17 Feb 1930


Dr Hjelmar von Dannevill dies in San Francisco, USA. During the First World War, von Dannevill had been imprisoned on Matiu Somes Island in Wellington harbour on suspicion that she was an enemy alien. An official report noted that "there is much reason to suspect that she may be a man masquerading as a woman." After six week's imprisonment on the island, von Dannevill had a severe nervous breakdown and was taken ashore. After the war she left New Zealand with her companion Mary Bond and her children. They eventually settled in San Francisco where von Dannevill worked as a physician. At the time of her death, a newspaper reported "After her arrest in 1925 [in San Francisco] for masquerading as a man she was given a permit to wear masculine clothing."

6 May 1933


Members of the nationalist German Student Union ransack the library of Magnus Hirschfeld's Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin. The library contained thousands of books, documents and images on sexuality and gender. The contents were publicly burnt a few days later during nationwide Nazi book burning events. Exactly 52 years later, on 6 May 1985, members of New Zealand's rainbow communities gathered together on the steps of the National War Memorial Carillon to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. They stood under a large cloth pink triangle - a symbol that homosexuals had to wear in the concentration camps. During the Nazi era, hundreds-of-thousands of rainbow community members (not just homosexuals) were persecuted, imprisoned and murdered.

26 Feb 1936


Eric Mareo is found guilty of murdering his wife Thelma Trott in Auckland. The couple are described on the NZ Drug Foundation's website as "two artists living a flamboyant lifestyle in Auckland's Mt Eden." According to the site, they were both addicted to Veronal - the first commercially available barbiturate. The pair regularly visited the Dixieland cabaret, described by NZ Truth as "an orgy of jazz and fizz." A couple of years before Trott's death, she met fellow dancer Freda Stark and they began a relationship. This was discovered by Mareo who, on 15 April 1935, murdered Trott with an overdose of Veronal. During his trial, Mareo testified that "his wife's desires were met by association with women." He said that he had caught his wife in bed with Stark a number of times. Mareo was ultimately found guilty of murder and sentenced to death - later commuted to life imprisonment.

5 Jul 1936


Photographer Robert Gant dies. Born in England Gant moved to New Zealand at the age of 21, living in Wairarapa and Wellington. Gant's visual interests include young men, sailors, shoes, theatrical scenes and execution scenarios (beheadings) – which were popular at the time. He had a long-term relationship with Charlie Haigh and lived with him for over 20-years in Seatoun, Wellington. Gant's photographs and life have been documented in Chris Brickell's 2012 book Manly Affections.