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Neville Creighton

In this podcast Neville talks about his background, becoming the first Director of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, secondary school teaching, and managing the Gayline counseling service.

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This podcast was made possible through generous support from the Rule Foundation


This abstract summarizes an audio recording from 2013 featuring Neville Creighton’s interview by Gareth Watkins. Neville Creighton reflects on their significant life events and contributions, particularly concerning their sexuality, professional life, and advocacy roles within Aotearoa New Zealand's LGBTQ+ community from the 1930s through the 1990s.

Born in 1931, Creighton talks about the unawareness of homosexuality during their upbringing in Otago, highlighting a prevalent social ignorance regarding LGBTQ+ identities. The interviewee married and began to understand and question their sexuality around their thirties, marking the start of a gradual journey towards self-discovery. Creighton’s exploration took place alongside a career in teaching and an active involvement in church youth work, leading eventually to a position in the ministry.

The conversation then shifts to Creighton's instrumental role in establishing and managing crucial services within the gay community, such as the Gayline counseling service. Their experiences reveal a personal and social evolution, where challenges like internal conflict, fear of discovery, and combating societal and institutional stigma were prevalent. Creighton recalls the fear and discrimination they faced and their own challenges with reconciling their spirituality and sexuality.

Creighton details the importance of support and advocacy during the AIDS crisis–a highly stigmatized condition where fear and misinformation were rampant. By volunteering with the shanty system, Creighton aided the creation of support structures for individuals with HIV and AIDS in New Zealand, adopting a non-judgmental and compassionate approach to HIV prevention and education.

The interviewee discusses the shifts experienced within broader societal attitudes towards homosexuality, illustrating a journey from social invisibility and criminalization to steps towards legal and social recognition and equality. The conversation includes reflections on the alteration of calls received by the Gayline service over time, suggesting a stable continuity in the types of inquiries and the enduring nature of the coming-out process.

Creighton also touches on receiving a Queen's Service Medal (QSM) in 2005, recognizing extensive community service, and the transition from civil unions to marriage equality with the potential passing of Louisa Wall's bill, an initiative they supported.

Lastly, gardening is presented as a significant, spiritually rejuvenating aspect of Creighton's life through involvement with the Fifth Season Garden Group and the Heroic Gardens.

Creighton's narrative provides a valuable personal historical account of the LGBTQ+ community's changes, struggles, and progress in Aotearoa New Zealand, as well as the forging of supportive networks that extend far beyond the personal scope, benefitting the wider community.

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:4th February 2013
Interviewer:Gareth Watkins
Location:Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004221).