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Honouring Georgie

Mon 11 Nov 2013 In: Events View at NDHA

Beyer at the Carmen taonga handover at Te Papa this month A veritable ‘this is your life’ for Georgina Beyer this week will be full of tributes, glamorous shows and stories, which organisers say will also raise cash to help make the former MP’s life a little easier as she has dialysis four times a day. Beyer is the woman who has of course made and indelible imprint on our history, first as the world’s first transsexual mayor, then as the world’s first transsexual MP. Known for her classy outfits, self-deprecation and straight–up approach, Beyer has rallied on social issues like civil unions, prostitution, human rights and gender identity, while she has also been a prostitute, stripper drag queen, showgirl and actress in her well-heeled lifetime. Now she is facing what’s probably her toughest time yet. She has chronic kidney disease and needs dialysis four times a day until she can have a transplant. The Labour Party has stepped in to organise Thursday’s event at the James Cabaret in Wellington. MP Louisa Wall says it’s designed to recognise the ‘amazing taonga’ of someone “who is at a point of her life that her health needs have highlighted the fact that we need to celebrate and we need remember and we need to acknowledge and we need to support her for the work that she has done.” The world's first transsexual mayor Wall says it will be a tribute to Beyer’s life struggle and what she has contributed while in her leadership roles, and “done in a way that will also celebrate the diversity of our community.” Jo Paku who works in Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta’s office is managing the event at the request of Wall. “She wanted to show that the Labour Party still cares for Georgina and cares about her future and her health,” Paku says. Housing New Zealand has found an apartment closer to the hospital for Beyer, who was spending more than $80 a week on taxis to and from treatment. Paku says the tribute event is about trying to make the former MP’s life a little bit more comfortable. “This is an opportunity to hear her stories and anecdotes of her life. But we also want to be able to give Georgina a koha to help her out with the costs of having to go to the hospital to do her dialysis four times a day. And you know … it takes a lot to stay that beautiful! And dialysis has really brought out her cheekbones and she is doing the Audrey Hepburn look quite well,” Paku jokes. “But she is unwell, she has lost a lot of weight, she is fragile. So we’re trying to make sure that she does in the long term have people to help her, to cater for her. Meals are hard to make when you’re feeling weak from dialysis.” The event will be set up like ‘this is your life Georgina Beyer’ with testimonials from a range of people being shared throughout the evening. Noted broadcaster Shane Taurima as the MC. “He is Mr sensible, Mr credible, he will do his research!” Paku laughs. A young Beyer as part of the Bloomers Review at Alfies Miss Ribena will welcome people as they arrive, acting as ‘door diva’ while the entertainment will feature political comedy from Lorae Parry and Pinky Agnew as Helen Clark and Jenny Shipley, reminiscing about their time in the corridors of power. There will also be a showgirl tribute to Beyer, with Amanduh la Whore and the Southside Sisters gracing the stage. “The Southside Sisters actually asked if they could perform because they are Maori transgender. And while we remember Georgina as the politician, as the mayor, as the performer, as the artiste, we also want to pay homage to her whakapapa as a Maori woman as well,” Paku explains. There will an art auction, with Dick and Otis Frizzell both donating works, along with an Elizabeth Kerekere panel work called Takataapui and fashionista art from David Roil and Suzanne Tamaki. Flower arrangements from exotic native specialists Love Unlimited will go under the hammer. “All of our entertainment has been donated. The comedians, the showgirls, the MCs have all donated their time for the event,” Paku says. The James Cabaret is even hosting the event for free, also pitching in with production and sound. Westside Studios will dress it with ‘old movie world charm’. Georgina Beyer Tribute Evening Thursday 14 November, The James Cabaret, 6.30PM-11.30PM Tickets are $115 per person, which includes: three course dining, bubbles, wine, birthday cake, entertainment and “sparkles”. To book email or call Jo 021 100 2351  Jacqui Stanford and Jay Bennie - 11th November 2013    

Credit: Jacqui Stanford and Jay Bennie

First published: Monday, 11th November 2013 - 9:49am

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