see them and just other Wellington, just enjoying our celebration, our pride. And I suppose it's really important to remember that, you know, we're still only about success, six or seven years after homosexual Law Reform happened in 96. And those that kind of violence is coming from the anti reformers. So I yeah, I can see why you would still be not wanting to be visible. Yeah, absolutely. That was pretty big. It was pretty big. And I guess, reflecting is probably a bit brave. But for those of us that just will let me we're gonna do it. I don't know that that much thought went into it. I think yes, we're going to do it was over that went into it. So for that, and the Russian Party, which would have been 33rd, one that have happened. So So I guess the first one happen on 91, second multi multi to this third one, how many people attended? Do you think? Who? Sochi 20, one's pretty large. And there were times on the dance floor was shoulder to shoulder. So I guess we could Google we could see if it's anywhere online, but definitely hundreds, if not around 1000 people easily would have been there. Yeah. A lot of people I think would have a little pre party come down and go all night. Others might come early, then go home or go out and party on. And of course, there were people that were there from when the doors open till dawn broke. The devotion party also was significant. Because after I wanted for my, in Wellington and passed away on that evening, yeah, let's a really big there was a really big significance to us. And, and there were, there was an there are other community members that passed away that evening, or we got news of they had passed away the following morning. And some of us who were working the event, and some of the people attending I shown but we we heard that news. And we were really upset. But equally, like we we carried on there was almost like a nod to Arthur was like, awesome, and we can throw a party as you leave our world. You know, and we're not going to stop it. And it did have an impact that made it a little bit hard to keep being happy and enjoying the buzz for a while. But we, I guess you suck it up and you do what you've got to do. And then you can reframe it on your own in your own head, whether it was like a sad thing or a really nice synchronicity. Can you tell me more about Arthur? Arthur I am. Gosh, I mean, I was I'm not that much younger than that. But you know, when some when you are that young age get things a whole lot different. I think I was just an aura. Arthur. Arthur was somebody who'd been really visible and out and a part of our community for a good while. He was always really supportive of things and community like through his cell on he would always, you know, donate prizes, or he would hold events there, obviously, with hearty and Friday and the others as well, Charlie, the whole kind of love crew. And he was something to watch, like on stage, some of us are born to perform. I think he did that with heart. Yeah. And I also recall, a friend of mine, Jane Perkins to the photography exhibition. And there was this gorgeous picture of Arthur, and that which for years hung, and customers after the past. And so it was nice that he was always around. And now I see, you know, how melon Scott and Scott in males have a lot of images of our people who have passed or our leaders. I think that's a really nice, that's just a nice little memory I have because I'm both Arthur and Jane. I no longer with us. So it's one of those memories and joy. I didn't know Arthur well, personally, but I knew of him and had. Yeah, it was just a little bit like an all like, wow, you're Nate. Also in 1993 in May 1983, there was the mess of beacons of hope, frankincense lagoon. And you were saying to me earlier that you will also involved in beacons of hope. Yeah, I think I am. Probably to my family and partners to spear came back after my little early and decided to do a whole lot of voluntary stuff. So weirdly, I still do that. Maybe it was the start of it, or just solidified it. But Richard binge organize the beacons of hope in the for the fitness center. That was Wellington's response to the internet, International AIDS candlelight Memorial. And we used to make so I volunteered with that. And help to make beacons it's quite an ass we used to rely on there being a bit of a storm. So we'd be able to find the timber washed up on like Bertone beach or to take the baby to somewhere. And then we would have little beacon making listens and get a whole crew of volunteers together. And yeah, she the recipe, it's quite fun of vinegar holds her if you ever wanted to make a bacon, but you just put the tin foil around the end of the stick records and like cotton or like old shapes, just wrap it really random random around a whole lot of fabric. And then we would crisscross like number eight wire or Taiwan are actually number eight why I'm making it up, no one could do that with their hands list that really puts farmer right. But just crisscross Taiwan around a bit like a bell a slipper my colleague hold it on there. And then they were good to go for the candle at Memorial, which was then known as beacons of hope. And we would make one for every person that we knew from the epidemiology reports had died of an age related illness and out here or, and so then we would have it would be speakers, there will be some music, that would be the beacons would be either of these carried to the lagoon at Frank Kurtz or around it or around Frank cuts Park depending on which venue it was, by volunteers from our community sometimes far know, remembering somebody, and that would be alert. And then another part of those, that ceremony was the calling of names. So you can imagine like, some reason the weather was always very still, but it's still willing tonight. And just the Franklin lagoon surrounded by people holding beacons, maybe one year that Symphony Orchestra, some of the symphony members played to set music and in the quiet, and then just people's names being called, was a really beautiful way to remember those that we've lost to edge related conditions. And, um, and it was a really collective way to do that. Because I know I couldn't really articulate some of the impacts earlier because my experiences, you know, quite different to a lot of other people's and each of our experience unique, but to come together to do that, as something that was significant for our communities and alpha know with was as, because although it's not the big beacons of hope ceremony anymore, that Memorial still happens each year. It's pretty special. It's pretty important so at them. And I guess with saying that it's important, I think what I'm kind of thinking as an M want to say out loud as that. All too often people in our communities, even as recently as the 80s, and 90s, would have no relationship with their biological photo, because of homophobia because of fear of HIV and AIDS because of discrimination. So for some people, it may be their story. And these are people have known, oh, you're gay? Well, you're not part of our family. And then that person may get an HIV diagnosis and the biological family or even more like back off, you know, we don't know how to deal with us, and we don't want to be a part of us. So I think we have a I often refer to add rainbow fire know, or I'll clarify, no, I think we, for some of us, that is really, really important to be able to do that collective. Remember remembering and celebrating and all of those things together. Because that's, that's still recent. And whilst some of those who may have been in that situation, who are still here, that may have changed, and we may have relationships with their bio fan. Oh, I think our logical fan Oh, just as if not more important. Someone was saying to me the other day that they thought there was still a lot of post traumatic stress within kind of queer communities from what was happening in the 80s and 90s, particularly around more formal and also HIV AIDS. And I guess, yeah, do you have thoughts on because it sounds like, particularly around the early 90s, that these the, it was really heightened emotions, you know, heightened grief heightened? activism? Yeah, yeah, I think that's a really good, that completely makes sense. It resonates. I get that. And I mentioned that as, and it may be that there is a PTSD, and many of us are impacted by that time to varying degrees, and very, sort of other experience, pre and post that, but it's probably a really good way to find, because there was a lot of grief, there was a lot of haze in your face, there was a lot of messaging and, and things coming at us and SS, you know, from from the rest of the world, the rest of society, our own non queer communities, you know, that the final in the communities and workplaces we lived in. So all of that kind of stuff is bound to have an impact. And things like, yeah, those kind of things affect us all differently. And I suspect that some of us have had different experiences, and some of us may have been affected, and more traumatic ways. And I'm not being here, but totally agree. Yeah. I think, for me, like, if you put it in context, I was in my early teens, when I was when law reform was happening. And I was been having encounters with these horrible people, simply, as a kid with my friends trying to come into town to a movie, they probably didn't realize I was queer. They were just like, we just need signatures, you know, and children are vulnerable. So let's, let's be really horrible to them, and try and make them feel uncomfortable enough that they're going to sign our petition, they wouldn't have expected, you know, this little blue eyed blonde thing to go not. That's me. You know, in the middle of men is more than and then Dave, that horrible interaction, and which, again, was just motivating, you know, then I found out about this clicking on the links to books and went along and joined don't dismiss Yeah. What was he doing with the Salvation Army, unaddressed envelope appeal around the time, and he got a whole crew of people to click those up and got a whole lot of Brooks and I had a free post on it. So he encouraged us to paste them to Brooks, and they had to pay the postage, obviously. Yeah. So lots of exciting stuff came out of it, but also, it has an impact. And and to go from that to the time of an end. And then like, as a young person, so many people admit a known during those times, or earlier. Getting an HIV diagnosis, the all of the history around you know, the meds weren't available, that means weren't working. Some people it was really quick from diagnosis to do other people, it was a really horrific time of visiting and hospital. So when you're really young person, and that is your lived experience, PTSD. And one form or another makes complete sense. And I think it also forms. So some of that experience, I guess, in some ways formed who I am and how I am and why is to volunteer and why Oh, still really think it's important that we come together as rainbow communities to have things like pride, and why I thought the in the devotion party. And so I'm a great and why I then got involved in organizing the devotion festival, because the party, although I could get everyone loves the party, and I do but and you've got a job today. And I really like to dress up and go and hang out with people pretty shy about my dancing. But I think that collective community stuff is very valuable. So when did the devotion fist all began set myself up for their memories a little a little sketchy. I think it may have been 9596 that we started the festival, because of like pizza back in 91 got devotion up and running. And I finished might have started the group called sprung productions and 92 and then sprung the came aboard voluntary board. And that's had some continuity of people sort of from year to year, but it also had changes changes of people on it. And different people bought different things there was around I think was run again, 9596, they might have been a bit more work done on the promotional kind of side of it, the marketing, the devotion magazine was came along might have even been as early as 94. And then we used to do posters, you know, teaser posters around town, and then actual party posters, and those kind of things, all of that group to be a much bigger part of it. And it gave the events an income stream, like selling ads when you could produce them author. And the festival came about I think Lee Harrison may have done first festival and I volunteered and helped her with that. And you know, kind of picked up the festival end doing Front of House, someone else was doing volunteers by then. Yeah, and it was pretty awesome. That I guess is how I got to meet a whole lot more people in our community who I some of whom I still know. And it was all about trying to put together a calendar, I think we just went for a week at that stage leading up to the day when it would be the parade and the dance party to finish it all off. But to incorporate events that would be a bit more inclusive of other aspects of our communities. So that those who, you know, the parade and dance party weren't necessarily for them could still be a part of the overall devotion, celebration. And so we'd have things like I think that's when I first went to a garden tour, it doesn't John's beautiful garden, and we you know, even in 2017, we hit that as a part of the, the Wellington pride festival, I'm hoping we'll have it again in 2019. That was when I think was 1994 I still have a printed lesbian and gay history of Wellington walking tour guide that too young and Allison Lori did, which ties in with the pride, indeed walks and stuff that you're organized now. And I remember going on there and just being like, Wow, I've grown up in the city. And I've heard of some of these things through my Nana or my uncles. And and now it's like, wow, this is a part of my history. You know, that my rainbow foreigner history, as well as I guess, you know, my rainbow, Falco popper and away as well as a part of Wellington for and to, to be able to bring all of that together. So those kind of things in there was when the some of the rainbow faith groups would, you know, organize a special potluck dinner or something to come together? Because they will often not considered, you know, as part of our wider community. It felt like they were just in their own little bubble. So it was it was nice to be able to put together work on and we'd have like, probably watch something. Some classical is being movie on video at the bamboo. I remember going on with the videocassettes and asking melter push play, you know. And I was just like trying to have a little bit of something for everyone. And, and going out and saying to those parts of their communities, do you want to be a part of us to to bring it all into two together again? Yeah. Am I right in thinking that the 95 devotion features happened around the Wellington Town Hall and kind of civic square area? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So that kind of leads me to think about support, I guess, from the City Council and the mayor. How were the city council in terms of supporting things like the question? And my experience was, so that one actually 21 was the first that I was involved in. And then there was that one in civic squared in we were in shade sex when the brand new tsp arena, like we were the first book of internet? Yeah, they're a little bit of time. But thankfully, I don't think we made any cigarette burns on the floor, ending to the overseas tomorrow. My experience was that city council were always really supportive. I think we're pretty lucky with it and Wellington, I wasn't necessarily on the springboard and those early days to whether it wasn't supportive as it looked, by the time it got, you know, down the food chain account. Sure. I think Wellington waterfront management, were responsible for some of those venues. And I think from memory, they could have been a little more supportive, but Wellington City Council, were very instrumental and ensuring that they do get behind stuff. Yeah, and I know that the City Council also, like, with the venues, were able to help us keep costs down and those kind of things. And, and, as it went on, and, you know, towards the later years was really great, and helping promote devotion, not necessarily by putting any coin into it, but just using their own e commerce channels and those kind of thing. And, and obviously, that's rolling through to pride these days. Yeah. was easy to get kind of other businesses involved in the devotion festivals. There was a holiday different time, what is now called rainbow Wellington used to be called gap. Yeah. And that was like the gay Association of Professional. And there was that guy, Phil Smith, who was paddock whispers who had the pokey machines. And through those poking machines, I know a lot of funding was applied for to make some of the devotion elements available. There were Wellington City Council ahead and advisory group, and it's been an advisory group. And they put together as involved in that Helen Darwin was involved in that. Lots of people, they put together a deal flyer, that was like a directory of all the lesbian, gay bi trends, Rainbow organizations that they you have an Wellington, so they gave us like a listing of community groups, and get put together one that was the businesses. So that was almost like, the people that were trying to get sponsorship for anything to do with devotion, these two lists of names to contact was awesome. Let's just. And I think that the whole thing of other businesses hooking into the pennant dollar was maybe happening offshore. And it started to look a little bit new. But mostly it was personal networks, and, and that kind of thing that helped us be able to contact places to raise money. Whereas now, you know, it's again, it's so last week, you've got a little harder, rather than, yeah, well, there were a naughty with it, too. I remember that I'm wanting to organize a barbecue for the volunteers that one of the devotions and, you know, wanting to get some sausages sponsored, and just go into some Butch not necessary connected to our communities in any which way that I was aware of butchery place and say, Look, we've done this then and, and we've had all these awesome volunteers and we raising money for the eight foundation and it would love some sausages for the BBQ and just the minute you kind of see gay and AIDS and you saw a little little shirt, I've got to get them out of my shop. And they handed over the sausages. Sorry, can I play it? Play that fee for the for the good as well. So I guess the only thing missing that always been the kind of beneficiary of the devotion festivals. I think that was an initial years. Absolutely. I don't know that the patties ever made a hell of a lot. I know that they then went on to fund black sell fund themselves, you know, so the first few years, I think that was the focus. And then it was about being sustainable and and being able to breakeven, and if there was any money left, where would it go? was often a discussion that the board would make. I can't recall it think they may have been one year where they did a like an application process and various organizations could apply for any funds that were left over. I may be confusing that again and making history up. Oh, yeah, I'll consider find out fully from people who would know that. jumping forward to 1997 and that was a really big year have seen some footage on TV about the devotion party happened in the Old Town Hall. You had Gareth hours little of doing the Midnight Mass. And you also had a really large parade that was protected by christian fundamentalists. Tell me about the Wellington Town Hall. You was great. Yeah, the Christian fundies they were fun we say the parade that was that parade I think was probably the first on the head. A lot of buzz and excitement around it we've done it before people knew what to expect and and they definitely did have the support of the radio station so they were able to provide some vehicles that some organizations could decorate up it was totally community though, you know that they were probably the only non community although they were kind of definitely allies. And they there was just like every community organization you can think of I think that was the year someone did a syllabus. And it might have been Polly fellas first devotion as Poly Pomona recall. A very young Holy Father still very gorgeous been walking along with this Priscilla bass. And there was a real sense of fun and excitement. And I know in my own photograph collection, you know, I've got photos of me that people have given me and these like this this these two fighters there's me taking a photo of clearly are you taking a photo of me taking a photo of her is fantastic. We were pretty excited. And and next year, I think I think we came from shape as part before it was a skate park around and down Courtney place on to that little bit of Wallace are entrepreneurs and internet to immerse them back into civic square. Just as we got onto manners, they seem to be a little minor of Christian protesters, but we didn't really take much notice. And, and one of the great things about our culture as that when we're in fabulous, fabulous, and we will see and we're quick, and they got some pretty sharp Bob's back. And then as they may have run a heat of us, or it might have been just that, coincidentally a lot of them looked the same, but it was a mess of policy of them with placards and what have just on the entrance into civic square from the end of Musa Street. And they were quite abusive, and they're quite horrible. And I know a lot of people got upset. But there was I remember the people in the parade just will be going like don't give them the time ignore them, you know, or don't even let see this is ours. And there was a bit of a sort of stay and often but of yelling, and we just carried on. And I think I don't know, whether they were people from the community and hours or whether the police intervene or something. But at some point they seem to get shut down and they didn't really manage to burger up the party. So that was great. Yeah, and Dean that you say the party that year was the Wellington Town Hall, which was so awesome. But and also token civic square. So that Yeah, I just participated in the parade, worked on the festival and in ending was doing front of house for the pasty I personally I made such a mistake, I have really bad hay fever. I had this idea is going to grow drift out of live grass, which I managed to do pretty well the grass seed was still kind of attached to the debt crowd. And I was just amazing, amazing and sneezing welcoming people and doing front of house. But I've learned I've never made a life grassroots before. Not before again. Um, yeah. So date night, there were all sorts of fun activities out and civic square itself, there was those little doesn't really sound fun when I described it as little go kart things that are made out of all toilets. And there was other failure and attractions. And they were the coach Jake was able to be up at there. And there was just roving kind of stuff happening and entertainment. And then when you went into the town hall, they were more things I remember, they were those sumo wrestling kind of costumes that you jump into. And yeah, and having to take most of my costume off, to be able to get into it. And, and yeah, and just having a lot of fun, you know, lots of vague and kind of fun attractions as well as there was the chill out space to a particular as you know, designated spaces for different things. And then of course, the stage with the shows and the dance, dancing, and all the various DJ playing and, and, and the big main town hall itself, which was pretty beautiful. felt pretty special for us as a community to you to be in the town hall. Yeah, nowadays you can nightmare. But, you know, it was it was pretty exciting. I'm just trying to remember as I talked it, we may have had two years and the town hall. Because when I talked with my life grace dress early, I remember being there and another costume. So may have been 9596 week that two years in a row. And somewhere in there, we had another devotion party at shade sucks on the waterfront, which is right next to the TSB arena. And we had the podium both venues was pretty soon after the TSP arena had first opened. And I remember them being pretty anxious about the flooring surface because it was some special really expensive stuff for sport that was played in there. And they rolled out a special floor cover that they had incorporated into the design for balls and the likes, but they're not worried about the to Butch devotion crowd and what we might do to the precious dance floor that we seem to manage not to burn the place in it. But that was an exciting one to like what we sit there all up. So people would walk up the stairs from Frank it's part and to like, a corridor at the TSP arena, and then they could go down some stairs, we boats, and two sheets sex where the dance party was, there was like the cafe button, the space and that kind of thing. And then get the devotion dollars to go to the bar and and then connect back through and to the TSP arena where the dance floor space was going off. And yeah, and as people walked up initially, to go through that corridor to get into one of the you know, actual party spaces, wherever they're going. We set up these, like these plants with walls. So you kind of hit a zigzag through it. And on each of those, they were different representations of different parts of our community. So we tried to highlight there were the leader queens header, had a couple of people up there, there was a lesbian, kind of almost like live artworks, you know, they were just stood posing or whatever, but just just deeply interested in which which you've laid out there. We're going to be Yeah, and it made it kind of fun, insurance, and inclusive. So what's 1997 was it the final devotion. That was the final devotion coincided with the night Papa opened. And again, I was doing front of house there. And I recall, Lilith Gareth had performed to open devotion, and then had to get to to Papa, to perform there for the opening night of that. And just recall because there was at the overseas passenger terminal, which isn't a huge distance. And Lisa, it's dark, and you're in heels and awake. But I recall them coming screaming out of the overseas patient passenger tomorrow Good. Oh, my God, oh, my God, I've only got five minutes to get there and just hurtling, you know, down this down the waterfront towards to publish Jamaicans next event. So that would have actually been 19 98. So I guess because I think I've been too much. Okay, so pet, because I think we've got this town hall wanting to tell the whole 90 it would have been you have a 6% return. Right. So we were two years at the town hall, then I think, and we were the TSP arena, and the last one was the overseas passenger terminal. So that yeah, that's how I couldn't work out where we were two years at Town Hall. Yeah. So can you describe the last devotional mighty yet? I guess at the time, we may not necessarily have realized it was going to be the last one. But I remember, we worked really hard to create different dance spaces. Because for some people, and we've had feedback, you know, from some people, like, the music has no words, it's just drift off. I want I want to be able to dance to something I can sing along. Literally, that was that was the feedback. So we had worked really hard to have different dJ dJ in different spaces. And the overseas passenger terminal. I don't think for me at had the same level of excitement. Although, I guess in the previous ones doing Front of House had been able to be more than an involved in the in the party. But it just, it was a great night for other people. You know, when you're doing for the house, I guess if you've got a job, it's a bit hard to enjoy it as much. was probably No, I'm saying we didn't necessarily know or think it was the last one is we were doing that. As I reflect probably was heading towards winding down like the dance party thing wasn't quite. It wasn't for everyone, you know, we hit other up other things going on there were like they've been having for leaders been organized, that being lesbian balls, they were the university dancers head. From years back, it kind of disappeared, but we're starting to come back in a different format. And I think that after that last devotion, the remnants of the springboard went on to become the group that did the first Deus, which was the new university dance Up, up at the UK. Yeah, and there was probably just a bit of size for them and thinking of those huge, huge venues, dental Millington to make them viable. What do you think the versions legacy is? Wow, I guess it it's definitely over time in a generation. That certainly ages you when you talk about devotion with people that you're hanging out with now, and they're like, what was that? I didn't know that devotion actually sit out to have a legacy. And if we said manage, if there is anything, I guess, that community connectedness that some of us were meant, and others would, rather nor ankle often think about. Yeah, it certainly served its purpose of providing a space in a place for people that were going through some really hard stuff with a real estate or not. To come together and have a sense of belonging and the collective strength and the non biological father know all of those things, as well as remembering people that we'd lost, celebrating pride and ends grasping or not grasping, know, grasping, but that desire for hope. You know, we'd come out of law reform, and HIV was happening in our communities and the impact of that, we'd, we'd all come together. And kind of in case devotion came in a nice time for us to to consolidate that almost post, lower form. And those other times. It's what I think what others and who knows. In we talked to a wee bit about beacons of hope and how you'd start volunteering with that, and 93 and then taking on the mantle of organizing it. A few years later, the hats. Can you maybe just talk briefly about how they haven't kind of changed and moved into until what has now? I guess? Yeah. So beacons of hope, in the earlier days probably was, as well as an opportunity to remember those people who are dying at a hell of a quick great, and and people were being diagnosed and dying, and really short period of time, or people who were finding that were overseas, we've been diagnosed and not necessarily even getting home, or some women are going to come home, but they would had left New Zealand, you know, as one person and come back as a really unwell person simply to die. There was loads going on around it. But the the beacons of hope, International AIDS, candlelit Memorial, because I think I said a little, that really important thing of remembering and having a space to remember, collectively, and also in a space where you can be in that huge crowd and just be right there on your own, but in a, in a supportive, supportive and safe environment to do that. Think the bigger ones were almost a bit tickle in some way? Or no, actually, no, the earlier ones were very emotional and community. And it didn't matter if you like, closely or immediately knew, or anybody who had passed away from an AIDS related owners or, or any of that it was just you, you came along to total cool, it was a real community, then, then it started to be that the numbers of beacons that we were having to make and lights and get people to carry was getting ridiculous and we couldn't get it was kind of like you asking every person that came to the event to hold one, which was quite powerful visually, but also logistically just hard to comprehend. And it had started to become a bit like one of those events on Wellington's calendar that the public came along for a look at, which maybe took a little bit away from what it was about. So we tried to think the technical word is smaller Fiat and make it more meaningful again. And so to do that, as well as to manage that logistical thing, have enough people to hold the beacons, we sell it to make floating candles, which were, again, pretty rudimentary, it was a plastic bottle with a candle concreted into the bottom, with lots of volunteers help us put those together. And the numbers were phenomenal. And we used to recruit volunteers before the event, to be sure we have enough people to place the floating candles on Frank Kitzmiller going, we did all sorts of stuff, like put a neat under the bridge, get permission from the harbourmaster and volunteers to sweep them up later. So we didn't damage the environment. But um, and they still looked beautiful. And it was a lovely representation alongside the calling of names and all those things that made up the candlelight Memorial. And then I guess, as things changed with treatment, and the health promotion, promotion, Lisa gene kind of managed to slow the rate of infection. And the year, the needs were meaning that people were living longer with HIV. Some people that became lists are part of our everyday world. And so people mainly will I maybe I won't go, it's called tonight, you know, and so the numbers of people attending dropped, and so perhaps became a guess maybe on the inside really important. Obviously, still too many people but to come together and publicly acknowledge it, there was just a shift. And I think those things kind of impacted it. And so it became smaller and smaller. And part of it had always been there was like, we used to have a church do this. It wasn't as it nondenominational interdenominational, but it wasn't like any particular focus. But that was like the hell would start and then we would have the parade with the, from the to the lagoon with candlelight, that was going to be in the old days would carry the beacons to their next around the lagoon. And then we'd have the ceremony. And so as it got smaller, it became their of having just the door, but like whether it was in a church or a whole, or those kind of things. And I know even now, you know, from year to year, the attendance, maybe a very small group or a larger crowd, just depending on what's going on, in people's worlds and experience of people dying from AIDS related conditions or significant anniversaries and that kind of thing. Still a really important event. And nice that smaller fine, it didn't mean stopping that. Yeah. It's interesting, just kind of looking at and charting how these events kind of blossom, and then kind of small fi and depending on what the community actually needs to kill the time in, I guess my final question is kind of just going back to possibly the devotion parades. It was 20 years before another Pride Parade actually went through Courtney place went through the streets of and are willing to, which was in 2017, I think it was. And I'm wondering if you can reflect on that 2017 parade and also, the equally that came to out on the park this year? How did they do from the pride in 1997? In the earlier ones? I'm sorry, before I get that, just what you're saying that about how things sort of blossom and and Chinese size and shape I think that illustrates quite awesomely the community lead response that we all have, unwittingly, you know, head to various things that have happened throughout our shared history. And and it's kind of just hearing you say that made me reflect and think well, that's great, that that these community events are community lead, and that they were then and then some situations pants very actively, that reacting to the law reform protest and that kind of stuff. But equally, the lower form was community lead. And that there could productively toe real. Thank you for saying that. It was just nice to, to think of it in that way. Coming back to the parade stuff. And whilst it's like so 97 was the last and 2017 was the next time there were a couple of parades that were part of Wellington pride festival prior to the 2017. One. And those were walking parades. So that I think may have been wheels. For people on like skates roller blades. And there were, I think, and then 9096 Gosh, got your decades and huddled up out here. But in 2016 when there were some of those bikes with the sort of thing on front, which we dropped a couple of drag queens and yeah, so there were walking parades. There was the one that went up Cuba street around Cuba duper when it became out in the car park as well. But the 2017 was the first one we did road closure again, as communities. The difference did you say this? was just reflecting on Yeah, yeah. I think that like I talked about earlier devotion ones like the first love one overs really mindful of people who were part of our community, just for whatever reason. But again, on the back of that it was so close to law reform, and maybe for safety reasons. Not being a handy sure if they wanted to be a part of it, but definitely noticing them down there loving seeing it happening. And then some of those people joining in and other years. I think now they're people who don't necessarily want to be a part of it. But it's part of our rainbow culture to go down and watch it. Which is a different Fenton not be a part of it. I think that back in the earlier days, it was very, very community focused and community need. And sure, there was some allies. And, and that involved, which was great, because our community thing, you know, and I know, my mom, and a lot of other people's moms and far know, we're part of our community, you know, that wouldn't be the career fair, if you didn't see someone says mom, or when, yeah, you know, so they will, all involved into the difference now is that it's gone to, like, going to night time this year, I think, has made it a little less accessible for some of the younger people in our community, I know beckon. 97, and that like both nectarines Lee and pulling Gillespie, who were working for that radio network at the time, were like, We have to do this at night, we have to do this at night. And for years. Malcolm Vaughn myself, and that could talk about that. And we'd never get around to it. You know, it wasn't like, we had to do it at night. And it wasn't like just because of Auckland. That was just other things are happening. And I think that parade kind of thing and disappeared out of Wellington with devotion disappearing. Yeah, and nighttime parades, pretty neat, you can have all the different lighting effects and that kind of stuff. I think daytime works awesomely, because it makes it more accessible to younger members of our community to be involved. But also, it makes it more accessible to an even wider audience, or the wider Wellington communities because most of us are awake and out and about during the day, you know, not personally not always on waking. I liked that last this year rather early this year. The people that were organizing Wellington pride and out in the part, realized that just a little ahead of it. And so very quickly put together a coin, which brought back the walking parade. And and it was about I think that's it for the young and the young at heart. And it was about providing a really focused space for those people to participate. It's still, I'm pretty sure that's going to happen again next year. And I think it's great to do that. But it still feels a little other end, as well as honoring in clothing. And whatever week way we came to work around it. Yeah, I think the Pride Parade or so like internationally has become a bit more of those the think the paint dollars, all there, you know, it's become a thing that a lot of organizations, but businesses will put in a corporate social responsibility policy, they'll put a little bit of sponsorship money towards that they probably pay a whole lot more sponsorship to other sectors to get the same visibility. But they want to look like in LA, you know, they want to help us in us. So it's not as meaningful to me anyway. And I'm, I know, you know, I've talked to other so it's not as meaningful a community event, when it starts to look like that. But I think it's still great that we can have pride in titling, I think they're really important and always will be, you know, we need to celebrate our culture, and our communities and the communities that make up our community within their raw or else will lose them. You know, we don't want to assimilate. Think about a thing I sometimes say in conversations with friends as remember when James can add a thought up call real. The state that Twilio Marty was in. It's almost like we need to be careful. Are we going to need somebody to sit up corner queer. We got to remember that we have a valid and valuable culture and history and to celebrate that and keep it alive. Rather than assimilate and lose the special that matters

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