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Reflecting on HLR30 Hands On

In this podcast Creek reflects on HLR30 Hands On - a massage event for 'activists, survivors and veterans' of homosexual law reform in Aotearoa New Zealand.

We also recorded an interview with Creek before the event. You can hear that interview here.

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In this podcast, Creek examines HLR30 Hands On, a commemorative massage event organized for the 'activists, survivors, and veterans' who played a role in the Homosexual Law Reform in Aotearoa New Zealand. The event marked the thirtieth anniversary of the law reform passed in 1986, offering therapeutic massages like relaxation, deep tissue, craniosacral therapy, and aromatherapy.

A group of seven volunteer massage and body work practitioners provided free treatments to survivors of the homosexual law reform at Thistle Hall. The event spanned two days, offering both scheduled full-body treatments to 17 people and shorter walk-in sessions to about 10 attendees.

Creek discusses the initial challenge in convincing people from the 1970s-1980s reform period to participate. Many did not see themselves fitting the term 'activist' since they downplayed their contributions, leading to the use of the more encompassing terms 'veterans' and 'survivors' acknowledging their experiences and suffering during that era.

The event catered to a diverse group of individuals, including older gay and bisexual men, trans women, lesbian women, Pākehā, Māori, and Pacific peoples. The range of participants spanned from prominent leaders to quieter individuals of different age groups, all of whom offered various contributions and endured trials in their fight for gay rights.

Recruitment for the event was honestly a slower process. It took multiple invites through various methods like Facebook, email, or verbal communication before individuals felt comfortable accepting the invitation. There was a deliberate care to avoid making anyone feel coerced, understanding the difficulty for some people, possibly reflective of New Zealanders' traits or lower self-esteem within the queer community, to accept kindness for themselves.

Creek also remarks on the unanticipated, valuable dialogue and open conversations that blossomed between volunteers and attendees, fostering intergenerational exchanges. These interactions offered insight into the elders' experiences and allowed room for emotions like euphoria or grief to emerge, enhancing the event's significance. Remarkably, the event, which included blessings and focused on compassion and humanity, served as a spiritual moment for everyone involved. Consequently, the event garnered positive feedback and seemed to build trust within the community.

The process of recruiting volunteers was relatively smoother. Utilizing social networks, a website, and personal contacts, Creek assembled a dedicated team eager to contribute to their community. Despite some typical apprehensions of possible hitches such as no-shows or logistical issues with laundry for the event, everything largely proceeded without major problems.

In summary, the HLR30 Hands On event was an opportunity not only to provide physical relief through massage therapy but also served as a platform for emotional healing, reflection, and community building amongst those affected by the homosexual law reform. This unique gathering allowed for meaningful acknowledgment of the challenges faced in history and the chance to celebrate solidarity and progress within a caring and supportive environment.

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 May 2016
Interviewer:Gareth Watkins
Location:Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004452).