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Service for Virginia Burns

Audio from the service to commemorate and celebrate the life of Virginia Burns (a.k.a Virginia Parker-Bowles). The service was held at Old St Paul's, Wellington on 23 June 2017. A special thank you to Jac and whanau for allowing us to record and share this service. There is a tribute page for Virginia here

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  • 0:00:00 - Elizabeth Kerekere
  • 0:02:08 - David Birrell
  • 0:04:54 - Waiata Nga Iwi E (The Topp Twins/Hirini Melbourne, Pereana Pitman)
  • 0:07:55 - Vaughan Meneses, and words from Virginia's mother Judi Burns
  • 0:13:40 - Greig Wilson
  • 0:19:18 - Penny Salmon
  • 0:25:35 - Arthur Grooby
  • 0:29:06 - A time for reflection [Bathe in the River performed by Holly Smith is not included in this podcast]
  • 0:29:13 - Rebecca Elizabeth Taylor
  • 0:30:25 - Herwig Raubal
  • 0:38:38 - Sian Torrington performs This is a Femme Slam
  • 0:44:32 - Ruth Mundy performs Owls
  • 0:50:12 - Shelley Te Waiariki Howard, and words from V's boys overseas
  • 0:59:00 - Ben Mills with words from Tyrone Russell
  • 1:00:32 - Outerspaces
  • 1:06:50 - Groove is in the Heart performed by Deee-Lite [not included in this podcast]
  • 1:06:53 - Closing words from David Birrell and Elizabeth Kerekere
  • 1:10:25 - Karakia
  • 1:10:50 - Waiata Purea Nei (Henare Mahanga/Hirini Melbourne)


This abstract summarizes a recording of a service held at Old St Paul's in Wellington on June 23, 2017, in memory of Virginia Burns. The service celebrated Virginia's life, acknowledging the sorrow of loss while also recognizing the joy they brought to the lives of those they touched. Attendees, including Virginia's parents Judy and Harry, sister Emma, partner Jack Lynch, and friends and community members, were led through the service by David Birrell.

Various speakers honored Virginia's legacy, including Arthur Grooby, Ben Mills, and Elizabeth Kerekere, who opened the ceremony by setting a tone of unity and connection. The narrative of the event emphasized Virginia's remarkable passion for life, their role in organizing LGBT events such as the Asia Pacific Outgames, their dedication to the Inland Revenue Department, their resilience in facing cancer, and their relentless advocacy for inclusiveness and diversity. Virginia's fight against their illness was highlighted by details like "chemo club" and their humorous yet powerful spirit, even in the toughest times.

Through personal anecdotes, the speakers painted a picture of Virginia as a strong, stylish, and caring individual who cherished their friends, family, and community. Their influence was felt across various spheres, from the workplace to arts and community events.

Tributes poured in from friends and family, some who were unable to attend, sharing memories and expressing how Virginia's fervor and magnanimity had deeply impacted their lives. The ceremonious element of the service was complemented by musical interludes, reflecting their appreciation of the arts.

Additionally, the service acknowledged Virginia's advocacy work for outer spaces and rainbow youth. Their support for these causes was manifested through numerous fundraising initiatives, underlining their commitment to fostering an accepting and supportive community for all identities.

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.


2010s, adele, alex efimoff, aotearoa new zealand, arthur grooby, asia pacific outgames, asia pacific outgames (2011), ben mills, biphobia, bowls, butch femme, cancer, children, civil unions, clothing, coming out, community, community support, conrad johnston, david birrell, david harkins, drama, elizabeth kerekere, employment, environment, fabulunch,, family, femininity, femme queen, fleetwood mac, france, friends, gay, george michael, greig wilson, growing up, henare mahanga, herwig raubal, hirini melbourne, hiv / aids, homophobia, human rights, humour, inland revenue department, ireland, jac lynch, judi burns, karakia, legacy, lesbian, love, masculinity, maya angelou, michael o'connor, music, naming new zealand, netherlands, old st paul's, out in the carpark (wellington), out in the park (wellington), out in the square (wellington), out wellington inc., outerspaces (wellington), penny salmon, pereana pitman, poetry,, queer, rebecca elizabeth taylor, roxy coervers, ruth mundy, sandra dickson, school's out (wellington), scotty and mal's cocktail bar, she is gone (poem), shelley te waiariki howard, sian torrington, slam poetry, sleeveless dress, solar energy, southern cross garden bar, sport, stevie nicks, students against dangerous driving (sadd), tax, te reo māori, the dixie chicks, this is a femme slam (poem), topp twins, trans, transphobia, tranzform (wellington), tyrone russell, united states of america, upper hutt, values, vaughan meneses, virginia parker-bowles, visibility, vox pop, waiata, wellington, wellington binder exchange, whanau, women, youth, youth group

Tags (computer generated)

acceptance, access, advice, africa, agenda, ambassador, ancestors, anglican church, army, arts, attitude, bear, beauty, birthday, blood, board, boundaries, bravery, building, butch, camp, canada, celebration, change, chocolate, church, class, coffee, coming up, conference, connect, conversation, council, courage, cross country, cuba, culture, dance, dancing, david, denial, difference, dignity, diversity, drag, dress up, dresses, dublin, earthquake, empathy, encouragement, energy, engagement, escape, events, exercise, experiment, expression, face, facilitator, faith, fashion, fear, fearless, femme, film, food, free love, fundraising, future, gallery, gaming, gay games, gender, gender diverse, god, graffiti, grief, hair, health, hell, heterosexual, high heels, hit, holland, homo, hope, hospital, humanity, inspiration, job, kindness, korea, laughter, law, lgbt, library, loss, lyrics, marketing, masculine, media, meetings, naming, normal, opportunity, oppression, other, pacific, pain, painting, parents, parties, passion, penguins, people, pirate, plan, policy, pool, power, privilege, queen, quiz, race, rainbow, rainbow youth, rally, reading, relationships, remembrance, rent, research, resistance, respect, role model, romantic, running, sad, safety, safety plan, school, sea, self determination, sexuality, shame, shoes, singing, sleep, smile, smoking, social, social media, space, spaces, speech, sponsorship, straight, strength, stuff, subversion, support, time, tolerance, top, transition, travel, truth, understanding, victoria street, voice, walking, water, website, wig, wind, wine, witness, work, writing, youth

Record date:23rd June 2017
Location:Old St Paul's, Wellington
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004485).