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Lunch with Sir Ian on offer at fundraiser

Thu 13 Jun 2013 In: New Zealand Daily News

Sir Ian McKellen has been outspoken on gay rights. Revered actor and gay rights advocate Sir Ian McKellen will be the special treat at a fundraising lunch in Wellington later this month. While back in New Zealand working on scenes for the next instalment in The Hobbit, he was happy to take part in an event to support the marriage equality championing Labour Party, and Rainbow Youth. Sir Ian’s long association with Labour Party General Secretary Tim Barnett helped, with Barnett’s first political role being the inaugural Executive Director of the Stonewall Group in the UK – where Sir Ian was one of his employers. “I ended that job when I emigrated to New Zealand, but we kept in touch and when he came here in 2000 to start filming Lord of the Rings we re-established contact,” says Barnett, who was New Zealand's second openly-gay MP. “As he ends his time here, and thinking about all that has happened in law reform here through that period, we wanted to mark that with an event. He was happy to help.” Tickets for the three–course fundraising lunch at the Old Museum Buildings at Massey University in Wellington on Sunday 23 June range from $250 for a seat and lunch, to $500 for a seat at a hosted table – including pre-drinks with Sir Ian - and $1,000 for a seat at Sir Ian’s table. The limited latter offer includes a signed and framed picture with the actor. The lunch will be followed by a conversation between the actor and journalist Finlay MacDonald. Barnett is very excited about the event and says it’s “immensely generous” of Sir Ian to dedicate part of his last Sunday in New Zealand to the event. “This is a one-off opportunity to gain an insight into what has driven Ian’s life and career.” He believes Sir Ian is so respected by New Zealand’s gay community because of the relaxed and determined way in which he came out. “Very Kiwi,” Barnett says, adding “and because he has embraced our country and our values so superbly”. You can get tickets here    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 13th June 2013 - 3:03pm

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