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New Zealand presentation

Warren Butler, New Zealand's representative from the AIDS Memorial Quilt, makes a presentation to the conference.

A special thank you to Christina Sunley, the conference organiser, for allowing this audio to be made available online. This audio is supplied courtesy of the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt and can be accessed at LAGANZ.

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In this abstract, we summarize a poignant speech by the New Zealand representative at the AIDS Memorial Quilt Conference held in San Francisco on March 10, 1995. The speaker provides insights into the status and impact of HIV/AIDS in New Zealand during the 1990s, as well as the cultural climate and significance of the AIDS Memorial Quilt Project in their country.

New Zealand, a nation similar in size to California, is described as diverse, with a population of 3.5 million people and a notable community of Polynesians, alongside Europeans, Pacific Islanders, and Asians. Auckland, highlighted as the largest city, boasts the biggest Polynesian population worldwide, and the indigenous Maori people are an integral part of the nation's social consciousness, with tribal values and culture being actively promoted.

The New Zealand Quilt Project, founded in 1988, was first officially unveiled in 1991 with a mixture of New Zealand and Australian panels. That event marked a significant emotional moment for the representative, who is living with HIV. It catalyzed their involvement in an organization that not only serves as a memorial for those who have succumbed to HIV-related diseases but also functions as an educational tool that raises awareness and understanding about living with HIV.

A concerning picture of the HIV/AIDS situation in New Zealand is depicted, with 500 deaths and 1,000 known cases, and an estimated additional 1,000 individuals likely untested and unaware of their status. Despite this, the presentation emphasizes a somewhat disconcerting lack of public awareness or belief that HIV could affect them personally, unless someone close to them is directly impacted.

The delivery also touches upon the challenges faced by small town residents in New Zealand, where populations range from 10,000 to 50,000, and the virus is often assumed to be an elsewhere phenomenon. Social services in these areas are underdeveloped, and the Quilt Project plays a vital role in fund-raising and raising awareness in these communities.

It is noted that local media seldom cover stories about New Zealanders living with HIV, focusing instead on the pandemic's effects in America or Africa. However, there is hope for increased visibility with the upcoming broadcast of a documentary about the New Zealand Quilt Project, even though it is not scheduled for prime-time TV. The Quilt Project has become a national treasure with local coordinators in four other cities but securing funds remains a pressing challenge, especially as social services face cuts.

In conclusion, the representative looks forward to the conference as an opportunity to meet others and share ideas that could enhance similar projects worldwide. The recording concludes with gratitude and anticipation for the knowledge exchange that the conference promises.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:10th March 1995
Audio courtesy of:New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt
Location:San Francisco, United States of America
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004211).