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Great gay gardens needed

Sun 29 Oct 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

An impressive $375,000 has been raised for HIV/AIDS awareness and support by the Heroic Gardens Festival during the last ten years but, for that record of success to continue in its 11th year in February 2007, the festival needs the help of gay gardeners throughout the Auckland region. The popular garden tour of some of the best gardens in Auckland owned by gay, lesbian, bisexual, takataapui and transgender people has been one of the consistent highlights of the Auckland Hero Festival, attracting hundreds of visitors, of all gender and sexuality identities, from Auckland and beyond. Heroic Gardens Festival Committee Chairman Shane Neal says while some of the very popular ‘regulars' who are stalwarts of the tour will feature again in February, new gardens are needed in order to build on the already high levels of public support. “If you're a member of the wider GLBT community and have a fabulous garden in the Auckland region – or one that can be made fabulous by February,” Shane says, “then we want you.” Last year the Heroic gardens Festival raised $60,000, allowing a substantial donation to be made to Herne Bay House, an Auckland City Mission facility for people living with HIV who needed palliative or respite care. Since then, Herne Bay House has closed, so the funds raised by next year's Heroic Gardens Festival will go to the New Zealand AIDS Foundation Burnett Centre and the Burnett Centre Wellness Fund. The centre and its wellness fund supports all people affected by or living with HIV, whatever their sexuality or gender. Shane says that in 2005 New Zealand recorded its highest ever number of new HIV diagnoses and there are now more New Zealanders than ever before living with the virus. “This emphasises the importance of the Heroic Gardens Festival, not only as a fund raiser to support those affected by HIV, but also as an awareness raiser for all New Zealanders about the very real risks that HIV still presents to all communities.” GLBT gardeners interested in supporting the festival can contact Shane at or Ph 027 442-1744.     Ref: (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Sunday, 29th October 2006 - 12:00pm

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