Kohitātea/January 2017

What was happening over summer? Here’s our Kohi-tātea update – all items collected in one handy page: news, media and opinion from December, with some updates; Dyke Diary for January!

Dyke Diary

Ngā pitopito kōrero, news

Lesbian balls and queer parties
How to treat us when we’ve survived violence
More events for women at Auckland Pride
The future of the Charlotte Museum
New Dunedin discussion group
Harassment persists for Dunedin university students
First Aussie Pride Centre for Melbourne

Lesbian balls and queer parties

The cancellation of the second Westie Lesbian Ball in Auckland in November has underlined a decline in events for lesbians, which generally appeal to women over 40, while the number of dance parties for girls who love girls, which appeal to young women, is expanding.

Rush17Cissy Rock, Westie Ball co-ordinator, says that while her semi-regular and inclusive Rush community dances for women remain well-patronised, largely by women over 35, numbers have declined since they started in 2009.

However, Jenny Collins, former Lesbian Education and Support Organisation member, and co-organiser of seven lesbian balls, is investigating a corporate-style Auckland ball in 2017 for lesbians and women who love women.

The Dunedin L ball this June was the first such event for five years. Liz, one of the three organisers, says that the 60 women who attended “had a great night” but that the three won’t run another ball “in the foreseeable future”. The group’s original aim “was to provide a space for lesbian women to come together”, but Facebook comments led to the poster being revised to include bisexual, trans and queer women.

Expat Kiwi Natalie Zibung organises six-weekly Lick dances in Auckland for girls who like girls “and their supportive friends”, which attract up to 500 women in a night. She aims to create events where women-loving women “can bring their best friends regardless of whether they’re a guy or a girl”, as well as family members.

“We’re the busiest we’ve ever been,” she says. Auckland party-goers “have got a touch younger over time. We get a nice mix of women – 70 percent are aged 18 to 26, and 30 percent over 30.”

lick-prideHer next Auckland Lick party will be the night of the Pride Parade at the end of the Auckland Pride Festival, for which “a popular New Zealand actress and artist” will be a special guest. She is also organising her first Auckland mixed queer party with the Mika Haka Foundation’s Aroha Project during Pride, and plans an Auckland cocktail event aimed at a slightly older audience later in the year.

Natalie ran a Lick party in Christchurch this year and plans to expand to Wellington in 2017, as well as organising a Queenstown women’s getaway weekend around a Lick party. With PeterPans Adventure Travel, she will offer a range of outdoor activities, catering for singles as well as couples from New Zealand and Australia who want to get married in Queenstown.

lick-motherThe Melbourne-based Zibung also organises most of the queer women’s parties in Australia. They include the Mother weekly parties for queer girls, monthly and occasional Lick parties in Melbourne, monthly parties in Perth, two-monthly parties in Brisbane, and she is launching Lick in Sydney next year during Mardi Gras.

After seven years of organising parties, she says “the partying crowd is getting younger. They’re coming out quite young, earlier than my generation – there’s a lot more acceptance so they’re more confident going out and meeting other like-minded women. When I was 17 in the 1990s, I saw a lot of older women and not so many young girls.”

Email jennycollins999@gmail.com if you’d like to be involved in or perform at an Auckland ball in 2017.

Join the Lick Facebook group; see the Lick Pride party event page, the Lick website or email hello@lickentertainment.com.au.

How to treat us when we’ve survived

violence-lgbtiRecently released best-practice guidelines for how mainstream sexual violence services should deal with LGBTI+ survivors are an important result of the Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura/Outing Violence project.

The guidelines include cultural competence about LGBTI+ people; avoiding heterosexist and gender-normative assumptions; building links with LGBTI+ communities; and making physical environments and processes welcoming and non-discriminatory.

The community-based Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura/Outing Violence project aims to build Rainbow communities free of partner and sexual violence. Project manager Sandra Dickson wrote the LGBTI+ section in the guidelines, drawing on the project’s survey report with input from the Rainbow organisations represented on the project advisory group.

OutingViolence logoThe project has spent the last months presenting results to organisations working against family violence and in Rainbow communities as well as self-defence teachers, the National Council of Women Gender Equality Conference, a national Family Planning Association conference and others.

Part of this work has been lobbying for questions about sexual and gender identity to be included in national surveys about violence, says Sandra, “so we will get prevalence rates, which will be very useful. We believe we’ve won that argument.” A national survey about people’s experience of violence is planned for 2017.

The project fact sheets have been distributed to all armed forces pastoral care teams and all NZ Police Diversity Liaison Officers, who work with Rainbow communities.

The project is now responding to requests from groups who would like the 407 survey responses analysed for the experiences of sub-groups. The deadline for requests is Friday December 2.

The project will also apply for funding to produce resources about healthy relationships and how friends and families can support Rainbow people experiencing violence, which were two of the recommendations in its report.

Email Sandra here; to go on the project mailing list, click on the + sign on the website, and see the Facebook page.

More events for women at Auckland Pride

Auckland Pride Festival co-ordinator Julian Cook says the 2017 festival may be “the most lesbian Pride that I’ve co-ordinated”, with an international act and a raft of women-oriented events.

pride-hot-honeyThe festival has attracted its first international queer female show, the award-winning Australian Hot Brown Honey cabaret troupe performing for five nights at the ASB Theatre.

The six-woman group of Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Indigenous Australian, South African and Indonesian performers use music, dance, burlesque and comedy to take on topics of colonisation, sexism, gender stereotypes and racism.

The one-hour show is produced by Briefs Factory, who also produced the successful recent Auckland season of the boylesque cabaret Briefs. It is written by Lisa Fa’alafi of Polytoxic Dance Theatre, and Busty Beatz of Briefs.

Each night, a local DJ will stir up the hive before and after the show. See scenes from the show here and the HBH Facebook page. Seats at tables of six or eight cost between $39 and $62 each and can be booked at Ticketmaster.

The Pride Gala on February 10 will be back to showcase many lesbian performers. Longtime event organiser Sarah Lambourne is introducing the Champagne Party Privé in on Saturday 18, and the Auckland-based Wet Hot Beauties will present Seachange, a water ballet about the roles and power of women at Parnell pools from 21-26, featuring more than 80 women.

The Same Same but Different writers’ festival features a skype conversation between Val McDermid in Scotland and chair Carole Beu about why lesbians make great crime writers, as well as many other queer female writer. Dykes on Mics, the popular community open mike event, will be open to all at Falls Park in Henderson on Sunday 19 and When can I see you again, a multicultural women’s art exhibition will show at the Fresh Gallery in Otara. A Pride Lick Party will be held on the night of the Parade, and many other events are yet to be confirmed.

dom-fallsFor the first time at the Big Gay Out, lesbian stalls will be grouped together in the market area, including the Women’s Bookshop, the Auckland Women’s Centre, the Auckland Lesbian Business Association (aLBa), LNA, Lowdown, Dyke Hikes and the less energetic Coffee and Stroll.

And three new female-identified board members add to the Pride board’s diversity. Founding board member Lexie Matheson, a Pākehā who identifies as whakawahine, has been re-appointed, with nurse Sonya Apa Temata, a lesbian of Cook Islands, Māori and Tahitian ancestry, and JayCee Tanuvasa, who describes herself as “a young transgender woman of colour”.

Lesbians and queer women have until Saturday 3 to apply to Rainbow Auckland (formerly the Gay Auckland Business Association) for grants to organise events or parade floats.

Organisers should contact Festival Director Julian Cook before they finalise dates and details, to prevent scheduling clashes. The deadline for registration forms is Monday 12.

The deadline for Pride Parade floats is Friday February 3, but groups should also register their interest early by emailing the Parade Director, Jonathan Smith, as float numbers are limited. See the Facebook page for event announcements. JR

Charlotte Museum update

charlotte-logoThe Charlotte Museum board has released a summary of suggestions from a November consultation meeting about the future of the museum.

The strongest support was for moving the museum to a more central and accessible venue, building an active Treaty partnership, and broadening the museum’s appeal to a wider range of lesbians of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds.

New board member Jo Crowley, who facilitated the consultation meeting, believes that “accommodation is the most pressing issue, followed by relevance to younger lesbians”. The board will discuss the detailed suggestions at its session on December 6 and consult with groups under-represented at the November consultation.

Over summer, the museum celebrates Thirty years since Homosexual Law Reform, and volunteers will work on events for the Pride festival in February, including taking some displays to Manukau.

whitenightThe museum will open from 6pm until midnight on Saturday March 18, providing live music and an olive oil tasting as part of the Auckland Arts Festival White Night.

The museum welcomes volunteers; email charlottemuseum@gmail.com. Women who support the preservation of lesbian heritage receive a tax deduction for donations over $5 to the museum’s ASB account: 12 3020 00469766 – 00. JR

New Dunedin discussion group

A new mid-month Sunday Brunch Talking Group for lesbians has started in Dunedin, encouraging political conversations and analysis, accompanied by healthy food from the Organic Café.

This adds to the two monthly dinner groups, the seasonal Wild Women’s Walking Group, the long-term book clubs, and an occasional lesbian party or ball.

dunedinMaybe the recent US elections had something to do with the new group? Or maybe, given it’s a university town, something like this was always going to eventuate? Either way, it was an absolute joy to dissect recent political events, and leave feeling re-connected to like-minded women, after going through post Trump stress, or PTS as I’m now calling it. So Hillary won the popular vote, by a margin of about 1.6 million, and earlier in the year, Helen Clark didn’t become the next Director-General for the United Nations. They were both exceptionally well qualified women. But something happened, and neither of them is in a position they deserved, against any objective measure.

It’s recalled a favourite saying from my more radical days when I used to remind myself that radical meant going to the root, or cause. Those times are here again, it seems to me, where we need to go back to the very source of societal thinking, and question, amongst many other things, why ‘electoral college voting’ still exists, when it was established at the height of slavery in the States, at a time when women’s votes weren’t even on the table! And why was it a problem that Helen Clark had been a former PM (one of the ‘criticisms’ I read about her), when it was ok to appoint another ex-PM as the DG?

What I’ve been particularly struck by is the narrative coming out of the States from Black women. They were Hillary Clinton’s largest demographic, just like rural, White men were Trump’s. But what they’re saying – these strong, articulate women, is that it’s not only a ‘white-lash’, but also a call for action – again! Back to the roots of our discontent, questioning the mental frames that may have led us to our more recent complacency to take a deeper, even broader perspective.

Recently I was one of four activists interviewed for a dissertation on Lesbian-feminist activism in Aotearoa in the 1970s & 1980s.  At the time of the interviews, I never dreamed I’d be quite so radical again. But months later, now that Brexit and ‘Trexit’ have happened, it seems this is exactly what these times are calling for.
Pleasance Hansen 

Harassment persists for Dunedin uni students

otago-u-student-surveyThe first university survey about the experiences of Rainbow students has found levels of harassment equal or greater than an earlier tertiary survey, but also that students feel supported by campus services.

Nearly a third of lesbian, gay and takatāpui University of Otago students had been harassed in the last year compared with six percent of the 878 straight students. Eleven percent of the Rainbow students had feared for their physical safety at some point. These rates were higher than in a 2012 survey of Unitec Institute of Technology students, where 10 percent had been harassed and seven percent had feared for their safety.

The 13 students with non-binary identities were more likely to feel fear, to hide their identities and to say they had missed out on opportunities than female and male Rainbow students. Half of all Otago Rainbow students hid their identities at some point to avoid harassment, compared with 39% of the Unitec students. Harassment was more common in the evening and from other students, more likely in public spaces and when people had been drinking.

Most students who completed the survey felt that the OUSA Queer* Support service is open, inclusive and safe, and would use the service or recommend it to others. Queer female students were more positive about the service than others. Straight students consistently underestimated rates of harassment for Rainbow people; 23 percent of straight students thought lesbians likely to be harassed on campus compared with 34 percent of the Rainbow students.

The report recommended:

  1. Ongoing training for all University of Otago support services and staff about how to support LGBTAQ students
  2. Actions to raise awareness of queer* issues on and off campus
  3. Gender-neutral toilets throughout campus
  4. Calls to combat distinct and related discrimination against sexual and gender identities
  5. The ongoing importance of the OUSA Queer* Support service.

The survey was commissioned by the Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) to benchmark students’ experiences and perceptions of the OUSA Queer* Support service.


Current OUSA Queer* Support Coordinator Hahna Briggs, left, will use the survey results to develop the OUSA Queer* Support service to help address the forms of harassment and discrimination reported by survey respondents. She gave the example of a campaign earlier this year about difficulties “transgender and gender diverse students face when using gender segregated toilets, which … led to increased awareness and availability of gender-neutral toilets.”

See the full report on the OUSA Queer* Support website. Contact Hahna at mailto:q.support@ousa.org.nz or phone 03 479 5448.

Aussie Pride Centre

The Victorian government has promised $15 million to create Melbourne and Australia’s first Pride Centre.

oz-centre-jude-munroCo-founder of Melbourne’s gay liberation movement and Rainbow advocate, Jude Munro, left, has been appointed as chair of the centre’s board. Members include three other women and three men, all CEOs and corporate professionals.

The centre is planned as a home for LGBTI groups, health and support services, a showcase for Rainbow culture and history, and a space where Rainbow communities can meet.

Victoria’s Sexuality and Gender Commissioner, Rowena Allen, has been a driver behind the idea. The project will be managed by Major Projects Victoria, and the building is planned for somewhere in the central city. LGBTI communities are being consulted about the final design, location and timeframe. JR

Te ao pāpāho, media

We welcome your suggestions of websites, books, films and any other media of interest to lesbians and queer women.

Aotearoa’s sesquicentennial in fiction
Pot Luck success
Lesbian Sex Haiku … with cats

Humour, satire, herstory

juliehelean2Julie Helean’s second book was launched at the Women’s Bookshop in Auckland in November (left).

We the Ones is both funnier and more serious than her first (The open accounts of an honesty box), published in 2010.

A packed-to-the-limit crowd, almost all lesbians, were there to celebrate and hear Julie talk about the background: the book opens just before 1990, 150 years after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. An opportunity for commemoration, but a worry to the government, says Julie, since they would want it to be a celebration, not political.wetheones

Charlie, her central character, is a Pākehā lesbian; she wants action to honour the treaty – unlike, it seems, the others in her anti-racism group, where it’s talk, not action.

There’s satire, stereotypes, exaggeration, understatement and humour. “Bubbles of historical fiction”, social realism and lots of points of tension, particularly Pākehā individuality conflicting with the collective action that is needed to effect change.

Look for a review of We the ones in early 2017.

Pot Luck success

pot-luck-awardsWith more than 650,000 views under its belt, Wellington-based lesbian web series Pot Luck has been enjoying some richly deserved attention around the world. Pictured are Nikki Si’ulepa (who plays Mel), Tess Jamieson-Karaha (Beth) and Anji Kreft (Debs).

The show was a finalist for the Special Interest Award at the recent inaugural New Zealand Web Fest, but had been reaping international attention well before this. It achieved official selection at California’s Out Web Fest, the UK Web Fest, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and Ireland’s Dub Web Fest.

Talking to pop culture mega-site AfterEllen in August, Pot Luck writer/director Ness Simmons confirmed that she is planning a second season and will be seeking government funding this time around. Since more views means more money, it is definitely time for a watch, re-watch, or re-re-watch of this lauded show!

View it at potluckwebseries.com, TVNZ on demand, YouTube, Vimeo, or Revry.

Barbara B

Book of the year


If only I could
haiku like Anna Pulley …
how cool would I be??

Ok, you really should read The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (with Cats!). For better haiku, for a start. And Anna Pulley is way funnier than I will ever be.

More to the point, whether you are newly lesbian, long-term lesbian, not-sure-if-you-are-lesbian … there is plenty here for you to read about, think about and laugh about.

This is a small collection, but then, a haiku (generally 17 syllables in 3 lines) doesn’t take up much room, so you can get a lot in a small space. Eight chapters cover a range of lesbian life and experience – not just sex. And it’s all so helpful – Anna’s an advice columnist, so that’s no surprise. Each chapter and several sub-sections have an introductory and explanatory chat. Chapter 1 (‘Lesbianism 101’) addresses how to work out if you are and Chapter 2 (‘How to pick up a lesbian’) includes how to work out if she is. This chapter also includes ‘imagined awkward propositions’ – those you might have made, and also from ‘Famous Queer Women in History’. Here’s Georgia O’Keeffe:

Here, I made you this
flower painting. It’s symbolic!
Of your … beauty.

The book and author are from the US, and we don’t have U-Haul in Aotearoa, but many (most?) of us know the joke about that’s what the lesbian brings on the second date, because she’s moving in with you. So Chapter 4 is ‘U-Hauling’, living together.

Signs That You’re In A Cohabiting Lesbian Relationship
She knows where your jar
of PMS tea is and
doesn’t have to ask.

Of course, Anna addresses breakups. Although – fair warning – she repeats several times variations on the ‘you never really end a relationship’, and ‘all lesbians remain friends with their exes’ tropes. This set of headings for ‘The twelve stages of lesbian breakup grief’ may ring bells. (Note, Craigslist – a classified ads site that includes ‘personals’ – is US-based, but does operate in 4 centres in Aotearoa, if that’s of interest.) Anyway, who does not understand this process? Denial, Cat adoption, Anger, Revenge, Sadness, Guilt about not recycling sex toys, Return adopted cats, Requisite posting of Craiglist hookup ad, Meet Craigslist hookup from ad, Date Craigslist hookup exclusively for the next one to two years, Break up with Craigslist hookup turned monogamous girlfriend, Break up with Craigslist hookup turned monogamous girlfriend again.

Oh, and the cats? Very lovely and clever illustrations (get the book and look at the front and back cover pictures), lots of cat puns (film poster for Bound stars Jennifur Tilly and Gina Purrshon, pile of books includes Stone Butch Mews, by Leslie Felineberg).

You could get this as a gift for yourself, for a partner, for an ex, for family – talk to your local independent bookshop. Or you could borrow it from your local library: request it if it’s not already available, and have fun imagining how many lesbian librarians (and non-lesbian librarians) will be discussing what is probably the best book title of the decade.

Primo LNA
promo: publish haiku, be
as cool as Anna.

Follow Anna on Twitter (@annapulley), Facebook, her website and newsletter. Follow her advice (maybe ask for some?) on RedEye. And think about her messages in this book: be kind, be thoughtful and generous, have fun.


He huatau, opinion

Sexuality and museums

Siren Deluxe has worked as an artist, picture framer, technician and collection manager. As a student she briefly worked on the Carmen Rupe acquisition at Te Papa Tongarewa and catalogued at the Lesbian and Gay Archives New Zealand (LAGANZ) in Wellington. She is currently Collection Manager, Preventive Conservation at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. She stresses that she is not a curator – she looks after objects in the museum collections rather than choosing them.

Siren has studied the way in which museums display sexuality and sex, and agrees with Jennifer Tyburczy that “all museums are sex museums” but that most represent dominant norms, and implicitly or overtly police sexuality and taboo topics. Tyburczy argues in her book Sex museums that most museum displays assume that the sexual life of their visitors is represented by White patriarchal heterosexuality. This is supported by the tiny number of digitised items in the Auckland Museum’s collections identified by a website search for the word ‘lesbian’. Siren spoke with Jenny Rankine.

siren-deluxeSiren’s interest in sexuality and museums led her to a placement at the Museum of Sex (MoSEX) in New York in 2009. “They cover everything, with a focus on sex in films and media, and sex and technology. They have a theory that as soon as a technology is invented it’s turned to sexual gratification.”

“They’ve got vibrators and real dolls – incredibly lifelike, like mannequins made of latex. They cover the evolution of sex in films, from black and white movies with the metaphor of trains roaring through tunnels; the genre of nudist films as a semi-legitimate way of looking at boobs; and the first televised inter-racial kiss in the USA on Star Trek.”

“They screen the first gay kisses, the first gay sex scenes, lesbian porn, gay porn, celebrity porn, and a fascinating film of women’s faces as they orgasmed. You can’t help but wonder how much the women are performing so they have a pretty orgasm,” she comments.

“Sex museums raise some very interesting questions. MoSEX has siren-mosex-boobsquite a high entrance fee, so people expect entertainment. It was titillating, not purely academic; one gallery might have sex education material, while another might feature high fetish gear, such as gimp masks” (full-face sensory deprivation masks, with a zip over the mouth). Pictured is the bouncy castle of breasts in MoSEX’s Funland exhibition.

Siren returned from Mosex hoping to run a sex museum in New Zealand, but realised how difficult it would be and how much it would take to run.

Unearthing sexuality in museum collections

“In a traditional museum structure sexuality comes under social or human history. I am very interested in how museums and their social history collections are preserving stories and choosing objects relating to sex, sexuality and gender identity. I see this area as a necessary area of growth in museums if they are to be relevant and connected. Contemporary museums are not sedentary and they can’t afford to be complacent. They must be agile, progressive and dynamic to remain relevant.”

Objects relating to sexuality are often buried and waiting for someone to uncover and tell their stories, she says. She gives some examples from the Auckland Museum’s collection.

“We have a beautiful ivory naked lady, who fits in two hands – she’s languidly lying on her side, wearing shoes and a necklace, and sits on a little wooden table. From a Western perspective she looks like a reclining Venus who is displaying her body for someone to look at.”

siren-pointer-lady“But the statue is called pointer or a doctor’s lady; she would have been on the table of a Chinese medicine practitioner. Extremely modest female patients would indicate where on her body they were feeling discomfort, because it was taboo for them to indicate their own body. So Western people might think this object is about sexuality, but within its own culture it’s not. It tells lots of stories.”

Auckland Museum “also has a belt from my grandmother’s era that women used to attach menstrual pads, so a story about sexuality can be told there. And the applied arts collection has a dress specifically made for a fa’afafine”.

“I often think of Ettie Rout; her story has never been properly told in a museum context. I think she deserves a whole cabinet in a war memorial museum as she has an amazing war story. I suspect she was a lesbian – she was an amazingly creative woman.” Siren also sees Freda Stark’s life, which featured briefly at the Auckland Museum some time ago, as “another great story”.

She also gives examples from Te Papa, which has “a photographic montage from the Evergreen Café that used to be on Vivian St, Wellington, which was a safe place for gay men, run by a transgender woman who was Carmen Rupe’s contemporary. They’re trying to furnish it with lots of stories and personalities. They also have the Margaret Sparrow collection, which tells the history of birth control in New Zealand. So there’s lots of examples of sex in museums, but not enough.”

Representing lesbian history

Siren likes to ponder how museums can represent the heritage of lesbian communities with three-dimensional objects. “It’s really easy to lapse into collecting spectacular things like Pride Parade costumes, although I think we should, but ‘collecting the ordinary’ is a phrase we use a lot.”

“We have lots of white wedding dresses through the ages, which is an iconic heterosexual thing. We should have something representing the first lesbian and gay couples who had a civil union in New Zealand, and the same-sex weddings. I don’t know what they wore, and I doubt whether they would want to donate it to a museum, but what about the cake and the figures? That would be something that isn’t financially valuable or spectacular, but is imbued with meaning.”

siren-painted-rocksShe discusses the purple and pink painted stones I have, offered to all the people who came to my friends’ civil union years ago; “if that and the rings and the photo and an invitation was in the collection, that set of objects could tell a story. We’ve got to think about how in 200 years no one would know the significance of the colour purple on a stone.”

Sexuality in community museums

She would like to see sexuality represented in small community organisations like the Charlotte Museum, as well as collected and displayed by big museums. “There’s potentially a lot of freedom and agility in independent museums,” she says, giving the example of Mona in Tasmania, which was set up by eccentric millionaire David Walsh and focuses on issues of sex and death.

“He can do outrageous things that could never be done in a government-funded museum. Mona is award-winning, irreverent, and has a lot of people aghast. It has a famous artwork called Cloaca; they feed it twice a day, it digests in the gallery making terrible noises, and produces a poo.”

charlotte-statueSiren describes the Charlotte Museum as having “a national treasure collection” (including the statue, left). “Often amazing collections come into big institutions from personal collectors who stuck to a vision to save heritage that was on the brink of being lost, and I see the Charlotte Museum as doing that. Every small community needs a champion to save it.”

Siren has visited other museums about aspects of sexuality, like the Musee de l’Erotisme (Museum of Erotica) is Paris, and a couple of sex museums in Amsterdam, which “were more like curiosity shops than museums”. There are many others, like the Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago, a male-dominated collection that has a Women’s Leather History Program.

She sees the online museum as a possible “powerful path for the Charlotte Museum. It would involve digitising every object in the collection and being smart about key words and the design so it’s easy to search.”

Working for change

She’s very conscious that “museums were largely founded by academic white men who travelled the world collecting curiosities”, and that museums about technology are often male-oriented.

auckland_museum_rainbow“But now the sector is dominated by women and I believe it’s progressive in its thinking,” she says. “It’s ripe with opportunities. The key is to have curators who are passionate about sexual history, or more lesbians in the GLAM sector.” GLAM stands for galleries, libraries, archives and museums; “it’s an acronym made for the queer community” Siren says.

Siren describes the museum sector as “a very satisfying industry to be part of”, and herself as “proud to be part of a place that is loved by Aucklanders, and is iconic to the city.” She also prefers to “effect change from the inside.”

Siren believes that she and others who have a similar vision have “a responsibility to petition for change within the industry and encourage a liberal and progressive approach to collecting.”

Siren hasn’t worked in small museums; her hopes for change lie with the big ones, “because they should be modelling” inclusive approaches to sexuality. “Inclusivity is a word discussed a lot in the museum sector at the moment,” she says, but usually to refer to different ethnicities; “there should be robust pressure on big museums to discuss sexual diversity.”

“It’s just a matter of keeping the pressure on, constantly bringing it into the discussion. Museums are full of diversity, so it will come.”

Rātaka takatāpui, Dyke Diary

Northland/Te Tai Tokerau
Auckland/Tamaki Makaurau
Waikato/Central North Island
Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Nelson area/Whakatū
Otago/Southland/Te taurapa o te waka

Northland/Te Tai Tokerau

Saturday 21 Gay-in-the-Bay Summer BBQ, Waipapa, Bay of Islands, 5pm, catered by the hosts for $5 per head, BYO drinks. See the website for details.

Auckland/Tamaki Makaurau

Wednesday 11 Picnic in the Park, aLBa event, 6-9pm, Coyle Park, Pt Chevalier Rd, Pt Chevalier: bring a picnic and catch up with friends (look for the pink flags). Visit Facebook event page for details.

Sunday 15 Coffee & Stroll 10am, meet for coffee at Café Miko, Auckland Botanic Gardens; 10.30am, an easy 40-minute stroll around the gardens, with a focus on the Gondwana Arboretum and the ‘Dinosaurs in the gardens‘ exhibition. Note, if you want a free Dinosaur encounter, they are available for booking at 10.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm.


Tuesday 17 Launch gig for Anji Kreft’s EP Took ya time – POSTPONED. Visit Anji’s ‘Entertainer & Tutor’ Facebook page for details and an example of a new waiata.

Wednesday 18 Rainbow Auckland summer BBQ 5.30-8pm, The Oak Room, Victoria Park Market, 17 Drake St. $15/members, $20/non-members, all welcome. Online registration and payment required, via Rainbow Auckland events. Visit Facebook event page for details.

Sunday 22 Fifth Season Garden Group afternoon tea Discussing carpooling to Heroic Gardens and future garden visits. Free bubbles, afternoon tea, raffle, 2pm, St Albans apt 502, 433 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden, contact Wendy Wilson, 027 548 3510 or wendyirenewilson@gmail.com.

Sunday 29 Dyke Hike 11am, Chelsea Sugar Works/Kauri Point Centennial Park/Chatswood Reserve: see the best of the bush in reserves on the North Shore. Start at the Chelsea Sugar Works and walk through their bush area and join up with a network of interconnecting reserves and urban streets. This walk goes through some Navy land also. There are interesting views of the harbour throughout. Approx 3 hours. Grade: Easy (okay in strong walking shoes, not many hills, good tracks) to moderate (boots recommended, expect a few hills and stream crossings are possible). Email hike@lesbian.co.nz, visit www.lesbian.co.nz or the Facebook page.

kingSunday 29 King of Kings 10pm-3am, Family Bar and Club, 270 Karangahape Rd. Visit Facebook event page for details.

Waikato/Central North Island/Hawkes Bay

Sunday 1 Deco Divas shared lunch in Hawkes Bay to connect and welcome in another year; from noon, children welcome. Contact Sky on decodiva2010@gmail.com for venue and to RSVP with numbers.

Friday 27  Wairarapa Pink Drinks at the Buckhorn in Carterton, 6.30pm, off High St, north end of town on Memorial Square. All welcome, friendly crowd. Billets available if you want to stay over for the walk next day. Contact Kerry at kerry.elizabeth@xtra.co.nz or 027 668 8157.

Saturday 28 Wairarapa Pink Drinks walk to Fensham Reserve. Meet at the Carterton Railway Station for 11.30am start. The Wairarapa Line train leaves Wellington Station at 9.55am, arriving at 11.15am, and goes back at 5.05pm. Lifts to station available. Bring picnic lunch, no dogs please. Contact kerry.elizabeth@xtra.co.nz, or text/phone 027 668 8157.

Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara

Anytime Self-guided LGBTTI walking tour of 24 historic rainbow locations around Wellington’s waterfront in one hour, free. Start at the former site of Carmen’s Balcony on the corner of Harris and Victoria Sts, now the City Library, walk through Civic Square, onto the waterfront, down to Bats Theatre and then back to the Michael Fowler Centre via Courtenay Place. Hear short eyewitness accounts at each location with your smart device using the interactive Google Map, or download the mp3 audio before you set off. See the website.

Friday 20 Paekakariki lesbian pub drinks and dinner 5.30pm, Finns, all welcome. Phone Finns on 04 292 8081or or email finnskapiti@xtra.co.nz to add your name to Sally’s table if you intend staying for dinner.

Wednesday 25 Moonlight about a young man’s coming out story, fundraiser for InsideOUT, 8pm, Light House cinema, 29 Wigan St, Te Aro. See the Facebook event page and book tickets here.

wellyyouthballFriday 27 “Let’s plan a YOUTH ball” 5-7pm. We have some money, and are in the process of booking a venue. Now we have the fun stuff to plan: theme, decorations, music, anything else … Come to help organise;  snacks provided. Level 3, Anvil House, 138-140 Wakefield St. Visit Facebook event page for details.

lkq_nz_2017_detailFriday 27 Klezmania: klezmer concert with all-women London Klezmer Quartet, including a lesbian couple, and Wellington-based Klezmer Rebs, 7.30pm, St Peter’s Hall, Paekakariki. Tickets $15/20, door sales. Visit NZ tour page.

wellyrainbowweekendFriday 27-Sunday 29 Wellington Rainbow Sport & Culture weekend: an informal and friendly LGBTI social weekend of fun and competition, and an opportunity to celebrate and promote LGBTI sport, community, culture and identity. The sports events programme includes badminton, cycling, ocean swimming, running, same-sex dancing, swimming, and yoga. Other events include Meet and greet (Friday), Rainbow dinner (Saturday), and brunch (Sunday). Organised by Rainbow Team Wellington (also, Facebook) and Proud2Play NZ.

meetgreetFriday 27 Meet & Greet 5-7.30pm, part of the Rainbow Sport & Culture Weekend: S+M’s bar, Cuba St. Visit Facebook event page for details.

rainbowdinnerSaturday 28 Rainbow dinner 6.30-8.30pm, part of the Rainbow Sport & Culture Weekend: ‘European soul food’ at Field & Green, 262 Wakefield St, central Wellington. Details to come; visit the Facebook event page.

lkq_nz_2017_detailSaturday 28 Klezmania: klezmer concert with all-women London Klezmer Quartet, including a lesbian couple, and Wellington-based Klezmer Rebs, 7.30pm, Meow, 9 Edward St, Te Aro. Tickets $20, door sales. Visit NZ tour page.

rainbowgalaSaturday 28 Rainbow Gala Ivy Bar, 49 Cuba St, Te Aro. There is a wealth of talent in Wellington, and this Gala will showcase it as part of the Rainbow Sport & Culture Weekend!
Details to come; visit the Facebook event page.

voguedanceclassSunday 29 Vogue dance class 4.30-6.30pm, part of the Rainbow Sport & Culture Weekend: Venus Starr’s School of Burlesque & Aerial Arts, Level 2, 84 Boulcott St, central Wellington. $10/person, pay at the door, no need to register. Details on Facebook event page.

insideout-art-exhibitionMonday 30-Sunday February 5  InsideOUT fundraising art exhibition Matchbox Studios, 166 Cuba St, city. Unsold work will be auctioned at 6pm on Friday 3 with MC Jac Lynch. See the Facebook event page or email vicky@insideout.org.nz.

Tuesday 31 Deadline for Armstrong and Arthur Charitable Trust for Lesbians funding round, for projects and activities that will benefit all or part of the lesbian communities south of the Manawatu Gorge including Wellington. See forms and guidelines www.armstrong-arthur-trust.nz or write to the secretary, Armstrong and Arthur Trust, PO Box 199, Waikanae 5250.

Nelson area/Whakatū

The Lesbian Connection (TLC) sends a monthly email of events in the area, Nelson and Motueka in particular. Contact them at tlconnection.link@gmail.com to go on the mailing list or for more details of any events.

There’s currently no-one co-ordinating activities for Nelson events, other than potluck dinners, last Friday of the month (see below). The walking group is taking a break until February. Do contact TLC if you can help with regular – or one-off – events.

Sunday 20 Motueka brunch/lunch 11am, T.O.A.D Hall Store and Cafe, 502 High St, Motueka. Contact TLC for details.

Friday 27 Nelson Potluck dinner 6.30pm, contact TLC for details.


The Christchurch Women’s Centre keeps a diary of events in Christchurch and elsewhere on their Lesbian Support page.

Check events on the  Christchurch LGBT social events page.

The Lambda Trampers and Lambda Lattes are mixed social tramping and walking groups for lesbians and gays living in and around Christchurch, and their friends. The Lambda Trampers programme and contact details to August 2017 are available. Lambda Latte programme details are below.

latte-walkers-beckenhan-ponds-may-2016Sunday 1 Lambda Lattes Quail Island, meet 10am at Quail Island ferry, Lyttelton, leaving 10.20am and returning 3.30pm. Bring picnic lunch. Ferry $30, cash only. Phone Tim 021 1122 756 or see http://lambdatrampers.webs.com.

Sunday 15 Lambda Lattes Mystery St Albans Merivale walk, meet 10am, corner Mansfield Ave and Browns Rd, St Albans. Phone Tim 021 1122 756 or see http://lambdatrampers.webs.com.

rainbownetworkingcanterburyWednesday 25 Rainbow Networking Canterbury networking evening 5.30-7.30pm, Unit 3, 46 Acheron Dr, Riccarton. Visit Facebook event page for details.

Sunday 29 Lambda Lattes Kennedys Bush Track, bring a snack. Meet 10am, top of Kennedys Bush Road. See http://lambdatrampers.webs.com.

Otago/Southland/Te taurapa o te waka

Sunday 29 Wild Women Winter Walking walk. Email acharlotte10@gmail.com or text 022 133 9529 for details.


Sunday 15 January-Sunday 5 February Midsumma Festival – Victoria, Australia’s queer arts and cultural Festival, for and by LGBTQIA+ communities. Visit the website and Facebook page for information about events.

GLTATasmania2Friday 27-Saturday 28 January Hobart Out Tennis Tournament Doubles only, online registration open to 1 January.

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

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