15 Jan 1952


Maata Mahupuku dies. As a teenager Mahupuku had a relationship with writer Katherine Mansfield. They both attended Miss Swainson's Fitzherbert Terrace School in Wellington. After which, Mahupuku left for Paris where she learnt to speak fluent French and developed her talent for singing. Mansfield's friend Ida Baker described Mahupuku as "petite, with a pale touch of gold in her skin and sparks flashing from her eyes." Later Mansfield wrote in her journal "I want Maata - I want her as I have had her - terribly. This is unclean I know but true." After Mansfield’s death in 1923 it emerged that she had begun a novel entitled Maata. Mahupuku went on to marry several times and have a number of children.

4 May 1952


Chris Carter, New Zealand's first openly gay male Member of Parliament, is born in Auckland. He first stood for the Labour Party in 1987, but it wasn't until 1993 that he became an MP. In his maiden speech Carter said "I stand here tonight as the first sitting Member of this House to publicly acknowledge that my personal sexuality is different from the majority of New Zealanders. I believe my sexuality has played a very positive role in my life." He went on to say "My own situation rapidly led me to a real empathy for those in society who, because of their race, their sex, or their economic circumstances are judged less than equal." In 1997 the Waipareira Rainbow branch was established in Carter's electorate - marking the birth of Rainbow Labour. And in 2007 Carter became the first Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister to have a civil union. He said at the time "It will be a special moment for [Peter and I], and a chance for our family and friends to give public witness to our 33-year relationship."

7 Oct 1952


Academic, feminist, activist and politician Marilyn Waring was born. Waring made headlines in August 1976 when, as a current Member of Parliament, she was outed by the tabloid New Zealand Truth newspaper. In 1984 Waring threatened to vote for the opposition-sponsored nuclear-free New Zealand legislation, leading Prime Minister Robert Muldoon to call a snap election (which the National Party lost). After leaving parliament, Waring went on to a distinguished academic career and in 2012 was included on the Wired Magazine Smart List of "50 people who will change the world."

10 Mar 1953


Activist and counsellor Mani Bruce Mitchell is born in Mount Eden, Auckland. Identified (inaccurately) as hermaphrodite at birth, Mitchell was subjected to non-consensual normalizing genital surgeries as a child, and sexual abuse - which carried through into adulthood. Mitchell has spent the last three decades transforming this narrative of trauma into their activism and work in the mental health field. In 1996 Mitchell became the first person in New Zealand to come-out publicly as Intersex, and in 1997 founded the Intersex Society of New Zealand. In 2016 they were a finalist in the New Zealander of the Year awards and were integral in bringing the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association world conference to New Zealand in 2019.

22 Apr 1953


Dr Charles Farthing is born in Christchurch. He studied medicine at the University of Otago before moving overseas. Farthing was at the forefront of care for people with HIV/AIDS - helping establish one of the United Kingdom's first AIDS wards in the mid 1980s, before becoming the Director of the AIDS treatment programme at Bellevue Hospital in New York. In 1997, frustrated at the slow progress of developing a vaccine, he volunteered to become a human guinea pig. On the news of his death in April 2014, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Michael Weinstein, told media "the fact that he was willing to take a chance with his own life - when we were still in the era of certain death - showed his commitment, his courage, his willingness to do anything for a breakthrough."

28 Aug 1954


Teenagers Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme are found guilty of murdering Parker's mother with a brick in Victoria Park, Christchurch. The trial highlighted the girls' fantasies and absorption with each other. Defence lawyers contended that the pair had a shared psychotic disorder (folie a deux), with one of the symptoms being homosexuality. However psychiatrist Kenneth Stallworthy told the court that even though they had "engaged in some form of physical homosexuality... homosexuality [was not] any indication of insanity." The pair were too young to be sentenced to death and so were jailed. After 5 years they were released and both relocated separately to the United Kingdom. Reflecting on the case, academic Alison Laurie noted that the attention given to lesbian relationships in the "very negative context of murder and of young girls out of control, [had] a big impact on how that generation of lesbians and their parents began to think about relationships between girls and women."

15 Sep 1954


In the United Kingdom, a committee chaired by Lord Wolfenden began to consider homosexual offences and prostitution. At the time there were over 1,000 men in prison in England and Wales for homosexual activity. In September 1957 the committee’s report was published with a recommendation that "homosexual behaviour between consenting adults in private should no longer be a criminal offence." However, it took another decade before homosexual acts were decriminalised - and then only in England and Wales with an age of consent of 21.

Oct 1957


Activist and politician Georgina Beyer is born in Wellington. Beyer's rich life has been the subject of books and films documenting her journey from, as she puts it, "cracking it as a prostitute" to becoming the world's first openly transgender Mayor and Member of Parliament. While in Parliament, Beyer fought for, among other things, prostitution law reform, civil unions and gender identity legislation. Author Andrew Reynolds recently described her as the "iconic Ghandi of the movement ... Being the first in the world is a remarkable achievement. Her courage, her tenacity, her authenticity, transforms hearts and minds."

21 Nov 1957


Historian Gavin McLean is born in Oamaru. As a youngster McLean found sanctuary around the local harbour, fishing and contemplating the history of the waterfront. It developed into a life-long passion for maritime history. After graduating from Otago University he moved to Wellington in the 1980s and fought for homosexual law reform. He was deeply involved with the Wellington Gay Community Centre and Pink Triangle magazine. For many years McLean was also a key figure in the Professional Historians Association of New Zealand/Aotearoa, and held significant positions at Historic Places Trust and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. He would write or edit more than fifty publications before his death in 2019.

4 Aug 1958


Labour politician Tim Barnett is born. Originally from the United Kingdom, Barnett moved to New Zealand in 1991. While in government, Barnett introduced the Prostitution Reform Bill, which became law in 2003 - making New Zealand the first country in the world to decriminalise sex work. He was also a champion for the Civil Union Bill, which became law in 2004.

1 Jan 1959


The Attorney-General H.G.R. Mason tries unsuccessfully to have the penalties for homosexual acts reduced. (approximate date)