Hōngongoi / July 2018

What was happening in July? Here’s our Hōngongoi update – all items collected in one handy page!

Dyke Diary

Ngā pitopito korero / News

National/multiple centres
Suffrage 125 grants
ILGA Oceania Conference in August
First Out on the Shelves gets good response
Queen’s Birthday honours to three lesbians
Regional centres
New Auckland Pride board members wanted
Drop-in roller derby trials
Building towards an Auckland Pride Centre (again*)
Hot tubs and Winter Pride ‘18
Diversity Week at University of Otago

Suffrage 125 grants

Suffrage 125LNA readers have a month to apply for a one-off fund for events to mark the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage. The new fund from the Ministry for Women was allocated in the 2018 Budget, and closes at 5pm on Tuesday 31 July.

The Suffrage 125 Community Fund aims to celebrate women who have led the way for women’s rights, particularly Māori, Pacific and women of diverse cultures. Projects should encourage participation, support diversity or empower young people, and could include memorial events, public hui, sports, arts or history projects or other ideas.

The fund is open to community groups, non-profit organisations, iwi, hapū, whānau and marae. A panel of representatives from women’s organisations and government agencies will assess the applications; they will give priority to applications with additional funding.

Applications must be for grants of at least $1,000; most grants are anticipated to be between $5,000 and $20,000. See the application guide for details. JR

ILGA Oceania Conference in Samoa in August

ILGA Oceania logoProud is the name of the conference for the Pacific and Australasian region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) from August 29-31.

ILGA Oceania’s AGM will also be held on September 1, where a new board will be elected, and takatāpui wahine Elizabeth Kerekere will be standing. ILGA members are Rainbow organisations rather than individuals, including between 12 and 15 New Zealand groups.

Current board members from Aotearoa/New Zealand are Mani Mitchell of the Intersex Trust and Rāwā Karetai; from Australia are Leigh Neighbour, Wilo Muwadda, Simon Margan and Tony Briffa; and from the Pacific are Ken Moala, Joleen Mataele, Jasmine Kaur and Ymania Brown-Gabriel (Samoa).

Co-convenors Ymania Brown-Gabriel and Rāwā Karetai represent the region at international ILGA meetings.

2016 ILGA report coverElizabeth encourages LGBT groups to join ILGA and attend the conference, or if not able to attend, organise proxy votes at the AGM. New Zealand is a high income country so membership is €150 or ~$NZ253, or $NZ507 (€300) for organisations with a budget of more than $NZ337,830.

Register on the Proud conference website. JR

Out on the shelves

Out On The ShelvesThe first Out on the shelves week from June 18 to 23 attracted a “really good response with a lot of people recommending books”, says InsideOUT National co-ordinator Tabby Besley.

The event set up a website to connect Rainbow young people with the stories that represent them. “It’s an idea we’ve had for a while,” says Tabby; “It’s hard to find stories representing some Rainbow identities in positive and affirming ways.”

While some larger library systems provide similar lists, “it’s not something schools have done much of it and we want libraries to scale it up.”

Out-on-the-Shelves-Poster 2018InsideOUT, which is based in Wellington, hope the annual event will encourage community and school libraries around the country to add new Rainbow books, promote them, host events about them, and enter an annual competition for photos of their Rainbow book displays.

Before the competition closed, 11 libraries had sent display photos, 30 libraries had ordered bookmarks featuring book characters with different sexual identities, and lots of campaign posters had been downloaded.

The site provides lists in several genres – autobiography and non-fiction, comics, young adult, fantasy and science fiction, which are also organised by gay and lesbian, bisexual, non-binary, transgender, and asexual identities. Suggestions for books are welcome at any time, and reviews will be added as they’re received.

Auckland Council libraries provide a New Zealand LGBTIQ booklist and offers personalised booklists; we couldn’t find anything similar on the Wellington City Libraries site, but a search of LGBT books ran to three pages. JR

Queen’s Birthday honours to three lesbians

Congratulations to all three lesbians who received honours in the Queen’s Birthday honours, announced in June.

Dame Jools and Dame Lynda were made Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit at New Year 2004. They both became Dame Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday honours.

Unsurprisingly, this is in recognition of the Topp Twins’ services to entertainment. Jools and Lynda have been “same band, same line-up” for over 30 years – encouraging and challenging New Zealanders with mainly original music, political actions and a large cast of characters. The links to their official citations (same for each, as you would expect) is from the top of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2018 page.

Hilary King pictured at the Women’s Bookshop, Auckland, in full voice celebrating the launch of Renee’s memoir

Hilary King was also honoured in the Queen’s Birthday list: for 27 years’ service to special education.

Hilz is well-known to the lesbian community for her contributions to music, drama and the arts.

What may be less well known is her work in providing education through music for students with severe disabilities, and in researching and providing resources for teachers to enhance student participation and engagement.

Her official citation is from the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2018 page.

More information on the New Zealand Honours system on the government website.

Dame Companion, second left; Member, far right

New Auckland Pride board members wanted

Auckland Pride LogoThe deadline for nominations for two new members of the Auckland Pride Festival board is Thursday 3 and they will be elected at the AGM on Monday July 30.

All members will receive information about the nominees before the AGM at Studio One Toi Tū at 1 Ponsonby Rd.

A new board member, Adrian Noda (Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara) has just been appointed. Adrian is Kaiarahi (leader) of Ngā Maunga Whakahī o Kaipara, the body responsible for the assets returned from the Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara Treaty claim, and brings a strong focus on tikanga to Auckland Pride.

The annual Auckland Pride Community Hui will be held during August and are open to all. It’s a chance to give feedback and suggestions directly to board members, as well as the two organisers – Festival Director Julian Cook and Parade Producer Shaughan Woodcock.

Click here to become a member and click here to nominate a member for election to the Board, or see the website. JR

Drop-in roller derby trials

Ak Roller DerbyAuckland Roller Derby has introduced a new drop-in rookie training scheme, open to new skaters from 6.45 to 8.30pm every Monday, starting July 30.

Roller derby is a women’s skating competition on flat oval tracks in gyms which has a significant proportion of queer participants – see the basics here.

Newcomers can learn at their own pace, join when they want to, and move to the main league training sessions when they’re ready. ARD coaches are experienced will all skill and fitness levels, including those who’ve never been on skates before.

Spaces are limited and women are encouraged to register their interest and have their questions answered at the same time. Rookie sessions are held at Glenfield ActivZone, 30 Downing St, Glenfield and cost $10 each, including skate hire.

Interested women can watch the home game against the Rotorua Sulphur City team on Saturday 21 to learn about the sport – visit the Facebook event page. JR

Building towards an Auckland Pride Centre (again*)

The Auckland Council Rainbow Advisory Panel, Rainbow Youth and OUTLine will apply for a Lotteries facilities grant to carry out a needs assessment for a Pride Centre in Auckland. The deadline is August 29, and panel co-chair Jules Radford-Poupard says any centre will be some years away and is likely to be funded by charitable grants as well as council funding.

Auckland Council rainbow logoThe three groups envision a centre with offices for three or more organisations, meeting and counselling rooms, spaces for groups like Community Alcohol and Drug Service (CADS) and sexual health services to run regular clinics, an exhibition space and possibly a café. The group plans to consult the Charlotte Museum about their accommodation needs.

If the group gets the grant, they will call for quotes from independent researchers for a needs assessment that considers three venues. “There are very few council leases available,” says Jules, “so it may involve repurposing an existing building.”

Once the needs assessment is presented to council, an independent trust will be set up to guide the process of getting the centre established.

The proposal has the support of Ian Maxwell, the council’s Director Community Services. The panel is advocating for funding within the council and presenting about the proposal to the separate organisations that carry out most council functions, such as transport, facilities, and tourism, events and economic development. “We’re working strategically on getting the issue in front of those boards,” says Jules.

The group is closely following the development of the $38million, five-story Victorian Pride Centre planned for St Kilda by 2020. Panel member and Body Positive chief executive Mark Fisher says that size is too ambitious for Auckland’s community, but the process provides useful information.

JR* – the author of a Rainbow community centre needs assessment for the former Auckland City Council in 2008. If you would like a copy, email LNA.

Hot tubs and Winter Pride ‘18

Winter Pride logoMP Louisa Wall will be a drawcard at Queenstowns’ first Winter Pride ’18 from September 1 to 9, attending festival events, charity and public engagements.

Two women-only sessions in four Japanese Onsen hot tubs overlooking the mountains and the Shotover River canyon are also likely to be popular, one in the morning and one in the evening. The speed dating event on Sunday 2 has a female and a male stream.

Winter Pride hottubThis year’s festival builds on the event begun in 2012 by Queenstown locals Sally and Mandy Whitewoods, expanding it into three series – on-mountain, off-mountain and party and evening events.

Women make up half the first draft of 28 volunteers for the event, and co-organiser Martin King (with husband Mike) says they hope for 100 volunteers. “We’ve had a positive response and we’ve just had our first training session.”

Besides the pleasure of contributing to a unique event, all volunteers receive an event t-shirt and a beanie, as well as other benefits depending on where they volunteer. This could including free ski and bus passes for ski guides, a free Doubtful Sound cruise for volunteers on the boat, dinner for those volunteering at evening events, tickets to events for door and coat check volunteers. Interested women can email volunteer@winterpride.co.nz, or complete the survey on the volunteer page.

Winter Pride groupFree events include Pride in the Park, a free apres ski every night at Smith’s craft beer house with live music, hikes to the Ben Lomond saddle and up the Queenstown Hill Walkway, and a rugby game between a combo Falcons and Heroes team against the local Wakatipu team.

See the website, the Gay Ski Week Facebook Page, join the Women’s Pride Facebook group, or download the full schedule.

Pride Pledge

The festival has also launched the Pride Pledge, an initiative “to improve the visibility, safety and wellbeing of LGBT people in the Queenstown region after the festival”, says Martin. The pledge has the support of the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

Winter pride pledgeMartin says that although there is a “large lesbian population, it’s a small town and the LGBT community is invisible to itself as well as to everyone else”.

The pledge says that “all LGBTTQ+ people should have the freedom to be safe, healthy and visible” and the signer agrees to use their voice and influence “to support visibility, safety, tolerance, love, diversity and inclusion of all LGBTTQ+ people”.

Individuals share the pledge on social media, while companies can choose from small ($65), medium ($120) or large ($250) sponsorship. This gets their logo on the site as a queer-friendly business and a certificate for their front window, as well as providing funding towards free events, and a seeding fund for next year’s festival.

Diversity Week at University of Otago

OUSA queer supportMonday July 30 is the start of Diversity Week at the University of Otago, which welcomes community members from outside the campus.

Events will include a popular and hotly contested Queer Quiz, the Queerest Tea Party, two workshops and Human Library evenings.

Organiser Hahna Briggs, Queer Support Coordinator at the Otago University Student Association (OUSA), above right, is excited about the Human Library events on the evening of Wednesday August 1 and Thursday 2. The ‘books’ in the library are queer and non-queer people from a wide range of countries and experiences, who will talk about an aspect of their lives for 10 to 15 minutes and answer questions.

Audience members will be able listen to several sessions in an evening. The Human Library is being organised with the OUSA International Students’ Officer.

Workshops will be held on healthy relationships and sexual health for queer and trans people. Details will be available on the Queer Support webpage from July 9 or email Hahna on hahna@ousa.org.nz.

Pride feedback

Feedback about the recent Dunedin Pride festival has been very positive with lots of “really great ideas”, says Hahna, who is also a member of the Q2 Trust board that organised the festival.

People who provided feedback “largely had a great experience” and there were no major criticisms. “People wanted a parade or walk that provided more visibility for Rainbow people, and some wanted a bigger party venue because the party sold out. They were keen for more social events, such as speed dating and dinners.”

A volunteer with the trust is organising a Pink Youth Ball planned for September. JR

Ngā wāhine / People

Building community through photography, performance installations and passion – the work of Tuafale Tanoai’i

Building community through photography, performance installations and passion – the work of Tuafale Tanoai’i (aka Linda T)

A personal tribute by Charmaine Pountney

Linda T & CharmaineBorn into a Samoan family in Kingsland, Tamaki Makaurau, and christened Tuafale Tanoai’i, she was also given the name Linda by an elder to link her to her Lufilufi aiga(family). Tuafale’s mother encouraged her to use Linda in her dealings with teachers and other Pākehā, as was common at the time in our schools. But now she is proudly Tuafale – tuafalethe3rd@gmail.com.

Known as Linda T, she was a student at Auckland Girls’ Grammar School from the mid-1970s to early 80s. She was in the band Elle Phyzeek, which competed in a talent quest, and one of a lively group of Samoan, Māori and Cook Island girls who ran a Friday disco club in the Cocoa House. Many of them went on to challenge racism, sexism, capitalism and all kinds of injustice in a variety of settings.

Linda also worked before and after school in a number of jobs, including paper runs and cleaning. When she was 14 she had a holiday job at the Foot and Mouth Painting Artists’ office, packing and posting artists’ cards, and became interested in the drawings and paintings. With her first pay she bought a Hanimex camera, which had tiny negatives.

Linda left school to work as a volunteer in the youth action movements of the early 1980s. She did odd jobs as a paid youth worker and as a DJ. Many older lesbians will have seen her at feminist and political events, with her wide smile and camera, and admired her energy and her commitment to documenting women’s activities.

In 1997 Linda answered an SOS from Hillary College, and after looking around and talking with students decided she should help a group set up a radio station within the school, to broadcast positive school and community news and music over lunchtime. With her combination of technology skills, love of music, and commitment to young people, she helped to energise student hope and pride during a hard time in the school’s story.

Tuafale exhibitionIn 2003 Tuafale began some undergraduate work in graphic design at AUT. She found academic requirements a challenge as an undergraduate, and dropped out when her partner, Edith Ridings, became terminally ill. Edith made her promise to return and complete a degree, which she did, earning a Master’s degree with first class honours in 2009, specialising in visual and performance installation art.

Taking pictures, putting up screens and linking with projectors may sound simple enough, but Tuafale has had many challenges. Often she had to sleep in her car to protect equipment overnight. She has been known to leap out and frighten off a group of youths intending to make off with her cables or gear.

Tuafale has also dealt with grief and loss, poverty and serious illness during her life so far. She says she has been blessed with enormous support from women throughout her life – her mother, her AGGS friends, mentors like Tui O’Sullivan and Vivien Bridgewater at AUT, Peggy Dunlop-Fairburn, other artists such as Janet Lilo and the D.A.N.C.E. art club women – too many to name. And, she says, she has always been surrounded by the love and awhi of our lesbian community.

Tuafale has always been close to her family, and cared for her mother during the last stages of her life with dementia. The enlargements of her photos of her mother during her last years made poignant and powerful exhibitions in China in 2016, at a Kelston Girls West Auckland Arts event, as well as at Studio One in Ponsonby in 2017.

Tuafale exhibition2Tuafale spent a couple of hours with Tanya and me in Grey Lynn in June sharing some of her story – she’s a neighbour now, renting a studio at Rachel House’s place. Tuafale is off to the USA for a month, to indulge her passion for music at the Essence Festival in New Orleans and other events, with her cell phone primed to film and record as much as she can. No doubt she will share these experiences as she has so many others.

From a 14-year-old with a camera, Tuafale Tanoai’i has become a leading Pasifika artist in Aotearoa. Pantograph Punch has a wonderful article about her work by Ioana Gordon-Smith: Building the Community (Archive): The Work of Linda T, which explores Tuafale’s commitment to her work as her gift to the people she films and photographs. The quotes from Tuafale show the depth of her commitment as an artist to supporting others.

See her exhibition, Storytelling as koha: consolidating community memories at the Homestead Galleries, Corban Estate Arts Centre, 2 Mt Lebanon Lane, Henderson, before it closes on Sunday July 15, if you can.

PS: The physical archive Tuafale has accumulated is costing her $500/month to store – it is a treasure trove which she funds from her limited and unpredictable income. If you are interested in helping, contact Charmaine for details.

* Photo of Tuafale with Charmaine by Tanya Cumberland

Te ao pāpāho / Media

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

International Film Festival season
Virago – old and contemporary literature

We appreciate the original cartoons provided by Helen Courtney. This one, Flight of fancy, seems to fit particularly well with Media.

International Film Festival season

This year, NZIFF says, it’s a programme “abounding with lesbian characters”. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but there are several – more than usual – films to check out. We’ve highlighted what look to be the most interesting below, listed alphabetically. When your area’s programme is released (check the website and Facebook for updates), check out what is listed under the genres of Lesbian, LGBTQI+, Feminism, Women Make Movies, for plenty of other women-focussed options.

The Auckland and Wellington programmes are now available online and in print; other areas will have their programmes released during July.

And Breathe Normally/Andið eðlilega, Iceland. This film is listed under Lesbian in the genre guide, but the write-up is not very informative: “A single mother turned border guard and a refugee from Guinea-Bissau form an unlikely bond in this intimate Icelandic drama about two people literally and figuratively trapped on the edge of the world”. Let’s hope that in spite of being ‘unlikely’, their bond is positive.

Blue My Mind, Switzerland. “Mia is the new kid in high school, alienated from classmates and at odds with her frustrated parents. Eventually her toughness wins favour with a trio of neighbourhood ‘Heathers’ as she explores with wild abandon the usual youth cocktail of sex, drugs and crime. The queen of the clique, Gianna, begins to crush on Mia just as she spirals out and begins a transformation. Mia is completely unaware that inside of her is a genetic time-bomb about to explode. Life will never be the same again.” Note, scheduled as part of the ’Incredibly Strange’ section.

Desert Hearts, USA. “The landmark lesbian love story returns to the giant screen as vibrant, beautiful and celebratory as ever”. Whether or not you saw this film the first time round (1985!), you’ll enjoy this. And there is a happy ending.

Disobedience, UK. “Rachel Weisz stars as a black sheep drawn back to her London Orthodox Jewish home, rekindling sparks with a childhood friend (Rachel McAdams); a graceful adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s novel”.Disobedience

The Heiresses/Las herederas, Paraguay. “This richly modulated tale of a couple who have been together for three decades may be the most remarkable [in this year’s festival]”. The thing is, they are not exactly ‘together’, in that one partner is in prison, for what appear to be crimes committed to keep her partner in the style to which she is accustomed.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post, USA. “A heartbreaking and nuanced performance as a queer teen shipped off to a christian gay conversion camp; an ode to survival and finding your logical family”. Based on the Emily M. Danforth novel.

Orlando, UK. Another film you may have already seen (released in 1992), and will want to see again. “Tilda Swinton strides through four centuries of history, switching genders as she goes; in Sally Potter’s adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s 1928 modernist novel, the joy is that the film comes over simply: a beautiful historical pageant of 400 years of English history, full of grand visual and aural pleasures, sly jokes, provocative insights, emotional truths – and romance…”OrlandoTildaSwinton

Rafiki, Kenya. “Fresh and brave, a tender, exuberant teenage lesbian coming-out tale has been banned in Kenya”. This might be the standout in a pretty good field.rafiki-4-CMJN_RGB-800-800-450-450-crop-fill

She Shears, Aotearoa. “This fresh dispatch from the heartland introduces two legendary shearers – and three in the making – as they head for black-shirt glory at the Golden Shears; for legends Jills Angus Burney and Emily Welch, personal bests have been world records”.

What Keeps You Alive, Canada. “Surrounded by breathtaking scenery and cold-blooded betrayals, wives Jackie and Jules attempt to celebrate – and survive – their one-year anniversary in this slick horror-thriller”. Also scheduled as part of the ’Incredibly Strange’ section.

The Christchurch programme launch is July 9, and the Dunedin launch is July 16.

Quotes are from NZIFF’s website.


Virago – old and contemporary literature

One of the treats at this year’s Auckland Writers Festival was the inclusion of films. One of these was Virago: Changing the world one page at a time, a BBC production.

This is available from the BBC website till 19 July 2018 only, so bookmark this page, and watch it while you can.

In case you haven’t yet viewed the film (don’t forget!), what makes it important? For starters, it’s a reminder of the world of work and business in the early 1970s: the women who started Virago (“an imprint for 52% of the population”) worked in publishing. They were secretaries or in PR – those were the only possible roles. And then they created and managed a successful commercial enterprise. It’s absolutely an example and illustration of the entrenched sexism of the time. (And how much is different now?)

The film is a story of so much wonderful writing, so many wonderful books. Works that I have read and now want to read again. Works I didn’t know they had published but which sound fantastic – is it realistic to convert my “to be read” list to “everything ever published by Virago”? They searched out works to publish and republish. They commissioned work especially for publication.

And there are authors there too: Sarah Waters talking about getting published is a highlight.

Some of the Virago books I own were bought new, but many were bought second-hand – I know I’m not the only person in an op shop or second-hand bookshop to scan the spines: the diagonal black stripes on white (Women’s Press) and dark olive green with an apple with a bite out of it (Virago).

Devoted Ladies is a modern classic, in the series of that name, and as an exemplar of that description. It was first published in 1934, the fifth novel in what was a collection of ten published by M. J. Farrell between 1928 and 1952. This was seen at the time as unlike the others, which are horsey, hunting Anglo-Irish romances – good works, some also published by Virago.

The ‘devoted ladies’ are Jessica and Jane. Except they are not very devoted. They are a couple, clearly meant to be recognised as such by the reader, and equally clearly read by some of their friends and acquaintances as nothing more than good friends.

“How awful you look, darling,” Jessica said as soon as she thought Jane was wide enough awake to be annoyed by what she said. “Do you feel terrible, or do you only look like that?”

They live in a world of inherited wealth, servants, genteel poverty. Jane and Jessica are not nice to each other. The gloss has gone off their relationship, although it may not have been very glossy to start with. Jane drinks excessively, Jessica is emotionally and physically threatening and sometimes violent.

No-one is nice, really – while there is no physical intimacy described with any of the characters, Farrell describes not only their actions and words, but also their motives and thoughts. So for those reasons it is not a particularly pleasant or easy read, and you can’t expect a particularly happy ending. It is, however, a well-written work. It is engaging, the pace varies and the story unfolds in a somewhat unpredictable way. It is a fascinating insight into a time and class that no longer exists.


He huatau / Opinion

Love Me As I Am

The Music of Mahinaarangi Tocker, Auckland Arts Festival, March 2018

“Shona Laing is playing her guitar in the dressing room, while Annie Crummer is gasbagging to Hinewehi Mohi and I’m trying to remember these tongue-twisting rhymes Mahinaarangi Tocker wrote”. So tweeted another Name in NZ Music, Moana Maniapoto, from a rehearsal for the Auckland Arts Festival concert to honour self-declared “mongrel” Mahinārangi – Māori, Celtic, Hebrew, Lesbian.

MTocker Ivan KarczewskiFamily, friends and some of the best-known musos of 1990s Aotearoa came together on March 16 and 17 to present a moving concert in memory of this talented singer–songwriter, who died a decade ago. There in the Auckland Town Hall they sang Mahinārangi’s songs, more than one of the professionals grumbling light-heartedly at how devilishly difficult these were to sing and to commit to memory.

The evening was a mixed experience. It felt wonderful / felt okay. It tingled the spine / fell a little flat. It was well attended / why was there not a full house? It got rave reviews and great coverage (especially from Radio New Zealand) / it didn’t get what it deserved.

Much symbolism comes with such a venue as the Town Hall – not least that the artist has “made it”. It’s a weird old space to fill, though. Was dry ice really needed, and did the cabaret-style tables and chairs work in place of the Stalls? Maybe. From the Circle, it was certainly fun looking down at them and their occupants.

A lot of soloists, a LOT ­– from ethereal Emma Paki to down-to-earth Don McGlashan – took their turns on stage. There was more than one group of outstanding backing musicians. Perhaps what avoided a sense of repeated entries and exits was producer Tama Waipara’s careful selection of recorded interviews with Mahinārangi, the otherwise absent star.

Some blink-and-miss-it moments occurred – I hope I caught them all. For instance GALS: the Gay and Lesbian Singers provided amazing backing vocals, but only at the very end of the penultimate (and title) song, ‘Love Me As I Am’. It seemed a shame. Good to know, though, that they were recorded for posterity – together with the rest of the concert (RadioNZ Concert).

Some voices had seen better days: hell, they’re the same age now as Mahina’s was when she died. We saw and heard singers who’d vanished after brief leaps to fame, and some of whom it might be said, “Nevertheless, she persisted.” Could any of this line-up do justice to Mahinārangi, who made music sound easy and whose notes were like quicksilver? What a bunch of diverse talent, though. And so many Live Famous People!

The performers were like a fifty-cent (or rather $50) mixture: some tried-and-true favourites, some disappointments, a few delicious surprises. At least one dragged out some truly annoying stand-up comedy to cover discomfort – that’s you, Anika Moa – but others seemed at ease with their material.

Shona Laing must, I thought, have really worked on her reo for this concert. Later, though, I learned that she and Mahinārangi had performed ‘My Love Be Still’, which has some Māori lyrics, for The Mongrel in Me show from 2004. Shona describes her as “a magnificent teacher. She just, you know, she was a tyrant with the accent.”

The most effective and affecting performances, I want to suggest, were by artists who, like Shona, were real “old hands” and had been able to make Mahina’s songs their own. Don McGlashan’s rendition of ‘When I Grow Up’ (first heard in the Like Minds, Like Mine campaign for mental health) sounded just like something he might have written. Moana Maniapoto offered a song that had been given to her by Mahinārangi: until she told us, I’d not noticed that ‘Papatūānuku’ was not Moana’s.

Annie Crummer chose work that, in Mahinārangi’s recording, had showcased seemingly effortless vocal acrobatics. Annie put her own spin on ‘Danger Kissing’, bringing a vocal richness and timbre very different from – but equally impressive to – the original. Lesbian muso Charlotte Yates’s performances in honour of Mahinarangi were both heartfelt and heart-wrenching: maybe Charlotte still holds a torch for this dear friend.

A relative newbie also showed she could produce goosebumps, however. Twenty-something Nadia Reid’s version of ‘Ending’ was perhaps the best and most effortless performance of the evening, the one that most evoked the original artist. Nadia reportedly asked to be part of the concert and, though they never met, has long admired Mahinārangi. In an interview before her national Ballads and Badlands tour of five years ago, she identified Mahina’s ‘Ending’ as one of the songs she would most love people to hear.

Mahinārangi’s family members book-ended the evening. Two Tocker sisters and – gasp – grown-up daughter Hinewairangi performed, largely a capella, bringing more goosebumps.

Don McGlashan was the only male soloist besides dancer Taiaroa Royal, whose mischievous demeanour with a pink fan was camp rather than blokey. What was Tai doing there, I wondered? Later I found out that he’d once shared a stage with Mahinārangi at New Zealand’s International Festival of the Arts, and that Taiaroa Royal – like other artists in different disciplines – had dedicated a work to her.

So another thing I’ve now learned about this much-missed muso is that she was a great collaborator. This is clearly one of the things that has prompted her peers and musical descendants to embrace her as they have. (Her ineffable talent is, of course, another.)

“I think she would have just loved all the versions of her songs,” Don McGlashan said at, and of, this tribute concert. “I think she would have just sat there and cracked up.” Yes, she would have laughed a lot: she was known for being full of humour. She’d have been in her element. But “sat there”? Never. As one of our art world’s best co-workers, she’d have joined in with gusto. How could she resist?

Claire Gummer

Photo by Ivan Karczewski and Kioui Pix.

Read William Dart’s reflections and listen to 30 minutes about the concert here, listen to Shona Laing talking about Mahina here, and read Radio New Zealand’s article about her career here.

Rātaka Takatāpui / Dyke Diary

National events
Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau
Waikato/Central North Island
Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Otago/Southland/Te taurapa o te waka

National events

hpa-survey-posterTakatāpui health survey: A national survey is gathering responses about takatāpui health with a target of 600 by August 31. The Honour Project Aotearoa is led by Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato, and Alison Green, Chief Executive of national health promotion organisation Te Whāriki Takapou. Click here to complete the survey​​; email Leonie on rangahau@waikato.ac.nz and Alison on tewhariki@tewhariki.org.nz.

Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau

To Sunday 15 “Story telling as Koha: consolidating community memories”, Tuafale Tanoa’i – aka Linda T, part of the Auckland festival of photography. “The work draws from decades of artist Tuafale Tanoa’i’s career as an interdisciplinary artist, community documenter and independent archivist, ranges from the political to personal, pertaining to Pacific, Māori, and LGBTQI communities.” Corbans Estate Arts Centre, 2 Mt Lebanon Lane, Henderson. Opening: 6-8pm; exhibition hours: 10am-4.30pm, 7 days. Visit festival and CEAC websites for details.

dykehikesprofileSunday 1 Dyke Hike 11am. CHANGE OF LOCATION DUE TO TRACK CLOSURES Now: Puweto Loop at Waitawa, near Kawakawa. A shorter hike through young regenerating bush, fields and pine forest. Lovely views of the harbour and islands. This is a relatively new park. The tracks cover hilly areas. We will walk to Waitawa Bay and Mataitai Bay. About 3-4 hrs. Meet at the car park within Waitawa Park near the shore. Grade: Moderate (boots recommended, expect a few hills and stream crossings are possible, moderate fitness needed). Email hike@lesbian.co.nz, visit www.lesbian.co.nz or the Facebook page.

Tuesday 3 Hidden Perspectives: Doing Queer Research Seminar with Arts librarian Mark Hangartner talking about University of Auckland library resources for LGBTI research. He will focus on theology and religious studies​, but the talk will be Lick Ak Candyvaluable for all people doing (or thinking about doing) research. Coffee and cookies provided. 12-1pm, rm 408, Arts 1 (Humanities) building 206, 14a Symonds St, city.

Saturday 7 Lick Auckland – Take me to the candy shop. 10pm-3am, Neck of the Woods, 155b Karangahape Rd, $10 before 11, $15 after. See the Facebook event page.

Thursday 12 Nurses’ march and rally to rebuild the public health system and employ additional nurses for patient demand. Congregate at the Queen St end of Fort St from 10.30am, march up Queen St from 11am to rally in Aotea Square to 12.45pm. Contact Donna Simpson, 027 600 6831. #NZneedsnursing #Aucklandneedsnursing See the campaign website.

Sunday 15 Coffee & Stroll. 10am, meet for coffee at Daily Bread, 1210 Great North Rd, Pt Chev. 10.30am a pleasant 40-minute stroll through Sanctuary Gardens Mahi Whenua, Unitec Mt Albert.

Thursday 19 Launch of Living with AIDS, a pioneering set of photo albums first produced by Fiona Clark in 1988, and reprinted by Michael Lett. The albums were first exhibited at the Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt and are now in the collection of Te Papa Tongarewa. The suite of three books come in a slip cover and include an essay by David Herkt, and a conversation between the artist and Ron Brownson. 5.30 – 7pm, Michael Lett, 312 Karangahape Rd. Copies of the book will be available at the launch for $85, and available through the website. See David Herkt’s article here about Fiona Clark’s Living with AIDS body of work.

Tuesday 24 GALS New members evening 6.30-9.30pm. A rainbow choir who welcome all, whatever their sexual orientation or gender diversity. Pitt Street Methodist Church, top of Pitt St, central Auckland. As you face the church, go down the lane on the right hand side; at the door half way down, go up the stairs to the first floor. GALS rehearse in “the parlour”. (Note, there are other choirs also rehearsing in the church – hence the detailed directions!) Details on Facebook event page.

Divine orderSunday 29 The Divine Order fundraising screening for the National Council of Women Auckland Branch. A warm and humorous drama about how women’s suffrage finally came to Switzerland in the early 1970s. 3pm, Capitol Picture Theatre, Dominion Rd. Cash refreshment bar. Tickets $20, by direct payment into the NCW account (12-3018-0033349-00) with your name and the number of tickets (eg J.Doe 3xtix), or contact NCW Auckland Branch at ncwnzauckland@gmail.com
Monday 30 Auckland Pride AGM 6pm, Studio One Toi Tū, 1 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby. Voting for board members is by Auckland Pride members only; any member of the community is welcome to attend the AGM. For details of membership, nominations, proposing agenda items, go to the Facebook event page.

Waikato/Central North Island/Hawkes Bay

Saturdays Rainbow Warriors women’s softball team play in the local league at Resthills Park in Glenview, either at 1pm or 3pm, depending on the draw. Check their Facebook page.

First Saturday of the month: Pink Drinks hosted by Hamilton Pride Aotearoa. From 6.30pm, Cook Street Social, 7 Cook St. Go to Facebook event page for dates & details.

Thursdays Social dodgeball for takatāpui and LGBTIQ+ people Nau mai haere mai! Folks of all dodgeball abilities are welcome and a gold coin koha is appreciated. 6.30-7.30pm, University of Waikato Faculty of Education Gym just off Gate 4, 213 Hillcrest Rd. See the Facebook page.

Sunday 15 Lesbian Social Group brunch 10am, Joe’s Garage, 6 Bryce St, Hamilton.

Saturday 28 Lesbian Social Group dinner followed by boogying on the town. RSVP please to confirm bookings; email lsg@hamiltonpride.co.nz with Burrito Brothers in the subject line. 6pm, Burrito Brothers.

Tuesday 31 Lesbian Social Group movie night with Funny Cow – the story of a female comic who rises to the top in the 1970s and 1980s. Lido Cinema, Level 1, Centre Place, 501 Victoria St, Hamilton. Please email lsg@hamiltonpride.co.nz to get a personal email of the time.

Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Manawatu

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.

‘The Topp Twins – an exhibition for New Zealand 9am-5pm, Monday to Saturday, National Library, corner Molesworth & Aitken Sts, ground floor. Free. See website for more information.

Little Boys Room

Friday 6 Cool Story Bro! Stand-up comedy that’s funny ’cause it’s true, hosted by Hugo Grrrl. For those who’ve ever said ‘we’ll laugh about this one day’ – the day has come! 8pm, the Fringe Bar, 27 Allen St, Te Aro. $16 from Eventfinda. See the Facebook event page.

Saturday 7 The Little Boys’ Room: A drag king cabaret hosted by Hugo Grrrl, 8pm, Fringe Bar, 27 Allen St, Te Aro. Tickets $15/$20 from Eventfinda. See the Facebook event page.

Thursday 19 Curator’s talk by Sian Torrington on curating the Topps Twins exhibition. 5.30-6.30pm, National Library of New Zealand, corner Molesworth and Aitken Sts, Thorndon. Sian Torrington, an artist, will speak on the particular perspective she brought to it as an artist and queer person. Visit the Facebook event page for details.

Saturday 21 Palmerston North Pun Battle Semi-final 2 See the city’s wordiest nerds and biggest pun-ks, punslingers and pun-dits battle it out in an intense and hilarious head-to-head pun-off. $1,300 cash prize. Hosted by Wellington-based drag king Hugo Grrrl. $18/$24, 8pm, Royal Hotel, 44 Rangitikei St, Palmerston North. See the Facebook event page.

Sunday 22 Women’s history in the Te Papa collection Join historian Barbara Brookes and Te Papa curators Katie Cooper and Matariki Williams as they explore the history of New Zealand women through objects and artworks from the museum’s collection. 3–4.15 pm, Te Marae, Level 4, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewam, 55 Cable St, city. All welcome.

Male tearsThursday 26 Male Tears: A Poetry Show Poetry from badass and bitter female-identifying people and queers. Hosted by Hugo Grrrl and Poetry in Motion Wellington. 7.30pm, Fringe Bar, 28 Allen St, Te Aro, $5. See the Facebook event page.

Friday 27 Wellington Pun Battle, heat #2, organised and MCd by Hugo Grrrl, queer friendly. 8pm, The Fringe Bar. See the Facebook event page.

Menagerie Variety Hugo Grrrl

Saturday 28 The Miseducation of Cameron Post – InsideOUT fundraising screening, 3-4.30pm, Roxy Cinema, 5 Park Rd, Miramar. $20/$25, tickets available online. See Facebook event page.

Saturday 28 Menagerie Variety Show Like the Royal Variety Performance but a lot younger, weirder and heaps more kiwi, with acrobatics, circus, comedy, dance, music, magic, burlesque, drag, poetry and more. Featuring drag king Hugo Grrrl with Eve Envy, right. Pix by Paradox Photography NZ. 8pm, Wellington Opera House, 111 Manners St, Wellington city. Tickets $45-$75 from Ticketmaster. See the Facebook event page.

Sunday 29 Wellington Feminist Poetry Club Sunday poetry workshop – Always Look on the Bright Side, with Kate Spencer. Bring paper and pen and your sense of humour to work on your playful poetry. Koha $5-$20. 2pm, the Fringe Bar, 28 Allen St, Te Aro. See the Facebook event page.

Sunday 29 Katherine Mansfield and ‘a woman’s place’ A conversation with Gill Greer & Lorae Parry. $20, includes refreshments. 2pm, Circa Two, 1 Taranaki St, city. See the Circa website for booking.

Christchurch/Ōtautahi, Canterbury/Waitaha and West Coast/Te Tai Hauāuru

The Christchurch Women’s Centre keeps a diary of events in Christchurch and elsewhere on their Lesbian Support (now “Rainbow 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.


Sunday 8 Lambda Trampers walk Mt Herbert, the highest point on Banks Peninsula. Meet at Princess Margaret Gate 3 for a prompt 9am departure. $10 per person to share a car. Contact Di on 389 3354 or 022 0935 817.

Thursday 12 Naked Girls Reading: Crime and punishment edition with Melanie McKerchar. A sexy book club – the art of storytelling with, you know, boobs – organised by MC Hugo Grrrl. 7.30pm, Space Academy, 371 St Asaph St, Christchurch city. $20 from Eventfinda. See the Facebook event page.

Friday 13 CAMP! Drag Show & Dance Camp party Chch.jpgParty for boi scouts, grrrl guides, and gender trekkers of all ways, shapes and forms. Hosted by Wellington drag king Hugo Grrrl, with DJs and best dressed prizes. 8.30pm, A Rolling Stone, 579 Colombo St, city. Tickets $10/$15 from Eventfinda. See the Facebook event page.

Ch'ch PBCSaturday 14 The Christchurch Pun Battle Championships semi-final #2 Hosted by Wellington drag king Hugo Grrrl, queer friendly. A Rolling Stone, 579 Colombo St, city. Tickets $18/$24 from Eventfinda. See the Facebook event page.

Otago/Southland/Te taurapa o te waka

Saturday 7 Wild Women walk in the Waitati area, combining the Opeke track around the east side of Blueskin Bay and the Waitati Estuary with coffee at the gallery or nursery. Meet near Woodhaugh Gardens bridge for 10am departure and carshare (bring $5 (or more!) for drivers). Travel on northern motorway ~18km, turn right at Waitati turnoff and park on the roadside near the gallery. If you need or can offer transport, txt Ann, 022 133 9529 or email acharlotte10@gmail.com.

Monday 30 – Friday August 3 University of Otago Students Association Diversity Week See the Facebook page.

Queerest Tea PartyMonday 30 Queerest Tea Party FREE delicious cakes, slices, tea and coffee and cupcake decorating competition, 12-2pm, University of Otago Main Union Common Room. People from off-campus welcome. See the Facebook event page.

Tuesday 31 UniQ Queer Quiz Teams of up to six and $5 per person, doors open 7pm, quiz 7.30-9pm, University of Otago Main Union Common Room.


July 23-29 Kvinnorum (Women’s Room), radical feminist gathering Sweden. Organisation created by lesbian radical feminists; event for women who would like to develop their radical feminist analysis of the world around them, any woman who has an interest in radical feminism can attend. Programme in English. Visit website for details.

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

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