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Timeline: 1960s

21 February 1960

  • Poet Walter D'Arcy Cresswell dies (London, United Kingdom). Cresswell dies of accidental gas poisioning. Links: Te Ara,

10 September 1960

  • Plastic surgeon Harold Gillies dies (London, United Kingdom). Gillies is widely considered the father of plastic surgery and gender-reassignment surgery. Link: Wikipedia

31 October 1960


  • A Way of Love (1959) by James Courage is banned (New Zealand). The book is censored on "grounds of indecency, and because it lacked redeeming literary merit". It is banned under the censorship provisions in place prior to the setting up of the Indecent Publications Tribunal in 1964. Links: Te Ara, WorldCat


  • The Dorian Society is formed (Wellington). The Society is the first documented organisation for homosexual men in New Zealand. Link: Wikipedia
  • Two men are discharged without conviction for indecent acts (New Zealand). The Magistrate comments that the law "is soon to change". Police prosecutors appeal, and the decision is overturned


  • The Dorian Society forms a legal subcommittee to work towards homosexual law reform (New Zealand)

5 October 1963

  • Writer James Courage dies (London, United Kingdom). Link: Te Ara


  • The Purple Onion opens (Wellington). Pasi Daniels (a.k.a. Pasi Tunupopo) returns to Wellington after performing at Les Girls and the Purple Onion in Sydney to open Wellington's first drag revue club. Link: Stuff
  • Writer Paula Boock is born (New Zealand). Link: Wikipedia

23 January 1964

  • Charles Aberhart is beaten to death by a group of teenagers in Hagley Park (Christchurch)

11 May 1964

  • The six teenagers accused of killing Charles Aberhart are all acquitted by a jury (Christchurch). Those acquitted were Zane Leslie McDonald, Anthony Dennis O'Connor, Frank Leicester Reynolds, Raymond Clive Neither, Brian Francis Johns and Roger Malcolm Williams. Links: Spinoff,

12 August 1965

  • Tuini Moetu Haangu Ngawai dies (New Zealand). Ngawai was a prolific Ngati Porou songwriter, composer, teacher and shearer who had close relationships with women. One of Ngawai's most famous songs Arohaina mai became the unofficial hymn of the Maori Battalion. Link: Te Ara

9 January 1966

  • Carmen Rupe is arrested with behaving in an offensive manner in a public place (Auckland). The offensive manner was because Carmen was wearing female clothing: a black frock, black silk stockings and high-heeled shoes. "His face was made up with cosmetics and his hair was dressed in a feminine style.". Links: WorldCat, Google Books

21 January 1966

  • Television report: artist Theo Schoon talks about the gourd art (New Zealand). Ref TZP115473. Link: TVNZ

24 January 1966

  • Carmen Rupe appears in court charged with behaving in an offensive manner (Auckland). The charge relates to Rupe dressing in female clothing in public. Rupe challenges the charge. Links: WorldCat, Google Books

26 January 1966

  • Justice McCarthy dismisses the case against Carmen Rupe (Auckland). Justice McCarthy's decision notes that he is "quite unable to find anything in our law which says that it is unlawful for a male to attire himself in female clothing.". Links: WorldCat, Google Books

November 1966

  • Raewyn Petley is found dead in her bed with a deep wound to her neck (New Zealand). Doreen Ellen Davis is charged with her murder


  • Television news report: changing morality standards (New Zealand). Ref TZP46386. Link: TVNZ

March 1967

  • Doreen Ellen Davis is found not guilty of murdering Raewyn Petley (New Zealand). Davis' defence argued that she had been "befriended by a woman outwardly kind and sympathetic but inwardly a hunting lesbian"

11 April 1967

  • Stanley Waipouri is born (Auckland region). Waipouri was killed in Palmerston North in 2006. Link:

17 April 1967

  • A public meeting endorses the formation of the Wolfenden Association (Wellington). The Association is soon renamed the New Zealand Homosexual Law Reform Society. Links: Wikipedia, LAGANZ

26 June 1967

  • Radio: Rev Godfrey Wilson broadcasts a nationwide sermon reflecting on homosexuality (New Zealand). The Reverend broadcasts from St Peter's Anglican church in Willis Street, Wellington. The anti-discrimination sermon is possibly the first of its kind to be heard in New Zealand. Link:

July 1967

  • Lord Cobham declines an invitation to be patron of the Wolfenden Association (New Zealand). Lord Cobham replied that "these people are mentally sick."

28 July 1967

  • The Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalises homosexual acts in England and Wales (United Kingdom). The age of consent is set at 21


  • Television news report: a Katherine Mansfield memorial is pulled down to make way for a new motorway (Wellington). Ref TZP107495. Link: TVNZ
  • Writer and musician Hinemoana Baker is born (New Zealand)

29 February 1968

8 October 1968

  • A petition signed by 75 prominent New Zealanders calling for homosexual law reform is presented to parliament (New Zealand). The petition is presented to parliament by Labour MP A.H. Nordmeyer on behalf of the New Zealand Homosexual Law Reform Society

8 November 1968

  • Parliament's Petitions Committee reports back on the Homosexual Law Reform petition (New Zealand). Link: Hansard
  • Television news report: Parliament's Petitions Committee reports back on the Homosexual Law Reform petition (New Zealand). The Petitions Committee has no recommendation to make on the petition when it is returned to the House. MPs, by way of a voice vote, accept the committee's report. NZBC news, ref TZP86826. This item has been digitised and an online viewing copy can be requested from the archive. Links: Nga Taonga Sound & Vision (1), Nga Taonga Sound & Vision (2)


  • Aquarius Inc. is formed (Auckland). The social group is established in the late 1960s (exact date unknown)
  • Television feature: the life of Katherine Mansfield (New Zealand). Ref TZP142219. Link: TVNZ
  • Television news report: a look at the new Katherine Mansfield memorial (Wellington). Ref: TZP107494. Link: TVNZ

28 June 1969

  • The Stonewall riots take place (New York, United States of America). Link: Wikipedia

14 September 1969

  • Television feature: playwright and actor Bruce Mason (New Zealand). Ref TZP76726. Link: TVNZ