Search Browse On This Day Timeline Research Remembered About Contact
☶ Go up a page

Nicki Eddy and co - New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt (1993)

This page features computer generated text of the source audio. It is not a transcript, it has not been checked by humans and will contain many errors. However it is useful for searching on keywords and themes by using Ctrl-F, and you can also play the audio by clicking on a desired timestamp.

[00:00:00] This audio comes from the collections of the New Zealand aids Memorial quilt. [00:00:06] Nikki Eddie, who was the convener of the New Zealand quilt project, who also had a brother who died of an AIDS related illness. And Beverly and Audrey two moms whose sons died of an AIDS related illness as well. And we're talking to them this morning about this very important project here in New Zealand, the New Zealand quote project and I guess we better start with you first Nikki is to explain to my listeners just what this quote project is and a bit about its origins to [00:00:33] the ceiling cool project as a memorial to those people we have lost two wives here in New Zealand. It the New Zealand initiative comes from the American names project, which was founded in 1985 when the very first panel was created for young men by the name of Marvin rice, this is a six foot by three foot panel, which is created out of love can be from grief, anger, whatever they feeling at the loss of somebody to a nice related. [00:01:04] Okay, now it's like but it's like a quilt as a preserve it sort of about a almost a quote size six by three, six foot by three foot and made out of material [00:01:12] materials of [00:01:14] felts and, and what it does is upon the panel, the quote represents that person's life, there may have been a shift. So you can take one look at that panel and realize, Oh, this, this young person was a chef, right hairdressers we have, right, right. [00:01:31] So the first very, very first one was back in 1985. That was in a mirror in America. When did we take on the quilt project here in New Zealand 1988. [00:01:39] Our first panel was created for men called Peter Cuthbert, and was displayed for the first time World AIDS Day, first of December 1988 in Wellington 1988. [00:01:49] Now, what is the number of quotes that you have now here, they have you seen [00:01:55] 72 panels, that represents 100, 28 names of people we have lost who is here in New Zealand, that's quite a large number. That was necessarily [00:02:06] I was gonna say 300 people if you're [00:02:11] just over 300 people now we've lost two is here in New Zealand, right? So it [00:02:16] doesn't necessarily mean that if someone loses their son or their daughter or whatever, to an AIDS related illness, that they're going to do a panel but people what motivates people to do a panel to make a panel to [00:02:27] make a panel is a statement of unconditional love. They it puts a human face behind the statistics of AIDS here in New Zealand or internationally. New Zealand is one of 27 initiatives around the world Chronicle projects now. [00:02:43] Now, I believe the one in the United States is just huge. [00:02:46] Have you seen it overwhelming. I was honored and privileged last year to be able to take three of our New Zealand blocks to Washington DC, where we had an international unveiling, the quote being covered 15 and a half acres. That's equivalent to 14 football fields. Just back to back rows and rows of quotes representing again, as I said before, well over 27 nationalities from around the world [00:03:16] must have been a very moving thing though there must be just this this energy that comes from seeing these wonderful quotes that that makes people sort of stop and think and and remember, whether it's through feelings of anger or sorrow or whatever, there's a whole variety of emotions you must feel when you view them [00:03:34] differently else differently. The I guess the initial reaction is the one of loss. But out of a loss comes this overwhelming love and loving Scott has stopped us to say to the world that we do not have a cure for HIV, the virus which causes the ice related illnesses. And the only education we have as well informed information and love understanding sharing. And these quote, The quote, presents the human face as I've already said behind the statistics and that people stop and take notice and think to themselves when I've seen them on display here in New Zealand. [00:04:16] This is happening here at home is in God's own. That's right has not something that's just happening. You see on a six o'clock [00:04:24] headline right so how did [00:04:26] you become involved? I became involved in 1991 after I lost my 33 year old brother two nights related illnesses in the May of 91. And October 19. One we were having the very first unveiling in Auckland here was downcast his ad and attendance for the new see unquote project. And I was asked at that point five people that will volunteers are working with a boat to create a panel for road ride. And [00:04:53] can we ask what do you have on your panel for your [00:04:55] brother? The Bob has all his nieces and nephews handprints upon it. I have a very important people in his life. He has Waikiki Island Robin was born on why Hickey Island years ago, right? And he has [00:05:10] Australia because he lived off and on and Australia and America for for 12 years. Roses because they were his most favorite flower. And a couple of verses that we just think of very special particular I think it's the old Irish farewell verse that made the road rise up to me to write use that verse upon and just as Fiverr colors run. Yeah, just signed it was representative of the person that he was [00:05:40] now did you make this yourself or Did someone else make it for you or who way we create them the families only or whoever wants to know who's connected [00:05:48] panels are created by the families and friends partners of those that we lose to hide. And when they're really only when they are really too thin give it to the museum cool project to become the custodian I guess you could call it. And we in turn type the quote out into schools to display this really brings it makes a huge impact on our years. That the again, once again, this is not just a figure this thing on a Blackboard or something in a textbook from school. This represents 72 people's lives. We're actually very lucky here in New Zealand, we have quite a unique block whereby the kiwi kids living with AIDS trust created their own block. And that's really unique in the world because it was the 13 families here in New Zealand have children living with HIV or AIDS. They had like a number like [00:06:40] 45 [00:06:41] and they created their own whole big block. And that was really neat. It's really quite colorful isn't [00:06:47] like I'm not gonna Imagine that. So obviously, when you do a quilt, [00:06:52] it's it's [00:06:53] partly a healing process, but also, I guess helps you through the grieving to what I I'll be right here if I can just bring Audrey and Beverly and to when you were involved with your son's quilts. Was it that? Did it help you through the grieving process at the loss of a son, either of you like to start first of all? Yes, it definitely [00:07:11] did. It was some very healing, right? Lots of emotions of felt while you're making them one sad ones. But yes, it's definitely a healing thing. Quite [00:07:22] therapeutic. Really? Yes. [00:07:24] As I said, it must be quite constructive to do something like that on the loss of a loved one. Because you put all your love and your feelings emotions into that quilt down to and and I guess that that they take a little while to make today, Audrey? [00:07:37] Yes, some people take longer than others. We just do it slowly as you feel right. And as ideas of things that you want to go on it like can't always rush it. No. And sometimes it takes a while to to actually hand it over to the project because you want to hang on to it the end it's become so [00:07:57] special. Because it's a part of that person, [00:07:59] like letting it go is yes, [00:08:02] yes. Yes. Well, just just talking, because we want to come back to Beverly and Audrey in a moment and hear more of these stories. You talked about taking it to the schools. [00:08:12] What's the reaction to young people when you talk about how about AIDS related illnesses? Is there this realization dawning on a lot of young people these days that there is a need for protected six? Because I have heard of young people who at the moment think it's really cool to have unprotected sex for sure. And this is what worries me immensely is that there is some actually taking terrible risks with [00:08:36] their lives. I guess we've all been through it as teenagers, we tend to feel we're immortal. And we're going to live on forever. And that this is something that actually happens to somebody else. Well, and we know it's not, [00:08:49] we definitely know that it's not something that happens to somebody else. HIV AIDS affects everybody doesn't matter, your race, your color, your creed, your sexuality, it happens to each and every one of us. These five, viewing the call because it has become such a powerful visual tool. These students are beginning to sit up and think, oh, Lord, you know, this is something that affects me. Often when we're in schools, we have somebody that is living with the virus, come along and speak as well. And again, that brings it home just that much closer that [00:09:25] that morning, they may have not known been directly affected by the fires, but by being confronted by somebody living with the virus suddenly at a fixed theme, and we hope it's something they remember for the rest of it. [00:09:40] Because I think the thing that comes out here this morning too, is that to get the AIDS relate the HIV virus, you don't have to be gay. No, you don't have to share needles, you can be a heterosexual person who's out there having unprotected sex who just happens to have sex with the wrong person? Would you ladies agree with that? I mean, I think a lot of people still tend to think aids goes with gay people or with with people who who are perhaps intravenous drug users right? [00:10:08] Extra [00:10:10] discriminating? No, no definitely not the [00:10:14] whole thing is that it never was never will be never has been a guy related illness never [00:10:21] unfortunately, that it statistically [00:10:24] that yes, it did hit [00:10:26] in the Western world are gay communities has fastest first but never was [00:10:31] solely there was a perfect example of this has come out at the moment was the man who has caused a lot of fear in the community, with perhaps spreading the AIDS virus to a number of women. And I mean, this is this has come out to show that it is not just the domain of gay people. Let's talk about you for a special evening. And then I quickly I promise you, Audrey and Beverly, we're getting to you over here with your stories. But you've got a very special evening coming up and I'd like you to tell people what's going to happen on that evening and perhaps why they should attend. On the 30th of October at Mandalay [00:11:01] new market. The New Zealand core project is having another fundraiser in the form of a silent auction and cabaret. And we have many wonderful entertainers on board for the evening who are giving their time for free all of our patron Jeanette McDonald and her side Gary McCormick will be there. We have grant richer Lorcan, Beaver, all these wonderful people are going to be the entertainment and the funds we raise from the evening will go towards the travel as a quote, despise around educational purposes. We're hoping next year to perhaps put up some I would like to see more HIV AIDS awareness and prevention week set up. The girl has traveled now to make most of the major centers in the country. At the present moment. It's a while on the wire rapper eaten Wellington being hosted by the sexual health services down they had to and they're going they have been on the rise, where again, it opens the door for al-mahdi people to be able to speak about something that has been very difficult for them. And that is fakes. Right, right. Yeah. And so it's opened up an awful lot of doors for the quote [00:12:18] in itself has opened up a lot of doors for [00:12:20] other healthcare people to be able to go in and say, You know what, this is what we need to do. And [00:12:27] so it's it's sad Saturday night, the 30th of October at 730. At the Mandalay? Where can people get tickets and how much do they cost, [00:12:35] the tickets will be on sale at the door. On the night only they will be $10 we've kept the costs down as long as possible so that if you're a person that is living on a benefit, you can at least come and have a really nice night worth of entertainment is $14. And for those that are more affluent, we're hoping that will buy the items from the silent auction at this point. I would like to thank the businesses in New York and community that have donated items towards the silent auction thing [00:13:04] right now when I buy habits a tremendous success. It sounds like the ones in the past have been wonderful. And this one we too. Well, Beverly and Audrey, I just wanted to if you could just quickly, perhaps Beverly will Audrey first. Okay, we'll start with you first, Audrey, if you can just hear a little bit about about what happened to you and to your son. Just whatever you want to share and the importance of the quote project to you. [00:13:28] The quote [00:13:28] unquote project is that the the memorial it's it's a beautiful visible thing, the quote, and it is an ongoing memorial to a person. [00:13:42] So [00:13:45] how long ago did you lose your son to AIDS? [00:13:48] January 1991, 27? [00:13:52] Yes, it's the most terrible illness it's, it's awful go through. But [00:14:00] how far in advance of that? Did you find out that your son had AIDS, [00:14:04] we had only known that he was HIV positive for about two years previous to him dying. He had known a few years before that. But he obviously didn't want to tell us wanted to spare as I suppose as long as he could. And he was quite well until till the last year. So he was a lot luckier than some people with the virus because he was able to get out and about, really, in fact, he was actually driving his car two nights before he died in hospital. So he was a pretty determined type and then yes, but some of course, are sick for a lot longer that they had to stay [00:14:39] in bed. [00:14:40] Were you able to accept what had happened to him? I mean, I know no one can say that. But as regards perhaps is the reasons why he got a gay is you [00:14:51] sit there with being gay was never a problem, right? He was just one of the family and sexual preferences didn't matter. whole family's father, everyone accepted him. I was [00:15:03] obviously, for having [00:15:06] being gay just was never an issue. Right. But when we and we always I always thought he'll be one of the lucky ones and he won't get the virus and even when he had the virus, you think he might still just be a carrier and never get right age related illnesses. But of course the inevitable happens. So that that was the tragedy and that is why it takes a long long time to get over I'm [00:15:28] sure it did you have good support though a family and friends during during the last year perhaps of the time? [00:15:35] Yes, Yes, we did. We didn't really meet with much prejudice not not our particular family our case and lots of people do use and it's very cruel is the prejudice that's must be the hardest, I think it must [00:15:46] be the cruelest thing of all. People can be so prejudiced and you know the old saying there but for the grace of God go You're right. That's right happen to anyone who daughter or son, when we look at these days gay or heterosexual [00:16:02] need to understand more and show them love and acceptance. [00:16:07] Because I think that that came out and Bryce Courtney's book, April Fool's Day about his son was Wasn't he was surrounded by by love anyway, he had a son who was I think a hemophiliac who got the AIDS related virus that way. But he talked to one young man in the bed opposite his son. And Nikki, you can talk about this the [00:16:31] years that young man Jaan Vega has just had a panel created by a person who read this book, and wanted young Baker to be remembered. So I felt I had a few tears in my office the other day when this panel arrived, this young man because because this family deserves a day they didn't want the when he died, he died apart fellow save his and he was as a result, he said I was one main surrounded by so much love and under staining. And this one person had nobody there with him here that really made it to him at the end. And as I say, this formula formula has sent this panel down and beyond vital will [00:17:12] lovely, lovely, because I think that's one of the biggest tragedies of the of the whole aids thing is that they should die alone because of what they've gone. You know, through prejudice of one form or another that people can't you know, their sons and their daughters, they can't bring themselves to be there for their for their final days or whatever. heartbreaking is what they like, Can you just share a little bit of your story to [00:17:36] feel Do you mentioned Dallas, the song The but for Fortune go you arrived happens to be one of my favorite songs. Yeah, I don't buy is because you often think that something it doesn't ever going to affect your family. My son Michael died in 1989. He was 26. When he was 17. [00:17:56] I [00:17:56] found out that he was gay, I actually asked them. And it was problem for our family either he was accepted for what he was as a gay person. And he felt good about himself as a gay person. When he was about 23, he went for the taste. And I remember him coming home. And saying the bad news he had to tell us and how he just felt so pleased that he had this sort of appearance, he could come and tell the story. [00:18:24] And he intended to go overseas to Europe. And he said, Well, I'm going to do what I want to do and not let this affect my future life, which I'm glad he did. And he traveled overseas. But he was one of the unfortunate ones that the virus progressed very quickly to AIDS. And he only survived about three years with the virus. He came home towards the end of his illness. And he was home in New Zealand for three months, which was a very spiritual time. And I visited him overseas when he was old. [00:19:00] It was very hard seeing the difference in the sun hood going away, and the sun that was facing me at the port. But as the world receives the only important thing is love and acceptance. And what the court has done for me is show the human face of the illness. Each person we have lost as somebody's son, brother, sister, lover. And it as I said, it just puts a human face to the to the illness. And that's the important thing about it. It's the only thing we have to break down the stigma and prejudice about the illness because I didn't counter that [00:19:37] you didn't count of [00:19:38] the previous statements, the people seed like fuck the ones I feel sorry for the haemophiliacs and the children with AIDS. Some moral is pointing a finger of saying gay people deserve it. And it made me very, very angry. [00:19:52] Yes, that would be very, very hard, not nobody deserves. [00:19:58] Nobody deserves to get cancer either. You know, I mean, you just, it's such a shame that people have the prejudice because of someone's sexuality towards them. And as mothers, you know, they're your sons who died in front of your very eyes with this illness and to have somebody say that kind of thing to you, is just so cool. And, you know, we just hope that as a result of these projects, that more people are going to have more understanding about it and see that it has a human face, as you say. And so obviously, for both of you, having those quilts made was very, very special and very, very important. right for you. [00:20:34] Yeah, and for YouTube, every nice. I think it addresses the uniqueness of everybody we have lost our unique human beings [00:20:42] is any final words, just before we finish, I just wondered that if out of all this personal tragedy that that you have experienced? Is there anything that you have learned that you'd like to pass on to my listeners today, just some one little thing, perhaps that you want to say to them, [00:20:59] I would like to love your children condition unconditionally. That is the only important thing that when you're on the on your own deeds, be to be loved by your children and to love them [00:21:11] and do anything from you. They're Audrey to and [00:21:14] to get a life generally into perspective. But don't let the little things spoil your days just live in a live for every day. And just think of the big tragedies and then the small ones just won't seem big at all. Right? [00:21:28] Well, I hope that, you know, we've all gained a little bit of something from this and I hope that there'll be a lot of people turn up to to the group project coming up on the 30th of October. That's two week this coming Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay at 730. It's going to be a wonderful evening with the silent auction, the cabaret, lots of wonderful people taking part. So folks, if you get a chance to go along to that, I'm sure that you would enjoy the evening and continued success with a cool project tuned again, you're going to reach a lot more people with it. And perhaps as a result of that give them more understanding. And Audrey and Beverly thank you very much to to both of you for braving the the nerves of sitting in front of a microphone and coming and sharing with us today. Thanks so much for your time.

This page features computer generated text of the source audio. It is not a transcript, it has not been checked by humans and will contain many errors. However it is useful for searching on keywords and themes.