Ngā pitopito korero

National/multiple centres
Promoting takatāpui health
More than just LGBT
Topp Country returns
Auckland concert celebrates and records 80s music
Auckland Pride highlights
Lesbian feminist heritage exhibition in Auckland
Wellington Pride Festival
Wellington wants dancers
Calling LGBTQI* artists for Dunedin Pride
Wild Women Walking picnic pics

Promoting takatāpui health

A national survey and interviews with Takatāpui* start this week in a major three-year research project aimed at improving health services for Takatāpui and Māori LGBTQI people.

HP Leonie PihamaThe Honour Project Aotearoa is run by an all-Takatāpui team of researchers, led by Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, left, Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato, and Alison Green, below, Chief Executive of national health promotion organisation Te Whāriki Takapou.

Leonie affiliates to Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Māhanga and Ngā Māhanga a Tairi, and Alison to Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāti Pūkenga. The project is funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

HP Alison GreenThe Aotearoa project builds on a US study that studied the health and wellness of Two-Spirit or Native American LGBTQI people. In Aotearoa, it will survey up to 600 Takatāpui with a wide range of ages, sexual and gender identities, living all over the country.

The project’s holistic approach to health will include questions about how rangatiratanga (chiefly authority), wairuatanga (spirituality), whakapapa (genealogy) and other distinctly Māori values and practices affect wellness.

To ensure the survey is widely accessible, as well as being available on Te Kotahi and Te Whāriki Takapou websites and distributed through email networks, paper-based versions will be distributed for people without online access, and assisted versions where researchers visit participants.

Some survey questions have enough similarity to enable results to be compared with the results of the US project, and previous national NZ Sexual Health and Health Behaviours surveys, Alison says.

Te Kotahi logoThe project also includes in-depth interviews with up to 40 Takatāpui people about their health and experience of health services, and some of those people will be asked to tell their stories on video which will go online later in the project.

Alison says the researchers have met with health funders and policy-makers about the project and “areas we’d like to work on with them; it’s really important to do that early on”.

The project will supply results to Takatāpui communities and networks, the Ministries of Health, Education, Youth, Social and Māori Development, district health boards and the professional bodies of GPs, nurses and other health occupations.

Te Whariki logo“If we’d had these conversations a year ago we suspect we would have heard a lot of ifs and buts, because of the previous government’s market-driven ‘social investment’ approach to health,” she says. “That assumed that everyone is equally placed to access health services, and if they don’t it’s their choice and not a responsibility of government.”

She welcomes the new government’s “strong policy focus” on Rainbow communities. “We want to ensure that government programmes contribute to Takatāpui health and wellbeing as much as to the wellbeing of non-Takatāpui members,” says Alison.

She says that mainstream “one-size-fits-all health services don’t suit Māori or Takatāpui, and the project will advocate for services that do.

See Te Kotahi and Te Whāriki Takapou websites; email Leonie on and Alison on

* A term that nowadays is used to refer to Māori LGBTQI people.

Jenny Rankine

More than just LGBT

New videos and posters from Wellington-based national youth organisation InsideOUT explores marginalised identities beyond the acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

More than FourMore Than Four will be launched at 6pm on Monday 12, at the Auckland Central City Library as part of the Auckland Pride Festival, and at 2pm on Sunday March 4, in the Mezzanine Room of the Wellington City Library as part of Wellington Pride. Drinks and nibbles will be provided and entry is by koha.

More Than Four is a series of short videos featuring more than 30 young Rainbow people who are asexual, aromantic, intersex, non-binary, pansexual, takatāpui, fa’afafine, akava’ine, queer parents, transgender, bisexual, including those who identify as both Māori, Pasifika, Asian, and queer.

The videos and posters supports InsideOUT’s goal for all young people of minority sexualities, genders and sex characteristics in Aotearoa New Zealand to have a sense of belonging and safety in their schools and communities.

Check out the trailer on InsideOUT’s YouTube channel, and see their Facebook page for more screenings around the country. JR

Topp Country returns

Topp CountryLesbians return to prime time for the third and last series of Topp Country from Thursday 8, at 8pm on TV1, with more inspiring rural stories.

The Toppies meet more passionate food producers, home cooks and lovers of life, sharing laughter in kitchens and backyards.

In this series, posh characters Prue and Dilly, above, serve up some Posh Nosh, while rural blokes Ken and Ken close each episode with a poem celebrating what it means to be a Kiwi.

The series is produced by Arani Cuthbert of Diva Productions, and directed by Felicity Morgan-Rhind. JR

Celebrating and recording 80s music

A one-of-a-kind concert in the Auckland Pride Festival will celebrate the overwhelmingly lesbian 80s women’s music scene, and hopefully lead to a documentary.

reunionlowresThe concert on Friday 9 at the Auckland Girls’ Grammar Dorothy Winstone Centre will be filmed by Diva Productions, and features the Topp Twins; Jan Hellreigel and Cassandra’s Ears; Charlotte Yates; Jyoshna and Kim Wesney from Turiiya; Clare O’Leary, Donna Savage, Sarni Darragh and Dianne Civil from Vibraslaps; Teresa Trull and Jess Hawk Oakenstar from the USA; Di McMillan and Gloria Hildred; Hilary King and Red Beryl; Jan Eggleton; Carolyn O’Neill (of Blue Marbles); Nettie Bird (of the Guile, Siren and the Dolphins); and Amanda Elvin and Libby Bird as the Elastic Band.

Miriam Saphira, founder of the Charlotte Museum of lesbian culture, and Di McMillan are collaborating on a foyer display about 80s’s women’s music at the venue. A merchandise table will stock CDs by Jess Hawk Oakenstar, the Topp Twins, Jan Hellriegel, Charlotte Yates and other performers.

Arani Cuthbert is organising the concert and funding the filming of the concert herself, and hopes to cut a trailer from the footage for applications for NZ Film Commission and television funding.

“For all of us who came out in the 80s, the women’s music community was really important; it provided community – and girlfriends,” she laughs.

Guile“Most of the 80s musicians were a bit older than me, and really helped me come out as a lesbian and an activist. They were very inspiring,” says Arani. “The 80s music scene was really important part of the lesbian rights story” as well as being enmeshed with activism for the rights of women, Māori, working class people and environmental causes.

Pictured above are The Guile in 1989: Mo Moss, left, Betty Sio, Nettie Bird (Kinmont), Sarni Darragh and Karin Kahurangi, who won a $10,000 second prize in the Rheineck Rock Awards ahead of 119 bands.

Arani remembers stumbling onto a fundraising concert for the Out of the corners album in a central Auckland café. “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I thought these are my people, this is my culture.”

WebWomenThe 1982 album was the first New Zealand to be written, performed and produced by women. This image from the album cover includes Jools Topp, left, Mahinarangi Tocker (standing), Hattie St John, Clare Bear, Lynda Topp, Hilary King, Mereana Pitman, Di Cadwallader (back), Tracy Huirama, and Jess Hawk Oakenstar. The album also featured Val Murphy. Arani says the “amazing album still holds up, with lots of beautiful songs”.

Only a few of the 80s band members and singer-songwriters are still performing professionally. “It’s a big ask for many of these women to rehearse and put themselves out there again,” says Arani.

The idea for the concert came from Di McMillan, who was turning 60 and as a present wanted for all the women she’d played music with to come together for a concert. Says Arani: “So I thought why not film it and get interviews?”

MahinarangiTockerMHF“Some, like Mahinaranga Tocker (left), have died too young, and others, like Clare Bear of Red Beryl, were unable to come because they aren’t well – we’re getting on. If we don’t document this, no one will.”

Arani noticed gaps in the recent exhibition Volume: Making Music in Aotearoa at the Auckland Museum. “There were no women of the 80s apart from the Topp Twins. We need to recapture our history and store it in a way that people can find.”

“There are a few private videos of bands like Red Beryl, and some music videos by the Dolphins, the Blue Marbles, Freudian Slips and the Guile,” Arani says. The rights for footage of the big Mangawhai Women’s Music Festival in 1987 are contested; “it’s locked up in Wellington where no one can look at it. If I get funding I’ll have the time to sort out permissions.”
Jenny R

Auckland Pride highlights

First off is the opening of the Pulse art exhibition at Garnet Station’s Tiny Theatre in Westmere, from 5pm on Thursday 1. The show by Beth Hudson, Fran Marno, Cath Head, Sue Vincent, Maureen Jaggard and Nadia Gush runs until Wednesday 14. Art lovers can also check out Katie Blundell’s work at her gallery and studio.

The 2018 Festival officially opens with a peaceful Auckland Pride Dawn Ceremony in Western Park on Friday 2, followed by the Auckland Pride Gala that night.

AP GalaHosted by Rainbow MPs Louisa Wall and Tamati Coffey and directed by Jason Te Mete at Q Theatre, the Gala showcases a selection of performances from full-length works in the Festival, including poet Courtney Sina Meredith, Ellie Lim and Jodi Pringle of The LnP Project, cirque and burlesque from the Red Room Cabaret, talent from Legacy Project 5, and many others.

Theatre events to watch out for include the wonderfully named Fala Muncher, below, referring to “the act of a female of Pacific descent partaking in the licking and eating of another woman’s Fala”. The play enters the world of four brave gay Pacific women, featuring Lyncia Muller, Casisse Utah, Vaiari Ngaromoana Irirangi and Cassandra de la Croix. It runs from Tuesday 13 to Saturday 17 at the Basement Studio Theatre. Book through iTicket.

AP FalaAnother unique theatre event is Random Shagger, a one-woman show written and performed by Andrea Kelland, directed by expat writer and comedian Deb Filler, with live music by Hilz King.

It tells the story of Andrea’s coming out as a solo mother with a history of bent biological family members, including a great-aunt who enjoyed a WWI relationship with a lonely widow. Random Shagger runs at Garnet Station Tiny Theatre from Saturday 3 to Sunday 11.

Note, the Drag Kings event – King Hits! –  in the printed programme has been postponed. There will now be a social event in March and further performances are being planned; visit the Facebook event page for details.

Lovers of words will enjoy the same same but different festival featuring a raft of lesbian and queer female writers, from Friday 9 to Saturday 10. It starts with a free Poetry Speakeasy on Wednesday 7 from 6.30-9pm at the Leys Institute Library, 20 St Marys Rd, Ponsonby, and there’s also a free queer zine workshop on Friday 9. Download the programme from the website.

AP L&PMusically, as well as the unique Women’s Music 80s Reunion Concert described above, GALS sing with pride in a free concert on Sunday 4 from 3pm at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. See the Facebook event page. Jodie Pringle, left, and Ellie Lim also perform as the The LnP Project on Wednesday 7 from 7pm at the Q Theatre. Tickets $25 + booking fees, details on Facebook event page.

The big women’s party is the Lick Auckland LOVE CLUB from 10pm on Saturday 17 at Neck of the Woods, 155B Karangahape Rd. $10 before 11pm, $15 after 11pm.

Film goers will find something to love in the Takatapui film showcase on Sunday 4 from 11am-6pm at the Academy Cinemas in 44 Lorne St. See the Facebook event page.

Those who like fast, wet women will want to see, or even take part in, the TAMS Fun Swim Competition run by the Auckland LGBT swim team on Saturday 10 at the Tepid Baths from 2.30-5.30pm.

Gardeners never miss the Heroic Garden Festival from 10am-5pm Saturday 10-Sunday 11. See the Facebook event page, and the website for tickets. And everyone loves catching up with friends and checking out the visiting politicians at the Big Gay Out on Sunday 11 at Coyle Park, Pt Chevalier, from 12midday-7pm.


AP ParadeThis year’s Auckland Pride Parade on Saturday 17 will be blessed from 6.30-7.15pm along the length of Ponsonby Rd, and an Airforce Hercules (no rainbow colours, sorry) will fly the Parade route as it begins at 7.30pm. In a first for the Parade, female couple Sinead and Vic will be married on a float during the parade by the Glitter Squad of celebrants.

The Parade will be led by Oceania Pride Aotearoa, with a Māori/Pasifika float focusing on decolonisation across the Pacific to illustrate the parade theme of Rainbow warriors: Pride and peace.
Register your Pride Parade entry online by Friday 2, or email Parade Director Shaughan Woodcock.

See the Auckland Pride Festival website for details. JR

Lesbian/feminist heritage exhibition

Heather McPhersonA major and unique exhibition of art, film and writing at the beginning of March will explore the artistic communities of poet and lesbian feminist Heather McPherson, a co-founder of the influential women’s arts magazine and publishing imprint Spiral in Christchurch and also of the equally influential Women’s Gallery in Wellington. Heather died in January 2017.

Called This joyous chaotic place, the exhibition highlights the contribution of Heather and her peers, members and contributors to the 70s and 80s women’s art movement, Spiral and the Women’s Gallery (right), and visitors are coming from around the country.Heather McPherson flier

The exhibition opens at the kaupapa Māori gallery Mokopōpaki, at 454 Karangahape Rd in Auckland, 6-8pm on Thursday March 1 (a week later than previously announced), when Heather’s book will be launched, and runs for six weeks as a Women’s Suffrage 125th anniversary event.

HM bone peopleIt will include a programme of short films including archival footage, readings and interviews with Māori writers JC Sturm and Keri Hulme, and Heather herself, by Auckland Women’s Community Video and some of artist Joanna Paul’s short films, among others. Spiral originally published Keri Hulme’s award-winning novel The Bone People.

The exhibition includes rarely-seen women’s art and writing from the 70s and 80s as well as some contemporary work. The catalogue expands on the stories the artwork tells, like the Spiral trip to Stockholm to see an 18th century korowai (cloak) with a unique spiral tāniko border.

Marian Evans, one of the exhibition organising group, says she has spent “a lovely long time in the archives”, researching the exhibition, and even found work Heather did for the legendary ‘A season’s diaries’ exhibition initiated by Joanna Paul in 1977. “Before she died, Heather thought it was lost forever, but there it was, unidentified except as a ‘journal’ in the Turnbull Library.”

WGCollective Harris StPictured inside the Women’s Gallery at 26 Harris St, Wellington, in 1980 are Marian Evans, left, Bridie Lonie, Marg Leniston with Isaac, Hilary King, and Anna Keir; standing behind, are Sharon Alston, left, and Lou Genet. Photo from the QEII Arts Council.

This joyous chaotic place “is a heritage as much as an art exhibition,” she says, “bringing out of the archives and from under beds all kinds of stuff that probably will not be seen again publicly. It may not look like a conventional art exhibition but the stories and the faces will draw people through.”

HM Spiral 5Ten women will read from Heather’s posthumous collection, This joyous chaotic place: Garden poems, edited by Janet Charman and published by Spiral, on Saturday 3 from 2-4pm at the Pioneer Women’s Hall at the Ellen Melville Centre in High Street, followed by afternoon tea.

The book has a limited edition; it will not be available in bookshops and can be ordered by emailing Marian at It costs $25 including postage.

See more details about the exhibition at See the LNA obituary for Heather.

Jenny R

Wellington Pride Festival

WP logo

The Wellington Pride Festival | Tū Whakahīhī e Te Whanganui-ā-Tara opens on Saturday February 24 and runs for two weeks to March 10, with a range of community-organised events around the city. We feature a few below.

The 32nd Out in the Park on Saturday 24 opens the festival, running from 11am at Waitangi Park behind the Chaffer St New World. It will feature all-day free entertainment, including drag kings and queens, singers, dancers and comedians, and a raft of community and food stalls.

It also features Pooches in the Park from 2-3pm, hosted by Scotty and Mal from S&Ms. No dog is too big or small to win hearts, so Rainbow people are encouraged to bring your mighty mongrel or pampered pup and show them off to the community.

Sian TorringtonAlso on Saturday artist Sian Torrington, left, hosts an open studio from 11am to 3pm, on the second floor of Trades Hall, 124 Vivian St in the city.

The Out in the Park After Party runs  on Saturday night from 9pm until late, at the James Smith Corner Basement, 49 Cuba St, organised by the GAG Drag Collective and MC’d by Hugo Grrrl: Drag King and Harlie Lux. Drag performers include RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Laila McQueen, Mike Litoris: Drag King, Timothy Taffy, Kelly Fornia & Leo Valor, and many more.

The Turquoise Tour, the first of three free LGBTI walking tours, starts at 1pm on Sunday 25. outside the City Gallery in Civic Square. It features Alison Laurie, Charlotte Bronte, Effie Pollen, Eugenia Falleni, Katherine Mansfield, Maata Mahupuku, Mary Taylor, Ursula Bethell and lots of other GBTI individuals and organisations.

Drag King Hugo Grrl hosts the Wellington Pun Battle from Thursday 1 to the final on Saturday 3; an this intense and improvisational comedy pun-off for a $1,500 prize. Entry is $15/$17, 18+.WP youth ball

The Candy Land Youth Ball on Saturday March 3 is expected to attract about 400 young people aged from 13 to 18 from the Wellington region, Wairarapa and Manawatu. It is hosted by and for young Rainbow people, including students who don’t conform to sexuality or gender norms and for whom school balls are unwelcoming. It will be held from 6.30pm at Chaffers Dock Building, 22 Herd St on the waterfront. Tickets from Eventfinda cost $14.

Violet walking tourThe free Violet Walking Tour on Sunday 4 at 1pm features the Lesbian Radio Programme, Katherine Mansfield, Maata Mahupuku, Rev. Dr Margaret Mayman, the Queer Avengers and lots of other GBTI people. It starts on the steps of Parliament Buildings.

Fresh from their Mardigras concert, the city’s LGBT choir, the Glamaphones present a Best of Homegrown Performance on Thursday 8 from 6:30pm at St Andrew’s on the Terrace.

The Red LGBTI Walking Tour on Saturday 10 at 1pm features the  Amazon Softball Club, Amy Bock, Audre Lorde, Bea Arthur, Bette Armstrong, Chrissy Witoko, Club 41, Circle magazine, Edith Eger, the Lesbian Club, Porleen Simmons, the Rev. Annette Cater, and lots of other GBTI individuals and organisations. It starts at 1pm at Pukeahu Park on Tory St. See the Facebook event page.

Wtn Pride ParadeThe Pride Parade is this year being organised by a newly formed group, Wellington International Pride Parade (WIPP). It starts at 7pm on Saturday March 10 in Tennyson St, city. WIPP’s choice of theme, Go Tribal/What’s Your Tribe, has been criticised for cultural insensitivity; contact WIPP on or see the parage Facebook page.

See the festival website, and the Facebook page or download the programmeJR

Calling ballroom and latin dancers

DANSS womenWellington same-sex dance group DANSS is calling for indications of interest in its annual Wellington Same Sex Dancesport Competition by the end of February.

The fun and inclusive competition is planned for May 12, and the group needs an idea of numbers before signing up a venue. The competition will be an timely practice opportunity for those planning to compete in the Gay Games in Paris in August.

DANSS asks for indications for those planning to enter, or teachers knowing of people wanting to compete. Email by the end of February, and DANSS will confirm the competition in March.

Calling LGBTQI* artists for Dunedin Pride

An art exhibition during Dunedin’s Pride Festival from April 8 to 15 is calling for LGBTQI* artists of any ability to submit up to three pieces.

Dunedin Pride artThe Q² Trust, which organises the festival, will take a 10 percent commission on all work sold: five percent for Alphabet Soup, a Dunedin youth support group, and five for future Q² Trust events.

All two-dimensional work must be ready to hang, and artist contact details and selling price, including commission, must be written on the back.

Entries close on March 16; email photos or a link to images of artwork to  JR

Wild Women Walkers picnic

WWW picnic2WWW picnic1Some of the Wild Women Walkers by the pou (guardian) at the northern end of the Huriawa peninsula with canine friend Gem, after the annual WWW picnic at Karitane. Left: On the Huriawa track.


5 thoughts on “News”

  1. Lisa Melville’s PhD thesis is not the first study of Lesbian mothers in Aotearoa. My Masters thesis ‘Lesbian Mothers, Queer Families’ AUT 2004, followed a cohort of lesbian mothers through planning pregnancy, birth, experience of midwifery/obstetric care and the evolution of their relationship/family in the first two years of their child’s life. Caroline Bree


    1. Hi Caroline. Sorry this is months later – but yes you are correct mine is not the first study of lesbian mothers in Aotearoa. There has been a lot of work done by yourself and others to pave the way and support my research. So thanks!


  2. Anne Ruck Masters thesis, in Women’s Studies, VUW, is probably the first NZ thesis to address lesbian mothers. She interviewed lesbian mothers to find out if they were satisfied with the arrangements made with donors, and later connections to the children. I was her supervisor. I think the date was about 1992 – will check.

    Liked by 1 person

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News, pix and profiles about lesbians and queer women in Aotearoa/New Zealand

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