1 Jan 2000
EQUALITY FOR PROPERTY RIGHTS
The Property (Relationships) Act 2000 becomes law. The Act gives de facto couples, whether opposite or same-sex, the same property rights on the break-up of a relationship.
EQUALITY FOR PROPERTY RIGHTS
The Property (Relationships) Act 2000 becomes law. The Act gives de facto couples, whether opposite or same-sex, the same property rights on the break-up of a relationship.
FINAL HERO PARADE
The final HERO parade is held along Ponsonby Road. The parade had run into financial difficulties, with the Hero Charitable Trust owing creditors more than $140,000 dollars. The following year a smaller "march" was organised with around 10,000 spectators (at its peak, HERO attracted around 100,000). A pride parade was re-established in 2013 and on 17 February 2018, in front of a crowd of around 30,000 people, Jacinda Ardern became the first Prime Minister to walk in the Auckland event. The organisers called it the "largest and loudest carnival of equality and diversity in Aotearoa New Zealand" and Ardern said the government "walks beside" the rainbow community.
SAFE SEX TOOLBOX
The New Zealand AIDS Foundation launches its safe sex campaign Toolbox on National Penis Day. The toolbox was distributed to people on the street and contained condoms, lubricants and application hints. NZAF executive director Kevin Hague told media that demand was so high people were chasing distributors down the street to ensure that they received one. Earlier the NZAF had unsuccessfully tried to erect public billboards featuring large penises. Hague said "Despite practically everyone either having a penis or being pretty familiar with the sight of someone else's, men's penises are considered to be so obscene and offensive that they cannot be shown on a billboard in New Zealand."
CLEO BACHELOR OF THE YEAR
Fashion designer Michael Pattison gains national media attention by competing as an openly gay man in the Cleo Bachelor of the Year. The popularity competition had been run by the women's magazine Cleo since 1985. Pattison had previously won Mr Gay Wellington and Mr Drag Wellington. He would go on to establish his own internationally successful fashion label that was initially kick-started through a WINZ grant. A few years ago Pattison moved to Berlin and founded the Fusion Factory - a dynamic concept space for fashion design, gastronomy, photography and events.
GO GIRL OPENS
Fiona Clark's Go Girl exhibition opens at the Govett-Brewster Gallery in New Plymouth. The exhibition explored gender and identity over a 30-year period. It included contemporary images plus two captioned photographs from the mid-1970s that caused moral outrage at the time. The images depicted transgender partygoers and contained captions that were described as "objectionable and indecent" by the then Mayor of New Plymouth Denny Sutherland. The public outcry was so strong that various galleries (including the Govett-Brewster) removed the images from the touring exhibition. The two photographs subsequently disappeared on route between galleries.
M.A.C ART FOR AIDS AUCTION
Over $110,000 dollars was raised to support HIV and AIDS work in New Zealand. The money was raised through the sale of MAC Cosmetics Viva Glam products and the M.A.C Art for AIDS auction - with 34 New Zealand artists donating works. New Zealand AIDS Foundation spokesperson Jonathan Smith told media that he was over the moon with the money raised and the response from artists. M.A.C AIDS Fund is an international charity established to support people living with HIV and AIDS and is funded entirely by the sale of M.A.C products.
SEX WORK REFORM PASSES
The Prostitution Reform Act narrowly passes its third and final reading in Parliament (60/59). In doing so, New Zealand becomes the first country in the world to decriminalise sex work. The New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective had been advocating for reform since its inception in 1987. That call was taken up by Labour MP Tim Barnett who introduced a bill that would enable sex workers to have access to the same protections afforded to workers in other industries. Speaking during the final debate, MP Georgina Beyer said that she was voting for the Bill "for all the prostitutes I have ever known who have died before the age of 20 because of the inhumanity and hypocrisy of a society that would not ever give them the chance to redeem whatever circumstances made them arrive in that industry."
THE TRUTH ABOUT LESBIAN SEX
A TVNZ broadcast at 9.30pm of Reel Life: The Truth about Lesbian Sex generates both large audience numbers and complaints to the Broadcasting Standards Authority. An estimated 382,000 viewers watched the documentary which explored lesbian relationships and provided "graphic instruction on how to achieve sexual gratification with and without the use of various sexual aids." Media reported that talk radio was bombarded with irate callers, while the BSA received formal complaints - both about the programme and its promotion. One person complained about an advert which featured the comment "The truth about lesbian sex for me is that I am having the best sex that I have ever had in my entire life." Another person complained that the programme inappropriately encouraged lesbian sex as an exciting and viable alternative to heterosexual sex. Both complaints were not upheld by the BSA.
DAVID MCNEE KILLED
Television personality David McNee is killed by Phillip Edwards in Auckland. McNee had paid Edwards $120 for a sexual encounter. However Edwards' lawyers would later tell the court that he was only there to masturbate in front of McNee on a "no-touch basis." Edwards told police that he was provoked into killing McNee because "he thought I was gay." He admitted to bashing him 30 to 40 times around the head. Edwards was charged with murder but was ultimately convicted of the lesser crime of manslaughter. Commenting on the case, and more generally on the defence of provocation (gay panic), author Peter Wells wrote, "It is impossible in New Zealand - and many other countries - to murder a homosexual. It is possible to be found guilty of manslaughter. The underlying message is that any homosexual’s life is of little value... It seems unjust that the person charged with the killing is the one who gets to tell the story."
A 3-METRE HIGH NUDE
Media report that a stunning 3-metre-high nude photograph of performance artist Mika was causing controversy at the Christchurch Art Gallery. The work, Mika: Kai Tahu by Christine Webster showed Mika in a full-frontal nude pose. A number of locals complained saying that it was disgusting and pornographic. One woman told media that she couldn't get the image out of her mind "I walked around the corner, and I felt like there was a nude man standing there exposing himself to me... you just couldn't get away from it." Hubert Klaassens from the gallery responded by saying that the male nude was a well explored subject in international art and artist Christine Webster welcomed the comments saying that it was "very affirming" to get strong feedback.
MUSIC VIDEOS CENSORED
The Broadcasting Standards Authority decided not to uphold a complaint against TVNZ for censoring music videos involving same-sex affection. The public broadcaster justified the removal of same-sex kisses because the videos were being shown in the daytime to a younger audience and, in the case of Christina Aguilera's Beautiful, the decision was due to "the intensity of the kissing in which it was clear that there was an intertwining of tongues between the two men involved." One of the complainants, New Zealand Young Labour, labelled the censorship as "active discrimination." Another complainant, Tony Milne, stated "Your station is contributing [to] the marginalisation of same-sex people and displays of affection. Your station, by omitting same-sex displays of affection, is contributing to making young gay people invisible yet again."
FIRST RAINBOW POLICE DLO
Media report that Waikato policeman Bruce Lyon had been appointed as the first rainbow diversity liaison officer within the police. The announcement was met with criticism by some - including Radio Pacific talkback host Mark Bennett. Bennett questioned why there shouldn't also be a liaison officer appointed for necrophiliacs, sado-masochists and homophobes. The broadcast would later become the subject of a complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority. While the complaint was not upheld, the BSA said Bennett's comments were "close to the border of what amounts to 'hate' speech."
The Broadcasting Standards Authority partially upholds a complaint about TVNZ broadcasting a six-part religious series featuring Pastor (now Apostle) Brian Tamaki. The broadcast received a number of complaints, including from the New Zealand AIDS Foundation who said TVNZ clearly encouraged the denigration of sections of the community on the grounds of sexual orientation. In the programmes, Tamaki repeatedly used the word "perversion" when characterising the lifestyle of the gay community. While TVNZ advised the producers that the comments in the series were “totally unacceptable” it also told the BSA that it had an ongoing responsibility to preserve the right to freedom of expression. Still, the authority ordered TVNZ to review its processes for appraising such programmes before broadcast in the future.
NZ SIGN LANGUAGE UPDATE
Media report that some traditional signs used in New Zealand Sign Language were being replaced ahead of NZSL becoming New Zealand's third official language. At the time, Gays were depicted with a "limp wrist", Jews were represented with a "hook nosed" gesture and Chinese were depicted with a pulling motion to the eye. Brent Macpherson from the Deaf Association told media "It's not really political correctness gone mad. It's more to do with respecting each other." Although new signs were developed the old variants are still shown in the online NZSL Dictionary. After complaints from the public in 2019, Rachel McKee, one of the editors of the dictionary, told media "The job of a dictionary is to record, document and describe the language as people use it, not to prescribe it."
NOT GUILTY OF MURDER
Phillip Edwards is found not guilty of murdering TV celebrity David McNee. Instead the jury found Edwards guilty of manslaughter, after he successfully used the partial defence of provocation, commonly known as gay panic defence. In general terms, a person is so offended and frightened by a same-sex sexual advance that they lose self-control - often characterised by unusual violence. Five years later on 18 August 2009, Parliament began voting on an amendment that would ultimately remove the partial defence of provocation from New Zealand law.
DESTINY CHURCH PROTEST AT PARLIAMENT
MP Georgina Beyer, along with pro-civil union campaigners, confronts thousands of Destiny Church supporters on the steps of Parliament. Destiny Church had marched through the streets of Wellington dressed in black, fists in the air chanting "enough is enough." A couple of days later The Dominion Post published a Tom Scott cartoon mocking the church's rally. The text on the cartoon read "I know this is not the right place or time, Kev, but you're really hot in those tight black pants." Georgina Beyer remembers "I was so angry I suppose, I marched across the forecourt of Parliament yelling out loudly ‘Why do you hate us so much? What is this, that you're teaching your our children - this hatred towards us?’ That ended up on the news that night, and many of our rainbow people around the country went Hallelujah, our voice is there to stare down this great adversity that we were facing from these people – one of the proudest moments of my parliamentary life."
AGAINST CIVIL UNIONS
The Rev. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., flies to New Zealand to speak out against civil unions at a Destiny New Zealand rally in Auckland. The Civil Union Bill was still being debated in Parliament when King visited. She said that her father "did not take a bullet for same-sex unions". She recounted her father's words "injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere" and "immorality anywhere is a threat to morality everywhere". At the time, some in the media pointed out that her mother, Coretta Scott King, and sister, Yolanda King, had both spoken out in support of gay rights and that Bayard Rustin - one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s closest advisors - was gay.
CIVIL UNION ACT PASSES
Parliament passes the Civil Union Act allowing both same-sex and heterosexual couples to be legally recognised in an arrangement similar to marriage. Most parties treat the legislation as a conscience issue, with MPs being allowed to vote according to their own personal conscience. Leader of United Future, MP Peter Dunne, railed against civil unions saying "this misguided piece of legislation is pure social engineering and the ultimate in political correctness. [It is] an out and out attack on the values of mainstream New Zealand." Dunne, along with National MP Maurice Williamson (another opponent of the legislation) would later vote in favour of marriage equality in 2013.
MARRIAGE CELEBRANT QUITS
The NZ Herald reports that Frank Geddes, a marriage celebrant in Northland, had quit the role because he didn't want to civilly unite same-sex couples. Geddes found the idea of homosexuality "abhorrent [...] I find women very attractive. I don't find men attractive at all." At the same time, after a week-long advertising campaign, the Department of Internal Affairs received almost forty applications from people wanting to become celebrants. Four years later, in January 2009, MP Grant Robertson and long-time partner Alf Kaiwai exchanged vows in a civil union ceremony at Old St Paul's in Wellington. Robertson told media "we met playing rugby. I was the number eight and he was the halfback - a great combination."
DEBATE ON GENDER IDENTITY BILL
Debate is heating up over MP Georgina Beyer's Human Rights (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill. The legislation, which was introduced at the same time as the Civil Union Bill was being debated, offered protection from discrimination on the grounds of gender identity. Organisations like the NZ AIDS Foundation and the Green Party backed the measure, while the Maxim Institute asked if this would be "the latest victory of political correctness over biology?" The Bill was ultimately shelved until after the general election in 2005, and then withdrawn by Beyer in 2006 following an opinion from Crown Law saying that transgender people were already protected under the existing human rights legislation of New Zealand.
GAY BC ENDS
After celebrating its 20th anniversary on-air, Gay BC (Gay Broadcasting Collective) ends it's weekly radio programme on Wellington's Access Radio. Long-time presenter Hugh Young told media "With gay programmes on mainstream TV, gay love on Coro St and openly gay MPs, GLBT culture and awareness is much more mainstream than it was when we started out [in 1985]." Starting around the same time – but still continuing to broadcast weekly on Access Radio - is the Wellington Lesbian Community Radio programme. It is one of, if not the longest running community radio show in New Zealand.
MP LARRY BALDOCK TRIES TO DEFINE MARRIAGE
In the wake of the Civil Union Act 2004, United Future MP Larry Baldock's Marriage (Gender Clarification) Amendment Bill is introduced into Parliament. The Bill sets out to explicitly define who could marry: "For the avoidance of doubt, marriage may only occur between one man and one woman", that "a person may not marry another person of the same gender" and same-gender marriages solemnised overseas would not be recognised as marriage in New Zealand. The Bill was championed by United Future MP Gordon Copeland who said "marriage is a solid rock [...] It is in the interests of creating stable, beautiful, adult relationships between a man and a woman. It safeguards the interests of children, particularly the right of the child - the right of every child - to have both a mum and a dad." However the Bill didn’t get past its first reading, with Parliament voting in December 2005 against it continuing by 73/47.
FIRST OPENLY LESBIAN MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Labour MP Maryan Street makes her inaugural speech in Parliament. Street is New Zealand's first openly out lesbian elected to Parliament (MP Marilyn Waring was publicly outed by the New Zealand Truth newspaper in August 1976 - a couple of months before the Colin Moyle incident). Street's speech reflected on her journey: "As a lesbian, I have often been the subject of other people's efforts to push me to the margins, to erode my legitimacy as a citizen, and to belittle my efforts and achievements. I have never accepted marginalisation; it is a construct of others who wish me to be marginalised. It is not where I see myself or the many others like me. But it has always required courage, and I have not come into this House to be less than brave about the human rights of those whom some would seek to marginalise."
FIRST ILGA PACIFIC CONFERENCE
The first ILGA Pacific Conference is held in Auckland. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association was formed in the United Kingdom by a group of international activists in 1978 with the intention of creating a network and platform to campaign against discrimination and persecution faced by LGBTI people around the world. In March 2019 the ILGA World Conference was held in Wellington - the first time the global conference had been held in this part of the world.
KISSING WOMEN REMOVED
Security guards at an international cricket game in Napier make newspaper headlines when they stopped two women from kissing. The kiss had been shown to a cheering crowd on McLean Park's big-screen monitor. A guard allegedly then told the women that they were distracting the crowd, and would be thrown out if they did it again. A spokesman for Redback Security later told media that the kiss was inflammatory and had "upset two of my more sensitive staff. It got the boys riled up, to be honest."
HENARE TE UA DIES
Broadcaster and kaumatua of the NZ AIDS Foundation Henare te Ua dies. Te Ua had a 40-year career in radio as well as being a champion for HIV education and prevention. Former NZAF Board Trustee and Chair Charles Chauvel, told media at the time that Te Ua played "an enormously significant role in helping frame our thinking about how the Foundation should work with Maori in a meaningful, not tokenistic, way." Te Ua was awarded the Queen's Commendation Medal in 1990, the Queen's Service Medal in 1992 for public services and in 2002, the Sir Kingi Ihaka lifetime contribution award.
CHARLOTTE MUSEUM ESTABLISHED
After a nearly five-month delay, the Charlotte Museum Trust is finally registered as a charitable trust. The enthusiasm for a museum of lesbian culture in Auckland had been growing for some time, and in January 2007 a Trust deed had been signed. And then the waiting began. Founding trustee, Miriam Saphira, recalls phoning the Charities Commission in May 2007: "I do not know what the problem is as our trust deed has been rigorously checked by a lawyer. We are lesbians so we are used to discrimination and some people would have a personal or religious difficulty with the idea." Within hours they were told that their application had been approved. The museum now holds a diverse and significant collection of lesbian-related taonga, books and early publications.
HIV TESTING INCREASES
The New Zealand AIDS Foundation announces an increase of over 200% in the number of people testing for HIV since the introduction of a new rapid HIV test. People were now able to receive results in 20 minutes. NZAF Positive Health Manager Eamonn Smythe said that many people using the tests had never been tested before, "Some of these people had been deterred from testing previously by the anxiety of having to wait up to a week for results from a blood test." Rapid testing began in Auckland in December 2006 and was then rolled out to Hamilton, Christchurch and Wellington. Nowadays, rapid tests can give results for both HIV and syphilis in a minute.
New Zealand's Chief Censor Bill Hastings seeks input from the public about the effects of freely-available condomless gay pornography. He told media "Depictions of explicit sexual behaviour influence us to a greater or lesser extent, and in a variety of ways. The emergence of "bareback porn" is, therefore, particularly worrying." Hasting was concerned about the threat that the material posed to public health with the practices it depicted becoming “normalised through repeated viewing.”
JENNY ROWAN ELECTED MAYOR
Jenny Rowan is elected Mayor of Kapiti Coast District. Rowan was only the second openly LGBTI person in New Zealand to be elected to the office of Mayor (the first being Georgina Beyer in the Carterton District). Back in 1995 Rowan and partner Jools Joslin along with two other lesbian couples challenged the country's marriage laws by applying for licences to marry. Their applications were declined and so began years of court action, culminating in the couple suing New Zealand before the United Nations Human Rights Committee. It wasn't until August 2013 - eighteen years later -that same-sex marriage would become legal in New Zealand.
TO BE WHO I AM
The Human Rights Commission published To Be Who I Am/Kia noho au ki toku ano ao. The report was the result of its Transgender Inquiry, which had begun in 2006. The inquiry was a world first by a national human rights institution and focused on transgender people's personal experiences of discrimination, their difficulties accessing health services and the barriers that they faced when trying to have their gender identity legally recognised (e.g. on birth certificates and passports).
MAHINARANGI TOCKER DIES
Singer-songwriter Mahinarangi Tocker dies in Auckland following a severe asthma attack. A few months earlier Tocker had been appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to music. Reflecting on Tocker's career, Tama Waipara told media "she was fearless [...] a real advocate for mental health, feminism, gay rights, Maori rights: she was a super-hero." On the 10th anniversary of her death, in 2018, a special tribute concert was held in Auckland featuring fellow singer-songwriters including Shona Laing, Charlotte Yates and Anika Moa.
SHORTLAND STREET SURPRISE
TVNZ broadcasts an episode of Shortland Street that contained a gay sexual encounter. The Broadcasting Standards Authority later ruled that the episode breached broadcasting standards (children's interest, good taste and decency). This was the first time a BSA complaint had been upheld against the television soap. The scene involved two male characters laying in bed talking. Lindsay went under the blankets and Gerald nervously asked him "where are you going?" Lindsay popped his head back up and replied "it's a surprise" before descending back under.
MATES AND LOVERS
Chris Brickell launches his groundbreaking book Mates and Lovers, A History of Gay New Zealand. Described as "a priceless treasure of who we are and how we arrived here", the 430-page book took over three years to research. In 2009 it won the Best First Book Award for Non-fiction at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Now over a decade later, a new generation of rainbow historians are paying tribute to Brickell's work. In 2020, historian Will Hansen told a queer history event at Te Papa "[This book] is incredibly special to me personally, as I'm sure I'm not the only queer history kid in Aotearoa who would tell you that stumbling across Mates and Lovers is what made me realise that doing queer history is possible in New Zealand."
RAINBOW ROOM AT PARLIAMENT OPENS
Parliament’s Speaker, Margaret Wilson, opens the Rainbow Room - a select committee meeting room dedicated to New Zealand's rainbow communities. The room is one of several select committee spaces in Parliament dedicated to different communities, including the Women's Suffrage Room. Wilson tells attendees at the launch "This is where we, as members of Parliament, are at our most influential and intensive, and so it is appropriate that it is with our select committee rooms that we celebrate our diverse Parliament and the democratic system which has finally delivered representation." In 2019 the room, which can be visited by the public, was refurbished and now features photographs of former and current rainbow Members of Parliament, a variety of community flags, six significant pieces of legislation and Mana Takatāpui - an artwork by Elizabeth Kerekere commissioned to celebrate marriage equality.
RULE FOUNDATION SETUP
The Rule Foundation is established to "advance the health, wellbeing and visibility" of rainbow communities in New Zealand. The Foundation took its name from Peter Rule who had had a distinguished career within the Royal New Zealand Air Force in the 1950s and 60s. However in the mid-1970s he was told that officials had observed him socialising too closely with a man while on a United Nations posting overseas. The incident effectively ended his military career. From there, Rule moved into arts administration. Before his suicide in 1987 he wrote about his wish to financially help other members of the rainbow community after his death "This may be towards [assisting] those who have had difficulty in coming to terms with their lifestyle and the related feelings of isolation and loneliness, or may [be] in other ways disadvantaged." Since 2008 the Foundation has given out over $400,000 to a wide range of rainbow projects.
GUILTY OF MANSLAUGHTER
Tourist Ferdinand Ambach is found guilty of the manslaughter of Auckland pensioner Ronald Brown. Brown was found in his flat with part of a banjo forced down his throat. He had also been bashed and bludgeoned multiple times with a dumbbell. Originally charged with murder, Ambach successfully used the provocation (gay panic) defence, claiming Brown had made an unwanted homosexual advance. Ambach was one of the last people to successfully use this form of defence in New Zealand - with Parliament passing the Crimes (Provocation Repeal) Amendment Act in November 2009. Ambach was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment. He was released in 2016, after serving eight years and immediately deported back to Hungary. He cannot re-enter New Zealand until after his parole period ends on 9 December 2019.
DANCING WITH THE STARS
Broadcasting live from the offices of Rainbow Youth in Auckland, breakfast weather presenter Tamati Coffey announced a donation of over a quarter-of-a-million dollars to Rainbow Youth, his chosen charity for the television show Dancing with the Stars. Coffey and dancing partner Samantha Hitchcock won the competition back in April.
UNTOUCHABLE GIRLS WINS
Untouchable Girls, the internationally acclaimed film about the Topp Twins, wins the Best Feature Film (budget under $1 million) award at the Qantas Film and Television Awards. Also in September 2009, Niki Caro’s The Vintner's Luck had its world premiere. The film was based on Elizabeth Knox's acclaimed book. Knox lay in bed for days crying over the film's treatment of the gay romance between the angel and winemaker. She told media that the film reduced the gay relationship to little more than the angel giving advice about wine, "[Caro] took out what the book was actually about" Knox said.
REPEAL OF GAY PANIC DEFENCE
The second and third readings of the Crimes (Provocation Repeal) Amendment Bill takes place in Parliament (New Zealand). The removal of the provocation defence - also known as the gay panic defence (Section 169 of the Crimes Act 1961) was in part due to a public outcry when it was used in a heterosexual context by Clayton Weatherston. He claimed he was provoked into stabbing his ex-girlfriend 216 times. He was eventually convicted of her murder. Parliament completes the Second Reading, Committee of the Whole House and Third Reading of the Bill in one sitting day.
GLENN MILLS FOUND DEAD
Glenn Mills is found dead in his cell at Auckland's remand centre at Mt Eden prison. Mills was due to stand trial for allegedly infecting numerous sexual partners with HIV. The trial was set to become one of the biggest criminal proceedings relating to the transmission of HIV in New Zealand. The case also created intense media interest, with some publications labelling Mills as the "HIV predator." Mill's pre-trial suicide compounded the tragedy of the situation on many levels. The website hivjustice.net reflected "we shall never know whether the case was more hysteria than fact." And Express magazine editor Hannah Jennings-Voykovich noted "Whether there was the intent. Whether there could be proof that there was an intent in court. I think there are going to be a lot of hurt people out there wondering what happened."
"TO LIVE AN AUTHENTIC LIFE..."
"I believe with a passion that every person has the right to live an authentic life. Respected and valued with the skills and knowledge to live a life with meaning, dignity, love and purpose." - activist Mani Bruce Mitchell [exact date unknown]
"WE RECOGNISE EACH OTHER..."
"We don't need to label ourselves anymore because we recognise each other without the labels." - activist Philip Patston
SEX IN THE DUNES
GayNZ reported on complaints of "blatantly offensive sexual behaviour" around Te Horo Beach on the Kapiti Coast. The area was popular with a number of different communities, including gay men, who according to some locals were popping up in the dunes "like meerkats." Joyce Fleming from Free Beaches NZ told media that anyone having sex in open view on a beach was offensive, "They are ruining it for other beach users and in particular for bona fide naturists and skinny-dippers." BJ, a local resident, said the dunes were like "an open outdoor brothel for gay men." While Sergeant Bigwood of the Otaki police said, "One or two people need to be made an example of so the sun lovers can get on with their discreet sun loving, the gay community can get on with being a discreet gay community and other beach users can use the beach without anything being shoved in their face."
"I HAD SAVED HER LIFE..."
"In 2007 I met a beautiful young Māori woman in Melbourne who told me that as a 15-year-old she had been seriously contemplating suicide because of her sexuality. I had come to her school prize-giving, and my presence, she said, convinced her that being gay was not a barrier to personal success. She told me tearfully that I had saved her life. That story alone made it all worthwhile." - MP Chris Carter during his valedictory speech
Media report on another homophobic advertising campaign from the Marlborough based Moa Brewing Company. The company ran billboards with the text "Fifty years ago before there were lesbians this is what beer tasted like." P. Armstrong complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the advertisement was extremely offensive as it implied same-sex orientations and relationships were a recent phenomenon which were being "associated with a decline in standards, tastes, authenticity and in particular (by implication) with a decline in masculinity." A year earlier the company had made international headlines when it promoted its full strength beer with "light hearted" t-shirts that read: Low Carb B(Q)eers, Moa Beer - Full Strength. A pink 'Q' was super-imposed over the 'B' implying, as writer Max Simon noted "you're a sad little fag if you need fewer calories."
CARMEN RUPE DIES
Carmen Rupe dies in Sydney. Rupe was a trailblazing activist, entertainer and entrepreneur - both in Australia and New Zealand. Her businesses included a cabaret club, a coffee shop, an Egyptian tearoom, a curio shop, a massage parlour and a brothel. Anecdotally, Carmen had a great line for male patrons who might prove troublesome. She would apparently say "Do you want a fuck or a fight? I can give you both." During Pride 2018, Georgina Beyer publicly talked about the ongoing lack of care available for rainbow elders, emotionally revealing that St. Vincent's Hospital in Sydney "didn't treat [Carmen] with the dignity she deserved." Loved and admired both in New Zealand and Australia, Rupe was known for her manaakitanga - offering love and compassion to many. Phil Rogers, a friend of Rupe's, recently spoke about how she "always had an interest in you; [Carmen] remembered your name." In 2021 Rupe's curio shop at 288 Cuba Street was added to an historic rainbow sites list maintained by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.
"My silences have not protected me." - the words of Audre Lorde which Jan Logie got tattooed on her leg before becoming an MP in 2011. Logie talked about the tattoo during her maiden speech in Parliament.
FLAGS LOWERED FOR CORPORAL
New Zealand flags are officially flown at half-mast to honour Corporal Douglas Hughes. Hughes had committed suicide in Afghanistan on 3 April after being questioned by a sergeant about his feelings for a fellow male soldier. Coroner Gordon Matenga refused to hold an inquest and relied solely on the Army’s Court of Inquiry. This led to calls from the family and others for greater transparency. Matenga was also criticised by some after it was revealed that he had made submissions in opposition to marriage equality, though Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean said coroners were entitled to their personal opinions.
NZ AIDS MEMORIAL QUILT GIFTING
A powhiri and gifting ceremony is held at Te Papa to mark the national museum becoming the guardian of the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt. The New Zealand quilt is made up of sixteen blocks and a small number of individual panels. Each block contains up to eight separate panels, each measuring six feet by three feet (roughly the size of a grave). Attending the ceremony were Nicki Eddy and daughter Megan. They knelt next to the quilt they had made in 1991 for Nicki's brother Robin. Nicki reflected on how Robin's nieces and nephews left painted handprints underneath his birth and death dates: "Under the 2nd May is my daughter Megan's handprint because she was born on [Robin's] eighteenth birthday, and my son Bryce is under the 20th May because [Robin] passed away on the 20th May  which was Bryce's seventeenth birthday."
RALLY FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY
A large crowd gather in Wellington's Civic Square to march to Parliament in support of marriage equality. Joseph Habgood, co-founder of LegaliseLove tells the crowd, "We can all march today in the warm glow of knowledge that New Zealand is with us. The vast majority agree that love is love." Another group that supported marriage equality was The Queer Avengers. However they also wanted to stress "that marriage equality is not the end of [the] line for LGBT rights and that struggles beyond marriage lie ahead." In a press release, Queer Avenger Sara Fraser pointed out that rainbow communities still faced many obstacles including queer youth bullying, suicide and homelessness, inadequate access to quality health care for trans people and common intimidation and violence in the streets. Fraser reiterated, "this is not the final struggle."
FORMER MP KATHERINE O'REGAN APOLOGISES
Former MP Katherine O'Regan publicly apologises for not including transgender people in the anti-discrimination measures of the Human Rights Act 1993. O'Regan had first been elected to Parliament in the 1984 general election as MP for Waipa, replacing the retiring Marilyn Waring. In the early 1990s, as Associate Minister of Health, she championed human rights legalisation that would outlaw discrimination on the grounds of, among other things, sexual orientation and having organisms in the body that might cause disease (e.g. HIV). During her presentation in 2012, O'Regan recounted a letter she had received at the time from a gay man: "I seek to be judged for who I am, for my work, and for my successes and my failures, not on the basis of prejudice."
The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013 is enacted. The legislation pass its third and final reading: 77 ayes / 44 noes.
PETER TAYLOR DIES
Internationally recognised equestrian and icon Peter Taylor dies in Auckland after stopping all treatment for both HIV and the rare infection Leishmaniasis (caught from a sandfly bite at the Barcelona Olympics). Over a fifteen-year period Taylor underwent a massive 922 doses of chemotherapy resulting in additional health complications. His infectious diseases specialist, Professor Mark Thomas reflected "Pete taught me about determination, tolerating tough life, optimism and generosity." Taylor himself said "I think it is about positive thinking, taking responsibility, and reducing any bitterness and blame in your life. You can't have negatives in your body that will feed the illness." Taylor's businesses included Urge Bar (which he co-founded in 1995), and the much-loved Surrender Dorothy and Dot's Sister.
HOUSING OF TRANSGENDER PRISONERS
Minister of Corrections Anne Tolley announced that transgender prisoners would now be housed according to the gender on their birth certificate. Transgender prisoners would also be able to apply to be moved if the gender they self-identified as was different from that on their birth certificate. At the time of the announcement, Corrections said there were nine transgender people in the prison system.
GEORGINA'S TRIBUTE EVENING
A tribute evening is held in Wellington to honour icon Georgina Beyer. Earlier in the year Beyer had been diagnosed with chronic end-stage renal failure and required dialysis four times a day. MP Louisa Wall told media that "we need to celebrate and we need to remember and we need to acknowledge and we need to support her for the work that she has done." Event organiser Jo Paku said "while we remember Georgina as the politician, as the mayor, as the performer, as the artiste, we also want to pay homage to her whakapapa as a Maori woman." The event was held at St James Cabaret, the same location where Beyer won “Miss Personality” in the Ms Wellington contest 34 years earlier. Beyer would eventually receive a kidney transplant in 2017 - a birthday gift from close friend Grant Pittams.
TONY KATAVICH DIES
Entrepreneur Tony Katavich dies. In the 1970s, well before homosexual law reform, Katavich along with his long-time partner John Kiddie and business partner Brett Sheppard established a variety of openly gay-focussed businesses. Saunas, bookshops, nightclubs, a magazine, travel agency and a mail order service all became part of the Out empire. In a time when people could lose their job, their accommodation or not receive service on the grounds of their sexual orientation, the Out empire was at the forefront of challenging the status quo. Remembering Katavich and co, publisher Jay Bennie said "Landmark morality cases were defended with tenacious vigour. Some cases hit the nation’s headlines, some were lost, but many were won and helped unpurse the nation’s lips regarding things erotic and gay."
CORRECTING A BIRTH CERTIFICATE
The third and final reading of the Sullivan Birth Registration Bill takes place in Parliament. The Bill had a specific purpose: to correct the post-adoptive birth certificate of Rowan Sullivan by including the names of both of her mothers Diane and Doreen. The family had moved to New Zealand in 1999. At that time, the couple could not marry or jointly adopt Sullivan and so only Diane could be listed on the birth certificate. However when Diane died in 2010, Doreen adopted Sullivan, resulting in Diane's name being removed. The bill’s sponsor Louisa Wall said that the legislation was by definition "very private, for Rowen, Doreen and their family ... To know that they have been empowered through the process of sharing their life story is something that this house should celebrate and be proud of." The bill passed unanimously.
FIRST GAY HIGH COURT JUDGE
Matthew Muir QC is sworn in as a High Court Judge - the first openly gay High Court Justice in New Zealand. Speaking to Express magazine, Muir said "As a gay man I would hope also to bring a sensitivity to difference and to minority interests which, were it not for the fact that I am part of such a minority myself, I may not have." At Muir's swearing in, Chief Justice Sian Elias said “This office is not a prize or a destination but a promise of vocation ... There has been a revolution in our lifetimes in the position of those who are different because of gender, or race, or sexual orientation. I do not suggest that all the barriers are down. But we have come a long way. And I think it would be wrong not to acknowledge that on this occasion. And to acknowledge that you personally played a significant role in bringing about change by advocacy in the 1980s and indeed by your own example."
JONATHAN SMITH HONOURED
Jonathan Smith is made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to people with HIV/AIDS. Smith's citation applauded his involvement in raising awareness, compassion, quality of care for and the self-esteem of people living with HIV and AIDS. Smith was the first person living with HIV to be appointed Chair of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation and was closely involved in setting up the annual Red Ribbon Day street appeal. For a decade he and husband Kevin Baker produced The Queen of the Whole Universe - A Very Queer Beauty Pageant. It became one of the largest drag shows in the world and raised over $200,000 for HIV/AIDS related charities. The last pageant was held in a sold-out Aotea Centre in 2012. It had a cast and crew of over 100 volunteers, with audience noise levels peaking over 120 decibels.
JAILED FOR ARSON
Arsonist Angelo Bitossi is jailed for eight-and-a-half years after being found guilty of starting a large fire at a self-storage depot in Kilbirnie. The fire affected over 200 storage units with an estimated combined loss of $9-10 million. One of the units contained former MP Fran Wilde's irreplaceable collection of material relating to homosexual law reform. She told media "many of the documents were unique - for example all the correspondence I received, both pro and anti." The unit also contained her dairies from the time. At a hearing in 2019, the Parole Board noted that Bitossi had been "motivated by revenge against a former friend. It was accepted that his immediate intent was to burn in only the storage locker of his former friend but it was foreseeable that the fire would spread." Bitossi was subsequently released on parole in November 2019.
PRIDE PARADE PROTEST
A protest by three people dramatically interrupts Auckland's Pride Parade. While the protest only lasted a short time, it ignited years of nationwide debate about the participation in, and continued purpose of, Pride events. The protest was in direct response to the participation of Police and the Department of Corrections in the parade. In an interview with the Counterfutures journal, one of the protestors, Emilie Rākete said "At this point, we had not yet solidified as a group known as No Pride in Prisons. In a sense, No Pride in Prisons came about as a result of our reaction to what we saw as a queer collaboration with the prison system." Collective member Sophie Morgan told the journal "Pride started as a commemoration of a riot against Police, against the Police brutality at Stonewall Inn. It’s crucial for us to be speaking back to that history." The protest in 2015 was the catalyst for some difficult conversations, further protests, boycotts and ultimately new ways of marking Pride. It also opened up a space for self-reflection. Author Phillip Patston wrote "Grappling with the discomfort. That’s our job now. That's what we need to be proud of." And in another article, activist Kassie Hartendorp said "When people act in protest - true conflicts and contradictions are revealed. Take note of where you stand."
JACK BODY HONOURED
Composer Jack Body receives the New Zealand Arts Icon award - the highest honour given out by the New Zealand Arts Foundation. The honour is limited to a living circle of twenty recipients. The medallion is then returned to the Foundation at the end of an Icon's life to be presented to a future recipient. Body received the medallion of the late artist Ralph Hotere. "I could think of no greater honour than to accept Ralph’s medallion. He was a mysterious and deeply loved friend to me" said Body during the private ceremony at Mary Potter Hospice. Body died three days later.
"IF NOT TO CHANGE THE WORLD"
"From a very young age, I've just thought activism isn't a thing I do in my spare time - it is my life and everything I do folds into that... What do we get up for in the morning if not to change the world." - activist Elizabeth Kerekere
FIRST SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT
The inaugural Same Same But Different LGBTQI+ literary festival was held in Auckland to celebrate New Zealand’s top writing talent and "the richness inherent in difference." Reflecting at the time on his own journey, founding Festival Director Peter Wells said "I have to thank the bullies [at Mt Albert Grammar School] because I became a writer, which enabled me to say on paper what I couldn't say out loud... I began to feel the enormous freedom of being able to say exactly what I wanted... Written and spoken language became my weapon."
FIRST INTERSEX WORKSHOP
The first ever intersex workshop is held in New Zealand at an ILGA regional conference in Wellington. Co-facilitator Mani Bruce Mitchell described intersex as "the rainbow within the rainbow." In a recent interview with the Listener magazine, Mitchell recollected a story about how in some communities, elders would say that an intersex child was taonga (a treasure) and had been sent by the gods to teach us something. Mitchell reflected that if Europeans could learn from this, and hold this powerful concept, how transformative that would be.
HUHANA HICKEY RECOGNISED
The inaugural Matariki Awards take place at Auckland's War Memorial Museum, with Dr Huhana Hickey being named as a finalist for the Te Tupu-a-Rangi Award for Health and Science. All of the awards are named after the stars of Matariki. Co-host Stacey Morrison tells the audience that it was a time to celebrate "those of us who shine like the stars of Matariki and provide a beacon, an inspiration for us all." On being nominated for her extraordinary mahi, Hickey, a highly respected disability advocate and lawyer said "It is a passion, my life, my journey, shared by those who are also a part of that journey." Hickey is currently (2022) taking part in the Abuse in Care inquiry. She recently told the NZ Herald that she had been given up by forced adoption at 3 days old. A major step in reclaiming her whakapapa was getting her moko kauae: "This was done for me and my mokopuna so they know who they are and where they are from, it was to bring an end to the lies and secrets, and to say to the Crown: 'You may deny my whakapapa but my tipuna know me'."
30TH HUI TAKATAAPUI
Hui Takataapui celebrated its 30th anniversary. The first hui took place in 1986 and was in response to a homophobic backlash experienced by some within Maori communities during homosexual law reform and the early years of AIDS. Commenting before the 2016 hui, Jordon Harris from the New Zealand AIDS Foundation said "We have emerged from the darkness of oppression and from the efforts of the early brave survivors paving the way, to standing with hope and pride on the Marae."
The daily news and feature website GayNZ.com closes. For just over 16 years the website, led by publishers Jay Bennie and Neil Gibb, reported on local and international news and gave a platform for community members to express their opinions and creative talents. Signalling its impending closure, the editors reflected, "GayNZ.com grew out of a challenge in another time of great change. In 2001 the post-law reform age was combining with the start of the digital revolution and we rose up to tackle the challenge." During its time, the website published over 18,000 articles - many of which remain available via a number of online archives. (GayNZ.com has subsequently been reborn)
AARON FLEMING HONOURED
Athlete and change-maker Aaron Fleming was presented with a Blake Leader Award from the Sir Peter Blake Trust. As a teenager, Fleming's lung had collapsed four times. His surgeon told him that he would not be able to physically exert himself ever again. Using this as motivation, Fleming took on the sport of Ironman, completing his first event just five years later. Fleming came out in 2007, and along with athletes Louisa Wall, Blake Skjellerup and Robbie Manson, are Proud to Play NZ Ambassadors - promoting inclusive sports and recreations throughout the country.
PROMISED LAND TRANSLATED
Authors Chaz Harris and Adam Reynolds released a Te Reo Maori translation of their internationally acclaimed children’s book Promised Land. Whenua Taurangi was translated by Te Ama-Rere Tai Rangihuna and Te Ara-Ripeka Rangihuna. Harris told media that they've "had a lot of requests from parents telling us they enjoy reading in Te Reo with their kids." The love story was originally produced with the help of a crowd funding campaign. Harris and Reynolds wrote "During our childhoods and teen years, we had no role models or stories that represented the notion that 'happily ever after' could even exist if you're gay. As such, we felt there should be more stories like that, and so we wrote one together." Reviewing the book, Demi Cox wrote "Promised Land is a book that warms the heart. It instils a sense of faith that a world of acceptance is possible and not so far away."
ADVOCATING FOR INCLUSIVITY
Yachtsman Cory McLennan is profiled in the media advocating for more inclusivity in sport. McLennan had made history in 2014 when he became the youngest person to complete the Solo Trans-Tasman yacht race. However he kept his sexuality hidden, fearing that it would negatively affect sporting opportunities, "I was scared that someone would find out, scared of what would happen to me... It's not easy to come out - it means putting myself out there and conquering my own fear." McLennan is still sailing and inspiring people. His website opens with a quote from Alain Gerbault, "Adventure means risking something, and it is only when we are doing that, that we know what a splendid thing life is and how well it can be lived."
"WE ARE SORRY"
Parliament apologised for the hurt and stigma caused by the historic criminalisation of consensual homosexual activity. Justice Minister Amy Adams said "Today we are putting on the record that this house deeply regrets the hurt and stigma suffered by the many hundreds of New Zealand men who were turned into criminals by a law that was profoundly wrong, and for that, we are sorry."
PASTOR'S HATE SPEECH
During a sermon broadcast from the Westcity Bible Bapist Church in Auckland, Pastor Logan Robertson states he wasn't against homosexuals getting married "as long as a bullet goes through their head the moment they kiss."
10TH NATIONAL DAY OF SILENCE
The 10th National Day of Silence is held throughout New Zealand. The day involved students undertaking a form of silence to draw attention to the silencing effect of homophobic, biphobic, transphobic harassment in schools. The first National Day of Silence was held at Nayland College, Nelson in 2007.
NO CRIMINAL OFFENCE
Police tell media that Pastor Logan Robertson committed no criminal offence with his latest outpouring of hate speech. In a sermon distributed on the Internet in July, Robertson from the Westcity Bible Baptist Church in Avondale said "I'm not against [homosexuals] getting married as long as a bullet goes through their head the moment they kiss... that's what should happen." In 2014 Robertson made news headlines after telling a gay author "I pray that you will commit suicide." Robertson subsequently moved to Australia, but was deported in 2018 following alleged harassment of Muslims. He then moved to the Philippines and, as recently as March 2019, was preaching to high-school students.
A VERY RAINBOW PARLIAMENT
The General Election sees the return to Parliament of at least five rainbow politicians: Louisa Wall, Grant Robertson, Meka Whaitiri, Jan Logie and Chris Finlayson. The election also saw two new rainbow Members of Parliament - broadcaster Tamati Coffee and Kiritapu Allan. Allan had studied law and politics, and had interned under then Prime Minister Helen Clark. Having openly out Members was in stark contrast to the mid-1970s when Carmen Rupe suggested controversially that there were some closeted gay and bisexual MPs. She later unreservedly apologised to Parliament's Privileges Committee for the statements that had, in their view, "lessen[ed] the esteem in which Parliament is held."
FIRST WEIGHTLIFTING MEDALS
Trail-blazing athlete Laurel Hubbard makes history by winning two silver medals at the Weightlifting World Championships in California, USA. No New Zealand lifter had ever before won a world championship medal. But the firsts didn't stop there. In June 2021 Hubbard became the first openly transgender athlete to be selected to compete in weightlifting at the Olympic Games. NZ Olympic Committee chief executive Kereyn Smith told media "As the New Zealand team, we have a strong culture of manaaki and inclusion and respect for all." Speaking after the competition, Hubbard said “I think the world is changing and there are opportunities for people to be out in the world and do things just as any other person would do... Life is difficult, there are disappointments ... but if you just keep pressing on it does get better."
VIGIL FOR ZENA
The outside of the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington is lit in the colours of the trans flag – light blue, pink and white - in memory of Zena Campbell who died a month earlier. The lighting up of the MFC followed a vigil for Campbell, organised by former classmate and transgender advocate Bella Simpson. Simpson spoke at the vigil about the average life expectancy of trans women - 41 years. Campbell's partner was subsequently accused of murder, but the judge dismissed the charge on the day the High Court trial was due to start. A pathologist said the death was "likely due to methadone and alcohol toxicity, or neck compression or some combination of the two."
HISTORIC HOMOSEXUAL CONVICTIONS
The second reading of a bill that would allow for the wiping of historic homosexual convictions took place in Parliament. The legislation followed Wiremu Demchick's 2014 petition and a similar law in the United Kingdom - informally called the Alan Turing law. Prior to homosexual law reform in 1986, men could be imprisoned for up to 7 years for consensual homosexual activity. In 2017 Justice Minster Amy Adams introduced the legislation. At every stage of the Bill's journey, MPs voted unanimously in favour of it. In 2019, the family of the late Charles Aberhart used the new law to successfully have his 1963 conviction for "indecent assault" (i.e. consensual sex) wiped. Sadly, shortly after his release from prison, Aberhart was brutally killed by a group of teenage boys looking to “belt up a queer” in Christchurch in January 1964.
WIPING HISTORIC CONVICTIONS
The Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Act 2018 is enacted.
RUGBY AND RELIGION
Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle tells media that player Israel Folau, according to her, acknowledged he could have "put a positive spin" on his earlier statement that gay people would go to "HELL .. unless they repent of their sins and turn to God." Castle described Folau as a "strong role model" and suggested that he could have made his comment in a more respectful way. Folau later told media that he had "no phobia towards anyone" but refused to back down on his beliefs.
FLAGS FLYING AT PARLIAMENT - A WORLD FIRST
A world first: the transgender, bisexual, intersex and rainbow flags were flown together for the very first time on the forecourt of Parliament. The flags flew to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). They flew again at Parliament on 17 March 2019. Originally flown to mark the beginning of the ILGA World Conference in Wellington, the flags flew at half-mast to also mourn and pay respect to the victims of the Christchurch mosque massacres two days earlier.
6-MONTHLY RAINBOW HUI
The Human Rights Commission announces that it would facilitate ongoing 6-monthly hui between Rainbow communities and the Rainbow NZ Parliamentary Network. Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue said that the regular events would provide "a space for the community's voices to be heard by Rainbow leaders in Parliament." The Commission hadn't always been so progressive. In 1981, when discrimination based on sexuality was still legal and homosexual acts illegal, the Commission issued a report saying that homosexuals did not qualify for protection as an oppressed group: "Human rights are not simply whatever people might claim as rights for themselves or others." Chief Human Rights Commissioner Pat Downey was quoted in the media as saying, "I do not agree that all discrimination should be made unlawful." The Commission went on to suggest that the Crimes Act relating to homosexual activity could be reframed "so as to make no distinctions between males and females" - effectively criminalising lesbian activity too (this recommendation wasn’t taken up by the Government).
RAINBOW CROSSING LAUNCHES
New Zealand's second rainbow pedestrian crossing is launched in Wellington (the first crossing being in Queenstown). The crossing's launch was timed to mark the birthday of the late Carmen Rupe. The Transport Authority had earlier opposed the rainbow crossing saying that there was "a high risk of confusion and a dazzling and distracting effect" and the police said that the crossing posed "risks of death and serious injury for road users." However the crossing went ahead, painted in part by Mayor Justin Lester, who told media that he was glad not to be arrested in the process. Wellington City Council was quick to point out that the rainbow crossing was not an official zebra crossing, saying it was simply an "art installation placed on the street."
"IN THIS PLACE..."
"In this place all are welcome, the tall, the thin, the shy and the out there. In this place all are accepted, cis and trans, gay, lesbian, straight and bisexual. In this place all are loved simply because we are all human beings. In this place all are honoured, for the struggle between commemoration and celebration goes on for all of us, all of the time." - the congregation of St Andrews on the Terrace, led by Rev Dr Susan Jones
BDMRR BILL DEFERRED
Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced that the Government would defer the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill. Among other things, the legislation would have allowed for a person to self-declare their gender rather than having to go through the Family Court. However the self-identification clauses had been added by the Select Committee after public submissions had closed. Martin told media that deferring the bill would "allow for more comprehensive consideration of the legal implications of this issue and formal public consultation." Responding to the announcement, Ahi Wi-Hongi from Gender Minorities Aotearoa said "It is over 11 years since the Human Rights Commission's Transgender Inquiry called for a simpler process [...] All human beings deserve dignity and a fair chance at life. But at the moment, trans people can’t even get identification documents."
After thirty-five years, one of New Zealand's longest running access radio shows - the Lesbian Community Radio Programme - changed its name to QUILTED BANANAS. The acronym stands for Queer, Intersectional, Intersex, Lesbian, Takataapui, Trans, Enby (non-binary), Diverse, Bisexual, Asexual, and "Nanas - because a lot of us also identify as nanas." Run by a collective, the radio show began in October 1984 and has broadcast weekly ever since. Broadcaster Linda Evans remembers "[The programme] became extremely important. Isolated lesbian groups and individuals could therefore keep in touch via the programme. One talkback session revealed a lesbian who had 'listened for years' before she dared to make contact with others." The name shift in 2019 was a celebration of people's diverse identities. The collective's Facebook page noted that the name was "celebrating all the slippery overlaps these communities can have, and how finding your identity within them can be as messy - but also as fun."
FLAGS FLY AT HALF MAST
The Transgender, Intersex, Bisexual and Rainbow flags were flown at half-mast on the forecourt of Parliament. Originally the flags were to be flown to mark the opening of the ILGA World Conference. However they, along with the New Zealand flag, were lowered to half-mast in mourning for the victims of the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre terror attacks in Christchurch three days earlier. New Zealand hadn't experienced this scale of terror attack before, with 51 people killed and 49 injured. Subsequently a number of events throughout the country were either cancelled or postponed for fear of similar attacks - particularly against Muslim, Jewish and rainbow communities.
CHRISTCHURCH BOYS' PRAISED
Media report the inspiring story of the Christchurch Boys' High School rowing team who rallied around their coxswain after he had been subjected to homophobic bullying earlier in the season. Before the final race at the Maadi Cup regatta on Lake Karapiro, the team contacted the other seven crews who all taped their oar handles with rainbow tape in support of the rower. Former New Zealand Olympic rower Robbie Manson, who came out publicly in 2014, posted on social media "I'm so proud of... the Chch Boys team for showing the kind of courage and leadership to create this change that is making everyone feel like they are welcome and they belong." The day was made more historic with Christchurch Boys' winning their first Maadi Cup national title.
BRIAN TAMAKI APOLOGISES
Destiny Church leader Bishop Brian Tamaki apologises to the rainbow community during the Love is Greater Than Hate event. Media reported Tamaki as saying "It has never been my intent to cause hurt or harm." This may have been, in part, referencing his 2004 nationwide speaking tour which set out to expose "a government gone evil [and] a radical homosexual agenda", or possibly when he rallied against "gaypower" in 2015, or when he reflected on earthquakes and other natural disasters in 2016, telling followers that the earth "convulses under the weight of certain human sin." Referring to the early 2000s and the anti-civil union march Enough is Enough, Tamaki rather ambiguously said that if he had another chance "we'd do some things differently."
TRANSGENDER ORAL HISTORIES
The Ministry for Culture and Heritage announces that oral historian Caren Wilton had been given an award to record interviews with people who were part of New Zealand's transgender community from the 1970s to today. Wilton recorded long-form interviews with people talking about how things had changed over the last five decades. One interviewee talked about the Wellington scene in the early 1980s and winning Miss Queen of Queens, another talked about being married and transitioning later in life, and members of a family with two transgender children talked about growing up in the 2000s. The interviews have subsequently been deposited with the Alexander Turnbull Library. Since 1990, the New Zealand Oral History Awards have given over $2 million to more than 400 community groups and individuals to record histories relating to New Zealand and the South Pacific.
SHOULDER LENGTH HAIR BREACH
A Year 9 student at Auckland Grammer School is stood down because their shoulder length hair breached school rules. Victoria Trow from RainbowYouth told stuff.co.nz that the hair rule could be particularly harmful for trans and gender-diverse students or those questioning their gender. Trow said it perpetuated a culture where boys and men were "punished and ridiculed for displaying any feminine traits." The student told media that they planned to take the school to court over the decision. A year earlier, Auckland Grammer had gained the Rainbow Tick – a certification mark that allowed an organisation to show the world that they were "progressive, inclusive and dynamic." As of January 2021, AGS rules still stated that a student’s hair should be "short enough to ensure it does not touch his shirt collar... and should not be long enough to be tied up in any form."
TRANS DAY OF REMEMBRANCE
St Andrew's on the Terrace in Wellington marks the 20th anniversary of Transgender Day of Remembrance with a special service. It began with the congregation joining with the Rev Dr Susan Jones in affirming "All human beings are due unconditional love, all humankind, all orientations, all genders. All people are welcome here." Recently the church spoke in support of legislation that would ban conversion 'therapy.' Speaking about people undergoing conversion practices within religious groups, Fionnaigh McKenzie told the Select Committee "Consent is not a defence. These practices occur in the context of massive power imbalances, misinformation and manipulation within a homophobic, biphobic and transphobic environment which leads people into shame and fear and desperation. People are wanting to escape pain but not able to see in the midst of it, that the pain is caused by their environment not by who they are."
TRANS PAST, TRANS PRESENT
The project Trans Past, Trans Present is launched at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa to mark International Transgender Day of Remembrance (20 November). The collaboration between the museum and community groups encouraged trans people to submit objects of personal significance. The taonga were photographed and a digital record deposited into the national collection. "What emerged was a quirky collection that is a testament to the diversity of trans experiences, and which disrupts established (and cis-written) narratives about trans lives" wrote project co-ordinator Will Hansen. From a pounamu grounding stone, to an envelope addressed to "Mr", to a hand-poked tattoo on a participant's leg - "a symbol of me being openly trans, even when I could 'pass' and fly under the radar, for those who can’t be."
FIRST CASE OF COVID-19
March saw a dramatic change in how people lived their lives, socialised and conducted business. The first case of the COVID-19 virus is confirmed in New Zealand in late February and by 11 March the World Health Organisation had declared a global pandemic. Remarkably just four days before that Wellington held its Pride parade. It was attended by tens-of-thousands of people who partied without social distancing or face masks. However the reality of the pandemic quickly set in, and within two weeks New Zealand’s borders were closed and the country was preparing to enter a nationwide lockdown. In Wellington the sex-on-site venue Checkmate closed indefinitely and the New Zealand AIDS Foundation began advocating consensual phone sex, webcam sex and masturbating as alternatives to casual sex.
FIRST ONLINE GLOBAL PRIDE
Over five hundred Pride organisations from around the world come together to create a 24-hour Global Pride online event. The virtual Pride was born after COVID-19 pandemic restrictions forced the cancellation of many physical gatherings. Global Pride featured a livestream of music, performances and messages of support. Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern represented New Zealand. Ardern told the international audience that Pride was about "recognizing and supporting inclusivity, unity and a sense of community. For me, Pride is recognition of all the work that has been achieved and all the work that is left to do. And Pride can also change people's lives. It's an opportunity for people to meet their role models and see people celebrating their pride."
FIRST SCHOOL'S PRIDE WEEK
The first ever National Schools' Pride Week takes place throughout New Zealand. Over one hundred schools took part, including a number of primary and intermediate schools. The week-long celebrations were co-ordinated by the national youth charity InsideOut. They told schools "We hope that by celebrating and affirming rainbow identities through our pride campaign we can help reduce the experiences of bullying and distress for our rainbow rangatahi." Tabby Besley, managing director of InsideOUT, said "For many young people it could be the first time they've heard their identities talked about in a positive light... It sends a clear message to all students that diversity is normal, it's something to be proud of." Each day had a different theme: education, inclusion, accessibility, whakapapa and rainbow history and celebration/pride.
SALVATION ARMY OPPOSES CONVERSION
The Salvation Army (New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa Territory) issues a set of guidelines relating to the Army's stance on gay conversion practices, sexuality and gender identity. The Army affirmed their opposition to any form of gay conversion practices and stated "Salvationists will continue to oppose vilification of, or discrimination against, anyone on the grounds of sexuality or gender. This includes attempts to change another person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and includes actions which deny a person's sexual orientation or gender identity." The statement was in stark contrast to the Army’s strident opposition to homosexual law reform in the mid 1980s, when Colonel Donald Campbell told Salvationists that the moral decay of civilisation was proceeding unchecked and that it was in many ways a greater threat than that of nuclear destruction.
GAYEST PARLIAMENT IN HISTORY
New Zealand made international news headlines when, as Out magazine put it, "New Zealand Elected the Gayest Parliament in History." The outcome of the General Election saw thirteen Members of Parliament who openly identified as being part of rainbow communities – equating to almost 11% of all MPs. The previous record was held by the United Kingdom with 7%. The rainbow MPs came from just two of the parties in Parliament - the Greens and Labour. Newly elected Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere told media that there was still a long way to go in creating a representative and diverse House of Representatives. Kerekere noted that all of the current MPs were cisgender, adding "we still have to go a long way towards representation for our trans, intersex and non-binary whanau."
FIRST RAINBOW DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER
Following the 2020 General Election, Minister of Finance Grant Robertson is appointed Deputy Prime Minister. Robertson became an MP in 2008, telling Parliament in his inaugural speech "I am proud and comfortable with who I am. Being gay is part of who I am, just as is being a former diplomat, a fan of the mighty Wellington Lions, and a fan of New Zealand music and New Zealand literature." Robertson quickly rose up the political ranks. On his appointment as Deputy Prime Minister, Robertson told media "It's important for young people in the rainbow community to know that their sexuality is no barrier to them progressing."
The Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act unanimously passes its third and final reading. It is enacted on 16 December 2021.
"I WILL NOT LISTEN POLITELY..."
"I will not listen politely to hate." - MP Deborah Russell reflecting on being on the public hearings for the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration legislation
"IT IS A HUMAN RIGHT..."
"It is a human right to be who you are." - Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon during the opening of Gisborne's Rainbow Pride crossing.
CONVERSION PRACTICES OUTLAWED
The Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Act 2021 passes its third and final reading on 15 February 2022 and is enacted on the 19 February 2022.