Mahuru / September 2016

Our Mahuru update – all items collected in one handy page!

Dyke Diary

Ngā pitopito kōrero, news

National Day of Silence
Local body elections

Auckland’s Rainbow Panel achievements
Hamilton Pride Week expands
Celebrating queer and takatāpui histories in Wellington
Researching lesbian mothers
Charlotte’s winter dinners
Living wage: a lesbian issue
He Mana, He Wahine: Auckland Museum features women

Law reform fuels National Day of Silence

Day of Silence selfieAudio from the 1986 Homosexual Law Reform debates has been used in the video campaign for the National Day of Silence on Friday September 9.

Students across New Zealand mark the day by using a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of bullying, name-calling and harassment of LGBTTI people in schools, and more than 30 schools around the country are already involved.

“The contrast between historical audio with contemporary video shows about how far we have come and how much work there is yet to do,” says InsideOUT National Co-ordinator Tabby Besley. “We present the history of our struggle to unify our communities by strengthening the identities of its members.” Videos can be found on Youtube.

DayOfSilenceStudents are encouraged to download selfie templates from the campaign website and create Selfies for Silence, describing what they will do to break the silence about bullying of LGBTTI people. They can also upload selfies to social media with #dayofsilence, or email them to to be added to the gallery.

Local body elections

We profile three more lesbian local body candidates this month, from Canterbury and Waiheke Island. Please email us if you know of any other lesbian or queer female candidates. See our earlier profiles of Denise Yates, standing for the Waitakere Ranges Local Board in West Auckland, and Eileen Brown, standing for the Capital Coast District Health Board in Wellington. Aucklanders can meet Denise and Jo Holmes (below) at Rainbow Auckland’s meeting for the two major Mayoral candidates, Phil Goff and Vic Crone, on Friday September 9. Wellingtonians can question their mayoral candidates at the Scoop Wellington Wannabe Mayors Forum on Tuesday 13. See Dyke Diary.

For Canterbury’s water

LB Cynthia R2Ecologist and returned Christchurch resident Cynthia Roberts says she’d “always been so proud of Christchurch water, it’s the best in the world”. However, on coming back to live around family, she was dismayed and angry that this precious resource, worth billions, is now exposed to contamination by animal faeces and nitrates. In some districts such as Ashburton and suburbs of Christchurch water taken from bores is no longer safe to drink.

When she was approached to stand for Environment Canterbury on the left-leaning People’s Choice ticket, it was the water problems that led her to agree, despite her reluctance to give up her new self-employed freedom after working in the Department of Conservation and other institutions.

“Being away for 10 years, apart from family visits, I hadn’t realised how serious the problems were on the Canterbury plains – the march of irrigation, the intensification of dairying into factory farming, the loss of our biodiversity as more and more remnants of bush were cleared, particularly along the braided rivers.”

“I thought ‘I can make a difference, I can use my plant and ecological skills to change what has been done to the environment’.” Cynthia’s PhD research was on animal-plant interactions and climate change, and she felt she had valuable expertise. “I want to be inside the tent rather than banging from outside the tent, although we need both.”

Environment Canterbury (ECan), the Canterbury Regional Council, has been run by government-appointed commissioners since March 2010, when the National Government sacked the former council. This election will only partly democratise the council, with four councillors elected from Christchurch and three from rural areas, to work with six appointed commissioners.

ECan is responsible for the largest area of any regional council, from north of Kaikoura to Waimate. It sets limits for the leaching of nitrates from cattle and sheep urine and manure through the soil into waterways.

Cynthia says that one of the election issues is that ECan, “at the behest of the government, set very generous four-year limits that won’t control nitrate leaching. The software used to measure it is called Overseer. More money needs to be spent on making it appropriate for Canterbury soils, which are dry, porous, windswept and gravelly, like a colander. They are the most inappropriate soils for growing grass and farming cattle.”

“Farmers have to import huge amounts of palm kernel to feed their animals. More externals have been brought in to the Canterbury plains than are exported as farm products, so it’s not sustainable farming.” However, a law change is needed to change the nitrate controls, “so it has to go through due process – it’s not easy to change.”

Nitrates are part of a wider problem with inadequate monitoring and enforcement about discharges into waterways and extraction of water, she says. This problem includes toxic algal blooms from high levels of nutrients in waterways due to run-off from fertiliser.

LB Cynthia R1Cynthia says ECan has been “very lax. Cantabrians are really angry that corporations haven’t been complying all this time, and yet there have been very few prosecutions.” Fish and Game found that only 15 of the 382 complaints since 2011 of stock in waterways have resulted in prosecutions. Forest and Bird found that one in five irrigators were not complying with their consents, with some users recorded as taking hundreds of millions of litres of water more than they were entitled to and many others reporting either inaccurate data or not recording data at all. “There doesn’t seem to be sufficient will among the commissioners to prosecute people,” says Cynthia.

“Some farmers with resource consents to extract water haven’t monitored how much they are extracting – there’s no measurement. They’ve had warnings but no prosecution. These examples are angering Cantabrians.

“It’s hard to prosecute, you have to have uncontestable evidence and witnesses. If a neighbour phones about cattle in a lake, and you don’t visit until a week later, the evidence is gone. Their response has been very slow. They don’t have enough staff, it’s a lack of resources.”

Government have set the water quality bar so low; rivers in agricultural areas only have to be wadeable rather than swimmable, says Cynthia. “For people, rivers are a taonga – they value their local swimming holes.” She says people are angry that their river water “is so contaminated that it’s dangerous to swim in. There’s a real disconnect between the city and the country over the rivers.”

Cynthia says that “the water flow is so low in many streams that they can’t flush out algae. And this is all happening in the context of climate change and drought. Canterbury is in severe drought and has been for years; drought is our future. So farmers are now trying to take alpine water for irrigation. The glaciers are retreating, but iconic rivers and alpine lakes like Tekapo are the next goal for the irrigators, backed by the banks and the government.”

The People’s Choice ticket of three is a centre-left mix of Greens, Labour and independents, says Cynthia, which has “come together around sustainable cities and farming, protecting and restoring native habitat and landscapes, building resilience to climate change, and examining zero carbon, affordable transport. The team is working with the mana whenua, Ngai Tahu, about kaitiakitanga, guardianship.

“It is the first time that ecologists are standing for public office,” says Cynthia. “I hope that our knowledge about the environment will help shape policy. People’s Choice is also putting people forward for local body elections, so the ECan team is on the back of every flyer for local body candidates.

Cynthia is “pretty hopeful. There are eight people standing for those four seats. Our team of three is very knowledgeable about the environment and climate change. We’ve put up about 80 billboards, we’re using our social media networks, we’re going to as many environmental and community meetings as we can, door knocking, leaflet dropping and community markets. But because we’re elected by the whole of the city, it’s a huge task to get known.

Cynthia has had a long history of involvement in lesbian sporting and outdoor activities. She and her former long-term partner Roz were among the lesbians involved in Women Outdoors NZ (WONZ) for five years, and ran Bushwise Women for 10 years. This company ran outdoor experiences for women from a lodge on the Arnold River, on the South Island West Coast.

She says her lesbianism “doesn’t seem to be an issue. The people who approached me knew my relationship with Rosemary (see below). It is a sign of how far we’ve come. I know there are still struggles everywhere, but when I think of when I came out in 1981 and today, it’s very different.”

“I haven’t included my relationship in my 150-word candidate bio, but I always introduce Rosemary as my partner when we go to events. I’ve been a lesbian for 35 years. The People’s Choice caucus leader is a gay man, a long-term city councillor who was elected unopposed and is highly respected.”

“It’s been lovely sharing this experience with Rosemary. She was very encouraging when I was first approached, and now we’re both candidates, we can support each other.”

See Cynthia’s posts on the People’s Choice Facebook page. Jenny Rankine

A keen community person

LB Rosemary Neave galapagos tripAfter a long period of feminist and lesbian activism, Christchurch-based Rosemary Neave is standing for a local body for the second time.

She first stood for council while living in Waipu in 2006, unsuccessfully, and is standing this year for the Heathcote Community Board on The People’s Choice centre-left ticket in Christchurch. The community board “is much more the level at which I prefer to be,” she says. “My passion is trying to get the community involved in local decision-making; I’m keen to set up structures to do that.”

Heathcote includes the seaside suburbs below the Port Hills, Sumner and Redcliffs, where Rosemary and Cynthia have lived for a year. “Although I’m new to Christchurch, I’m a keen community person,” Rosemary says.

“We’ve just had a big win with the Redcliffs School, which the government wanted to close. The next issue is children being able to walk and cycle safely to school. We need to finish the coastal walkway and cycleway, and support local community and business projects.” She’d like to help set up some good connections so the community is more involved in local body politics; “I have to get in there and see what they’ve got first”. She’s thinking of Facebook and email lists, moving beyond existing conduits to small residents and ratepayers groups.

Rosemary is the secretary for Sustainable Otautahi/Christchurch, which organises public meetings, and supports other issues like a universal basic income. “We’re a long way off building better rather than duplicating the same mistakes,” she says. She is part of the Tuesday Club, which meets at an inner city bar and is focused on restoring democracy to Christchurch, and keeping new organisations, like Regenerate Christchurch, democratic and accountable to the community.

She’s also treasurer of the Viva Project, which aims to build co-housing villages. “We’re still trying to buy some land for community-driven housing projects. The government still owns and controls a lot of city land. The red zone, where whole communities have disappeared, is so badly damaged it’s unlikely to be housing again. People are talking about planting an urban forest and return it to wetlands, among other things.”

When asked about being out as a candidate, Rosemary said “I’m not in; I sometimes talk about my wife, but it doesn’t appear to be an issue. I find it interesting and refreshing that being lesbian on a ticket like this seems to be a non-issue. When you think of the fights we’ve had, it’s nice being normal – it’s one less battle to fight.”

LB Rosemary NeaveRosemary rated her chances above 50 percent. “I’m in Ruth Dyson’s ward, where she has a very strong personal following; people vote for her and for National. People won’t necessarily stick to a conservative ticket, if they can see a candidate is good. Campaigning as a couple is a win-win, we both promote each other’s candidacy; our flyers have each other on the back.”

The People’s Choice can use Labour Party volunteers, phone and address lists for leafletting. Rosemary had done two hours of door knocking when LNA rang; “I’ll have lunch and go out again, and do that as much as possible over the next two weeks. I’m spending half  my time on the campaign.

Rosemary managed the ecumenical Women’s Resource Centre in Auckland for 13 years to 2000, supporting feminists and lesbians in Christian denominations and beyond the church.  She then worked on a Methodist project until 2003 to connect new forms of worship.

Since 2000, she has run Women Travel, which networks and promotes women travellers with accommodation and travel businesses focusing on women travellers. For the last seven years, she has run Web2Blog, designing WordPress sites and coaching organisations like Public Good in linking their site with Mailchimp and social media. Rosemary hopes to continue with these projects alongside the Community Board role if she is elected.

See the People’s Choice Facebook page,  and Rosemary’s blog at  Jenny R

Campaigning against wasteful spending

LB Jo Holmes“Classical liberal” Jo Holmes said she is running for the Waiheke Island Community Board for the third time to “give the voters choice. The board at the moment is on a team ticket and the whole team is in there.”

Since she lost her seat on the board in the last election to the centre-left Essentially Waiheke team, Jo has increased her public profile outside Waiheke as the voluntary media spokesperson for the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance. She was approached by the Taxpayers’ Union to help set up the ARA, partly on the basis of her daily blog about council issues. The TU was co-founded by former National Party staffer David Farrar and lawyer Jordan Williams, who fronted the anti-MMP campaign in 2011.

“We duplicated their setup,” says Jo, “and were able to capture data easily. The alliance blossomed when Auckland Council raised the rates by 9.9 percent when the mayor had been elected on a ticket of rate rises of no more than 2.4 percent. We now have 17,000 members from none a year ago, more members than the Labour Party in the whole country.”

“So I have a high media profile, appearing on TV and radio and regularly quoted in the press; along with the fact that I’m pretty well known on Waiheke, my profile is as high as it’s ever been.”

She describes the alliance as a group of ratepayers that campaigns against “the culture of waste in the Auckland Council”. She questions the spending of the current local board’s discretionary budget of about $5 million; “the community has one horse-bridge to show for the money – it cost $200,000 dollars and goes from nowhere to nowhere. It’s in a site of ecological significance, an eyesore in an environmental beauty spot.”

She also says that “an awful lot of money has gone into trusts where it’s neither accountable nor transparent”, while she says roads haven’t been fixed or new footpaths built. She gives the example of the Waiheke Resources Trust, which received $500,000 from the council, “with no discernible benefit for the community. For example, they were supposed to clean up Little Oneroa Stream, but it hasn’t happened.”

Her political philosophy “is to get spending into core services, which have been cut around the region”. She describes core services as “roads, libraries, footpaths and bus shelters”, and says “what we get instead is the new council headquarters in Albert St costing $120 million for the refit, with faulty cladding requiring another $40 million to replace.”

She says the Auckland Unitary Plan will have serious implications for Waiheke, despite the previously Hauraki Gulf Islands District Plan that operated from 2013. The Unitary Plan change to the rural/urban boundary overrides the district plan, and makes it possible for developers to apply for land use changes removing the green belt between villages on the island. “We’ll just have to keep an eye on developers,” she says.

Another major issue she will be lobbying for is additional car parking space at Matiatia and Kennedy Point, the two Waiheke ferry terminals. “We’ve had a 20 percent increase in tourist numbers and more residents, with no additional carparks for over six years. It’s a huge stress on the 1,500 people who commute to the city every day, and anyone who needs to go to Auckland for health or other services.”

“The council owns a larger area around Matiatia for expansion of the terminal, but Auckland Transport been refusing to fund this core infrastructure,” she says. “The board’s job is to represent the people to council; maybe they haven’t been vociferous enough, or made a good enough case for the extra money.”

Jo is standing as in independent, and doesn’t know what her chances are. She hadn’t done much campaigning when we spoke to her at the end of August. The blog “takes 30 hours a week and I put another 10 hours a week into the alliance, which doesn’t leave much time.” She’ll print leaflets for the 3,500 regular resident households.

The ARA website says the alliance will not “develop into a ticket, or campaign for a candidate for Mayor or Council”. Jo doesn’t see a conflict of interest between her roles as ARA spokesperson and candidate.

She says “being a lesbian is not an issue with anybody at all on Waiheke; it’s a wonderful place like that, a very open and encompassing community. It’s fabulous.”

See Jo’s blog here. Jenny R

Rainbow Advisory Panel fate in the air

Jules Radford-Poupard, co-chair of the Auckland Council Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel, is proud of what the panel has achieved in its eight months of existence. She spoke with Jenny Rankine.

Rainbow Panel rainbowLeft to right: Aram Wu, Diana Rands, Julie Watson, Merv Taueki-Ransom, Duncan Matthews, deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, Jordon Harris (co-chair), Councillor Cathy Casey, Jules Radford-Poupard (co-chair), Bruce Kilmister, Mayor Len Brown, Lexie Matheson, Mark Fisher, Moira Clunie and Audrey Hutheson.

Julie says the panel’s biggest achievement is inserting ‘gender diverse’ as an option alongside male and female in council publications. “It’s slowly being rolled out, from joining the library to council publications going to households. It came home to me when I got a tweet from a trans person joining the library, who said ‘I can’t tell you what this means to have an agency ask this – I’m crying in a good way’.”

That change will enable the council to collate “statistics and some data about trans and gender diverse people”, Jules says. The council also now has gender neutral toilets in two council buildings, in Albert and Wellesley Sts in the city. “They’ve taken accessible toilets and made them gender neutral.”

Another achievement was the Homosexual Law Reform civic celebration – “we were really proud to work with council to mark that.” She acknowledges some feedback critical of the invitation-only nature of the free event, and the maximum of 180. “None of us wanted to cap the numbers, but they had to be capped because of the budget, so we asked Rainbow organisations to invite people. We’re not sure how else we could have done it.”

The panel has also completed Rainbow Communities Engagement Guidelines for council communications, which included inclusive ways to refer to the Rainbow community, gendered language, community diversity, spaces and events, and some statistics, as well as “a real push to gather demographic information about sex, gender and sexual identity. The guidelines will be reviewed and updated at least annually.

The panel also talked with council organisations and staff as well as being approached by the Auckland Pride Festival Board; OUTLine NZ; Tiwhanawhana, the takatāpui group from Wellington; Proud to Play; and the Parliamentary cross-party group of MPs on LGBTIQ issues.

The panel wrote to the mayor about the lack of research about Rainbow communities, which has led to a lack of evidence, and thus to underfunding. “We asked if they could tell us about the levels of funding for Rainbow communities, but they haven’t come back to us yet.”

Jules said the panel “did quite a bit of work on homelessness, presenting at a hui of the Community Development and Safety Committee. Their strategy didn’t mention LGBTI communities at all, so it was really good to get some awareness. People were really shocked that 26 percent of Rainbow youth in the US who come out to family become homeless, and that we don’t know if the levels are the same here.”

The panel met with two other advisory panels, including running a workshop with the Youth Advisory Panel about Rainbow issues. Jules said that a Rainbow Community Centre “is a priority if the panel goes forward” but that the panel wasn’t able to advance that project during the eight months. The panel supported a recommendation of closer collaboration between the advisory panels with “some community summits”.

The incoming mayor will decide if the Rainbow Panel goes ahead, because it is the only panel currently funded from the Mayoral budget. Jules said it was “really important that community members ask candidates whether they will support all the panels.

The panel had also had feedback from the committee who selected them about the individualist and sometimes inappropriate or excluding process the council used the first time. “They seem really open to suggestions about the process,” says Jules; “they don’t intend to select them all the same way. We’ve fed that formally back to council, so they have that for next time.”

Hamilton Pride Week expands

Hamilton Pride Week

Hamilton Pride Week from September 9 to 17 has more events this year, and the Lesbian Social group welcomes quiz teams from outside the Waikato for their popular Women’s Quiz Night.

New among the 15 events include the Wine Tasting of Mystery Creek Wines and a 10-Pin Bowling competition on Saturday 10; the Pride and Protest Poetry Slam on Thursday 15; and the Family Divercity Day at Whatawhata on Saturday 17, organised by Natalia Hemmings. And the Youth Spring Ball returns for the second time, for all senior high school students at the Meteor on Saturday 10, with a Red Carpet theme. Tickets are $35; email

Carolyn Michelle, a member of the Pride committee, and quiz mistress for the Lesbian Social Group (LSG) quiz, says Pride’s opening weekend would make a great destination for lesbians and queer women from other regions.

Anji Kreft and the Drag Kings from Auckland will be among the performers at the Pride Launch Party on Friday September 9, on Saturday the Women’s Quiz Night will be followed by delayed coverage of the All Blacks/Argentina game on the big screen, and “you can bring your dogs to the Doggie Day Out at Hamilton Lake on Sunday 11, which is always popular with women”.

Hamilton Pride DoggyShe’s hoping for more than 50 women at the quiz; they’ll tackle five rounds of 10 questions about general knowledge, entertainment, sport, history, geography and music. “It’s quite competitive and the prize tends to rotate between a few groups, so we’d love some serious competition from out-of-Hamilton teams.”

Entry costs $5 to cover venue and costs, and Carolyn advises teams to get there early to bag seats and drinks before the quiz starts at 7pm in Diggers Bar, 17 Hood St, Hamilton central.

The Pride theme this year is Acknowledging and celebrating the past, present and future, including the 30th anniversary of Homosexual Law Reform. The Pride organising group is bigger than in past years, Carolyn says – “there’s been renewed enthusiasm” – and quite diverse, ranging in age from early 20s to 50s.

See the events list on the website, or the Facebook page.
Jenny R

Celebrating queer and takatāpui histories

Tiwhanawhana FundraisersTo celebrate Queer Histories Month in September, Wellington takatāpui group Tiwhanawhana is organising four events on the theme of Whakapapa and histories: Keeping our stories alive.

Some of the events will raise funds to send three members of the Tiwhanawhana board to the ILGA World Conference of the International lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex association (ILGA) in Bangkok in November.

The first event on Thursday 8 is a fundraising screening of the recently released documentary Poi E, organised with the Wellington Pride Festival at the Lighthouse Cinema in Wigan St, city. Tickets are $20, and include a Tiwhanawhana poi performance. Proceeds will be shared between the two organisations.

The second event, on Saturday 10, is a Glitter-Haka-Ratzi Dance Extravaganza, organised with DANSS, the same-sex dance group. Tiwhanawhana’s kapa haka group and DANSS members will perform with other artists from 6.30pm, upstairs at Thistle Hall in the city. Entry is $10, door sales only.

The third event is an art exhibition titled Claiming identity, creating ourselves, featuring multi-media work by Tiwhanawhana chair Elizabeth Kerekere, and painters Jack Trolove and Peri Te Wao. Elizabeth’s work includes painting, weaving and contemporary tukutuku, and she hopes to do some stone carving in the hall during the exhibition. Other artists are welcome to donate work, and all proceeds will go towards ILGA conference costs. The exhibition opens at 6.30pm on Monday 12, and runs until Saturday 17 in the Thistle Hall Gallery in Wellington city; entry is free. See the Facebook event page.

Tiwhanawhana exhibitionThe last event on Wednesday 12 is the Leaving a Legacy workshop, “to look at ways we collect information and histories in our communities”, says Elizabeth. Quick-fire speakers will talk about different media, including art, waiata, photos, sound recordings, newsletters and social media. A facilitated discussion will examine “what voices are missing from those records”, says Elizabeth.

This will be linked to Tiwhanawhana’s National Rainbow Strategy, indicating “what information we have to go back and collect, and what records do we have to keep in mind for the future. A hundred years from now, what will people know about us from those records?” The workshop will be held in the exhibition gallery from 6.30pm, with gold coin entry.

“Tiwhanawhana is really excited to host these events”, says Elizabeth. Tiwhanawhana will be represented at Bangkok by Elizabeth and board members Kevin Haunui and Kassie Hartendorp. They will present at the conference on “using indigenous world views to creating a national Rainbow strategy”. (LNA will bring you more about this in October.)

Tiwhanawhana is working with ITANZ, the Intersex Trust of Aotearoa/NZ, and Rainbow Youth on a bid to host the next ILGA World Conference in Wellington in 2018.

Jenny R

Research on lesbian mothers

Lisa Melville is taking a much more in-depth look at lesbian mothers than most of us do.

One year in to her PhD, and having completed the preparatory work, she is now starting her research: interviews with women who have chosen to have one or more children while in a relationship with a woman, or wahine takatāpui/lesbians who have chosen to parent alone.

Lisa is anticipating interviewing individuals, as well as partners together, or families. Her recruitment method is word of mouth, a “snowball” technique, and includes contacting play groups for queer families nationally, where she would be happy to talk with a group. Although based in Wellington Lisa will be travelling to interview around Aotearoa New Zealand.

To participate, mothers will have to have had at least one child while lesbian/queer identifying, or be pregnant or trying to be pregnant, but of course some will have had children also in previous heterosexual relationships.

A major motivation for Lisa is the very limited information about lesbian mothers in Aotearoa New Zealand (there hasn’t been a survey based on lesbian mothers before). Maternity and fertility services are also highly heteronormative, and she is intending her work to result in solid recommendations for change.

Lisa’s theoretical base (necessary for this kind of academic work) draws on queer theory, which has been influenced by feminist and post-structuralist work, and queer geographies. This means the research is based on the idea that identities are fluid and exist within a social context. Heterosexuality of space is normalised and invisible, so it is often only through disruption of this space (such as gay pride parades or lesbians in a fertility clinic) that sexualisation of space, and underlying meanings of concepts like “family”, are exposed.

Lisa has identified immediate practical uses for her research, as well as it contributing to the general state of knowledge about lesbians, which is practical and useful. And also, it’s an opportunity to share our stories in the lesbian community.

She has been talking with the NZ Law Commission, which is reviewing the Property (Relationships) Act 1976*. The Act has been praised for recognising non-formal relationships, including – although only quite recently – same-sex relationships. However, a problematic aspect is its definition of “partnership”, raising questions about how that impacts on lesbians, and how we might want to address that. For example, one component of a partnership is that it is “publicly accepted and known”, a concept that is alien and sometimes dangerous for same-sex partners. Another is that the parties “share finances”, something that is not necessarily a reliable indicator in any relationship, but anecdotally, less likely in same-sex relationships. Lisa will hope to have questions in her work that address the identification of a partnership and to offer this information to the Commission.

Lisa is based in the Wellington area, but undertaking her PhD at Waikato University, because of the particular support and focus of her supervisors there – Lynda Johnston and Robyn Longhurst. She is being supported with two scholarships: a University of Waikato Doctoral scholarship, and one from the Waikato Graduate Women’s Educational Trust, a Merit Award for doctoral study.

Listen to Lisa talking with Karen and Joe of Wellington Lesbian Radio (starts at about 8 minutes, for about 11 minutes – but you might like to listen to the whole hour).

If you are a lesbian mother who would like to participate, or know of anyone who might, get in touch with Lisa via the Lesbian Mothers research website.

*The review of Act is lengthy, with a report to government planned in November 2018. Updates on progress, if you are interested, are at

Charlotte museum winter dinner series a success

Auckland’s Charlotte lesbian museum was the scene of monthly dinners and political conversations for the three months June to August.

The series was conceived out of discussions following the International Women’s Day shared meal and panel, where lesbian women shared cultural and ethnic perspectives on lesbianism. However, in contrast to the March event, the winter topics were picked to be more challenging.

The largest group participated in the first event, “Are museums a Pākehā construct?” and the smallest in the second, “Does our community honour the Treaty?”. The August event attendance, for “I don’t like the word ‘cis’, does that make me homophobic?”, was in between. All evenings had everyone engaged with the topic and participating in discussion.

The format was relatively straightforward: a small but comfortable venue, a delicious home cooked vegetarian meal, and a facilitated discussion. While organiser Cissy Rock won’t be repeating the programme any time soon, she does encourage other areas to have a go: it is an excellent way to challenge yourself, your ideas, and others.
Alison K

Living wage: a lesbian issue

Lesbians were noticeable at the Auckland Living Wage Women’s breakfast in August. Not surprisingly, more women in paid employment earn less than the living wage ($19.80 per hour, approximately $41,000 annually for full-timers, from July 1 2016) than are men. Once again, a women’s issue is clearly a lesbian issue.

The breakfast group heard a talk from Judy McGregor, now patron of the Auckland Women’s Centre and a former Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission. She theme was “get informed, don’t accept the unacceptable, get angry, take action”.

The Living Wage movement is particularly active in Wellington and Auckland, with upcoming events around local body elections. Commitments from mayoral, council and DHB candidates to make their organisations a living wage employer offers hope to some of the lowest paid workers in Aotearoa New Zealand, for example, cleaners.

Keep an eye on Dyke Diary, and keep up with events and activities on their website and on Facebook.

He Mana, He Wahine: Auckland Museum features women

Auckland War Memorial Museum started its latest series of LATE events with one featuring strong women, including lesbian activist and writer Ngahuia Te Awekotuku.

ngahuia-te-awekotuku-300x300pxThese events combine a panel with performance and other art displays, so it is a diverse and satisfying occasion.

There was a good-natured but none-the-less thorough and pointed discussion around women’s roles, women’s power, sexism and discrimination. Not all negative treatment of women started with colonisation, pointed out Ngahuia. She also gave an example of women’s skill (weaving) being valued on a par with men’s (carving), showing how women were valued pre-colonisation. And also noted, for the record, that the divide and unequal value given to “art” (men’s work) ahead of “craft” (women’s work) “is bullshit”.

Visit Radio NZ’s website for the podcast (51 minutes) and report of the event; search Twitter for the hashtag #AMlate.

Nga wāhine, people

‘Fijian-infused, queer-inflected’

These words by Selina Tusitala Marsh describe the writing of Gina Cole, whose first book Black Ice Matter Selina is launching in Auckland on Friday September 9. Gina talked with Jenny Rankine.

Gina Cole2Gina has written ever since she learnt from her mother at four. “My father became a lighthouse keeper when I was young,” first at Cape Campbell then at Farewell Spit and then Cape Reinga. “We lived remotely until I was five, and my mother taught me to write through correspondence school. My father subscribed to Readers Digest and Time/Life books, so I was always surrounded by books; all the classics, the Brontes, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Jules Verne, Treasure Island, as well as non-fiction books from Time/Life. We’d get boxes of books at once; we didn’t have TV. Farewell Spit is a magical, wonderful place. The landscapes and reading and writing all seemed like one thing to me. I’ve been back since and all the lighthouses are now solar powered and automated, except for Tiritiri Matangi,”

“As a child I loved reading haiku and writing them, because they’re so short. I wrote other poetry and short bits of prose. I always had notebooks and diaries, but I didn’t formally start to write until a bit at high school and then university.” Gina took “one writing class after another” after she had completed studying law at the University of Auckland.

While at university, she started reading short stories and entering short story competitions. “I started subscribing to the New Yorker in about 2004, where I read amazing short stories.” When she began working fulltime, “I found short stories and poetry fit with my work schedule.” She was encouraged when Albert Wendt, a judge of the 2013 BNZ Literary Awards Katherine Mansfield section, highly commended her story Tabua.

She won the Alternative Bindings creative writing competition in the Auckland Pride Festival in 2014 with her poem ‘Airport Aubade’, which was published in express, and was one of the judges the following year. Her writing has also been published in takahē, JAAM, Span and Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust Newsletter.

Black Ice coverAlthough Gina made her living from the law, “I always felt I’d done the wrong degree. So I started a formal English diploma at Massey University, writing poetry and memoir. I switched that to a Masters of Creative Writing at the University of Auckland, finishing in 2013.” The manuscript she produced as the writing requirement became her first book, ‘Black Ice Matter’.

Gina says that themes that recur in her stories include the politics of ethnic, sexual and gender identity, indigenous land rights, racism. “It starts with character; I don’t set out to write about a theme, the themes evolve out of characters interacting with each other, and plot.”

Gina is the oldest of four children and identifies as kai loma or part-Fijian. Her mother is Fijian and her father is Scots and Welsh. “My Fijian identity threads through my work. I’ve visited Fiji a lot.” Her parents met and married in Suva and came to New Zealand in 1959, where Gina and her siblings were born.

“I’m part of the Fijian diaspora that is not living in the homeland, but has a connection to it. It’s a displacement of identity, I was born and raised in New Zealand. My writing includes a lot of Fijian characters. Fijian culture is an oral culture, and that’s had an impact on the way I think and write.”

About sexuality, Gina says she “always knew I was different” and came out when she was about 23. “I identify as lesbian, and there are lesbian characters in my work, it’s just naturally there.”

She describes her writing as “realist prose with elements of fantasy or the fantastical, in how the characters view what’s happening to them, or how they interact with the world.”

Gina ColeGina says she fits her writing in the gaps of her day. “When I was writing for the Masters, I wrote every day. I didn’t have much of a social life, I was very disciplined. I’d write until I finished something and then rewrite and rewrite. I’d write early in the morning, read in the evening and in between I’d work. I’d read and write all weekend. I read in the genre in which I was writing, or research for what I’m writing, or poetry, writers I find inspiring. I love Pacific women poets – I find poetry really inspiring.”

“I always have a notebook, and I’d write on the bus, at the bus stop, on the train, in a taxi.” Gina says she picked up one habit from Joanne Drayton, who writes biographies and works near Gina. “I’d see her writing as she walked along. I’d never seen it before and started to copy her. I told her and she laughed; she said she got a lot of text down doing it that way. I walked in a nearby park – a few steps, I’d think of something and jot it down. The letters are terrible, I can hardly read it. I have very bad handwriting, I try to write too quickly.”

Gina had that magical and very rare writerly experience: “I sent the manuscript of 13 stories to Huia Publishers and they said they’d publish it. They’re very supportive and encouraging, it’s been a great experience.” Selina was Gina’s Masters supervisor; “her poetry is amazing and she has been integral to completing this manuscript.”

The collection starts in Fiji, where political violence has crushed the lives of a heterosexual couple, and ends with a woman and her girlfriend on a gridlocked Newmarket viaduct in Auckland. “There are families caught between Fiji and New Zealand, lesbian couples in love and trouble as well as heterosexual breakdowns. Stories double and mirror each other, people are in constant movement along surprising trajectories, nobody stays put.”

See Gina’s author page, and Dyke Diary for the launch details.

Te ao pāpāho, media

Auckland gay liberation photos return to gallery
The Lexa Pledge – ending TV’s lesbian death trope?

Auckland gay liberation photos return to gallery

Fiona Clark.jpgTaranaki lesbian photographer Fiona Clark has had a collection of her photographs bought by the gallery from which some of them were originally stolen.

Last month, Auckland City Gallery bought Clark’s Dance party series of 10 photographs from a gay liberation dance in 1974. The series was due to be shown at the gallery two years after the party in ‘The Active Eye’, the first major curated exhibition of New Zealand photography. But the police threatened to prosecute Fiona for obscenity because the photos were surrounded by hand-written comments about the images and their subjects, by one them – Karl, aka Tracy Karl, who Fiona describes as a “wonderfully witty” drag queen.

fionaclark02“But they never prosecuted because two prints from the set of 10 went missing from the gallery director’s office after the police were shown them. The exhibition never went ahead; the gallery said ‘if we can’t show those we won’t show anything’, so they shut that part of the gallery and packed up everyone else’s work.”

The photos were never returned, but Fiona recreated them. The exhibition was shown in Auckland for the first time during the Pride Festival this year, when Artspace included the series as well as Fiona’s exhibition For fantastic Carmen as part of an exhibition titled ‘The Bill’. [Photo of Dance party at Artspace by Sam Hartnett.]

Varda Residency

Varda houseboatIn September, Fiona will be one of the four artists invited to the Varda Residency, a five-week visit on a 136-year-old passenger ferry-turned houseboat at Sausalito, San Francisco. The residency includes private events arranged to enable visiting artists to meet local artists, creators and thinkers.

As a member of Friends of Waitara River, which attempts to protect the river and coastline from waste generated by the Taranaki oil and gas industry, Fiona is keen to look at abandoned oil wells in the area surrounding the houseboat. “The most interesting thing about the area is that Marin County has banned fracking (injecting high pressure liquid to force open underground fissures and extract oil or gas); where I live in Tikorangi, the ground is all fracked – there are seven well sites very near to me.”

“The aquifers underneath California are protected, whereas in New Zealand, aquifers are contaminated by nitrates from dairy farming. If our aquifers were protected, the drinking water in Havelock North wouldn’t have made people sick.”

“I also want to look at the archives of the women residents on the houseboat, and the Lesbian Visual Artist (LVA) archive from 1970s to the 1990s.

The Lexa Pledge – ending TV’s lesbian death trope?

Barbara Bennett explores the fan movement that turned one-too-many fictional lesbian deaths into a promise to stop killing off LGBTQ TV drama characters at a much higher rate than their heterosexual peers.

LexaAmerican show The 100 killed off one of its characters on March 4, 2016, provoking a roar of internet outrage so loud that it reverberated through to traditional print newspapers – even Granny Herald heard the cry. This is because what started as a single fandom’s moment of pain and perceived betrayal had become a movement which aims to alter permanently the representation of LGBTQ characters on television.

Featuring a predominantly young cast and squarely aimed at a young adult audience, The 100 is a post-apocalyptic science fiction series that is publicly proud and praised for creating a fictional world devoid of sexism, racism and homophobia. In season two its first openly queer character was introduced, warrior commander Lexa, left above. She was a little jaded about love just then; her past girlfriend having been decapitated and her head placed in Lexa’s bed.

The show began to hint at a possible romantic or sexual connection between Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and major character Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor). At the same time the show’s creative staff and actors teased and discussed the pairing (dubbed Clexa by fans) on Twitter.

Lexa Clarke kissThe show is aired on the CW Television Network, which is owned by CBS and Warner Brothers; the network’s marketing strategy aims for shows to engage fans intensely on social media, creating fan-driven promotion and building audiences.

When viewers learned that Debnam-Carey was signed to a new show they expressed their fear that Lexa might die; The 100 creator Jason Rothenberg responded by tweeting a photo from filming of the season’s sixteenth and final episode, showing a fully-costumed Debnam-Carey and Eliza Taylor eating candy.

He helpfully pointed out they had ‘picked the rainbow kind’ in case anyone had missed the increasing allusions to a Clexa hook up. So when the thoroughly Clexa-hyped seventh episode came, fans were feeling secure in their excitement: and sure enough their beloved pairing did indeed finally consummate their slow, slow boil passion.

Unfortunately, before anyone could even think the words ‘post coital’, Lexa was killed by a stray bullet. (See Clarke and Lexa getting lucky then not so lucky here.) Seems that rainbow candy is sometimes also Ghost Lesbian candy.

Lexa Bea-smith Wentworth 2016Disappointed, and in some cases shattered, fans swiftly turned the previously amicable social media space into a battleground. Shortly before the next episode aired the following week, the show’s Twitter accounts were bombarded by a hell storm of tweets containing, among other things, accusations of queerbaiting (alluding to the time-honoured TV tradition of drawing out a prospective LGBTQ relationship, only to drop the storyline once it had boosted ratings, without the relationship ever fully actualising).

Each protest tweet carried the hash tag ‘buryyourtropesnotyourgays’, and the episode received the lowest rating in its entire history. Websites and tumbler accounts sprang up in protest, including a successful fundraising campaign for The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth welfare and suicide prevention organisation. There was even a t-shirt.

Lexa Poussey Washington OrangeIsTheNewBlack 2016It is hard to deny that, since the advent of social media and incessant commenting, the internet has become a citadel of righteous indignation, outright anger, and not so occasional persecution complexes. It would be easy to view the rage at Lexa’s death as coming from another group of uber-fans taking their television far too seriously.

Trish Bendix, editor of the lesbian pop culture site AfterEllen, initially adopted this stance. Swimming against the rising tide of anger from both inside and outside The 100 fanbase, she accurately pointed out that it was a violent show that was never shy of killing off major characters. Backing up the besieged creators, she defended the death as bold and narratively necessary before exhorting her readers to turn their energy towards addressing real-life oppression faced by LGBTQ people throughout the world.

Lexa Maddie Heath Coronation St 2015There was logic to this view, but the point that Bendix was missing – and that The 100 creative team were as yet failing to grasp — was that Lexa wasn’t just a dead fictional lesbian. She was yet another in a long line of dead fictional lesbians, a recurring theme called a trope.

The reference to the bury your gays trope (also known as Lesbian Death Syndrome) during the Twitter attack was evidence and deliberate evocation of a frustration and conversation that had been running hot well before this most recent death.

Not surprising, given that five lesbian characters had already pre-deceased Lexa in 2016 (throat slit, strangled, cancer, infected by alien pathogen, shot). Bury your gays is shorthand for the narrative tradition dating back before the mid-1900s that allows queer (predominately lesbian) relationships to be shown developing, but demands that at least one of any such pairing will die before or at the first point of achieving happiness.

Lexa Kate LastTangoInHalifax2015Where once this death was portrayed as a natural consequence of deviance, with the surviving partner now able to be saved by Heterosexuality, in more recent times it  generally occurs to save the life of or further the character growth of another, usually straight, character.

Achieving its literary zenith in the 1950s and 1960s pulp fiction to which Patricia Highsmith’s The price of salt, filmed as Carol, was the blessed they-both-lived exception, this tradition flowed seamlessly into television.

Autostraddle, another LezBi pop culture site, supported the growing Lexa protest by providing a convenient list of the 130 dead lesbian or bisexual women they had managed to count throughout television history, starting with the first recurring character on American television being run over by a truck. The list currently stands at 162. Included are Bea Smith, above, of Wentworth, killed in 2016; Poussey Washington of Orange is the new black, 2016; Maddie Heath of Coronation Street, 2015; and Kate of Last tango in Halifax, 2015.

The first fully-developed relationship between two major characters on American television, Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara Maclay (Amber Benson) on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ended with a death. In 2002 the pair had just reconciled after a relatively lengthy break when Tara was killed by a stray bullet.

Lexa Jay Copeland ShortlandSt 2007Popping in to prove that noxious lesbian stereotypes know no boundaries is Shortland Street’s Jay Copeland (Jaime Passier Armstrong, on the right) who with industrious Kiwi spirit managed to squeak in two lesbian-cheats-on-girlfriend-with-man tropes (the first to get pregnant, the second for monetary gain) before falling victim to a serial strangler.

While Autostraddle outlined the burden of history, newly-born website calmly laid out the statistical twigs that fuelled the conflagration sparked by Lexa’s death:

  • 3 months into 2016, 40 percent of the queer female characters existing at the beginning of the year had been killed.
  • In the 2015-2016 season, queer female characters made up a little under two percent of the characters on prime-time scripted TV but accounted for 10 percent of deaths.
  • 65 percent of shows with queer female characters have at least one of them killed.
  • Queer female characters are five times more likely to be killed than have a happy ending.
  • From 2013 – early 2016, 70 queer woman characters had died.
  • And the saddest statistic of all – LGBTQ youth are four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers.

Lexa we deserve betterWe deserve better (left) points out that, unlike most other minorities, LGBTQ people most often do not share their identity and experience of bigotry and marginalisation with their family. Indeed for some, their family itself is a source of oppression. Combined with varying degrees of social and legal discrimination, this can lead to great isolation for LGBTQ youth.

In these circumstance queer TV characters may provide affirmation, positive role models, and a sense of belonging that is otherwise unavailable. In this way a TV character is not just a TV character; they are a metaphorical, and in some cases, literal lifeline. When they are relentlessly killed off they become a message – love equals death.

With fans joining the lesbian death dots and explaining the significance of representation for LGBTQ young people, an increasing number of show writers and producers (including the writer of the Lexa death episode) began to apologise for their unthinking use of the negative trope.

Two shows whose genre permitted them to do so brought back their dead lesbians. And led by Saving Hope writer and executive producer, the Lexa Pledge came into existence – a promise about how writers and producers will treat LGBTQ characters in future television drama storylines. It was first signed in April 2016 by 15 US-based writers and producers and continues to gather signatories and detractors, most importantly keeping the conversation going.

Rātaka takatāpui, Dyke Diary

Auckland/Tamaki Makaurau
Waikato/Central North Island
Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Nelson area/Whakatū


DayOfSilenceFriday 9 National Day of Silence: a national student-led event that brings attention to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBTQIA+ students and those perceived to be LGBTQIA+. Visit website and InsideOUT Facebook page for details.

Auckland / Tamaki Makaurau

SisterAnzacWednesday 31 August-Saturday 3; Wednesday 7-Saturday 10 Sister Anzac 7pm. Promenade performance, Maritime Museum, Viaduct Harbour. Directed by Amanda Rees, the play is a poignant and personal story of love and bravery, of women who battled the military in order to serve their country as nurses in WWI. Tickets $50 from

LivingWageElectionMeetingAkThursday 1 Living Wage People’s Assembly Election meeting with Auckland Council mayoral and council candidates, focusing on a living wage, housing and transport. 5.30pm, St Matthew in the City, cnr Federal, Wellesley and Hobson Sts, city. Email Cissy Rock on or phone 021 964 884.

SisterAnzacThursday 1-Saturday 10 Sister Anzac 7pm. Promenade performance, Maritime Museum, Viaduct Harbour. Directed by Amanda Rees, the play is a poignant and personal story of love and bravery, of women who battled the military in order to serve their country as nurses in WWI. Tickets $50 from

WSAConference poster1Friday 2 – Saturday 3 Women’s Studies Association/Pae Akoranga Wahine conference, New landscapes in feminism and Women’s Studies, University of Auckland, with exciting guest speakers. See the website or email

Sunday 4 Dyke Hike Dalys Clearing Loop, Waitawheta Valley (Kaimai Ranges). This hike will take us through some beautiful kaimai forest including lovely nikau palms, past the Dalys Clearing hut. There will be a small river crossing and some steep hills. Be prepared for rain – this is a very wet part of New Zealand. Directions: Drive to Paeroa and through to the Karangahake Gorge. Turn right onto Waitawheta Road from State Highway 2, and then turn onto Franklin Road. We will meet at the carpark almost at the end of this road where the Dean track begins. 4.5hrs. Grade: Moderate (boots recommended, expect a few hills) – Hard (boots required, tracks may be rough, steep hills, reasonable fitness helps to enjoy these ones). Email, visit or the Facebook page.

Friday 9 Launch of Black Ice Matter, Gina Cole’s debut Gina Colebook of short stories, with Selina Tusitala Marsh who describes it as ‘Fijian-infused, queer-inflected, and crafted with legal precision’. 6pm, Tautai/Artspace, level 1, 300 Karangahape Rd, Newton. RSVP by August 31 to or phone 04 913 1839.

Friday 9 Auckland Mayoral Candidates meeting, and introducing lesbian local body candidates. Featuring presentations and answers to questions from Phil Goff and Vic Crone. Organised by Rainbow Auckland (formerly the Gay Auckland Business Association). 6pm, Ponsonby Bowling Club, 105 Jervois Rd. $10 for non-Rainbow Auckland members.

Wednesday 14 aLBa meeting 6pm at Garnet Station. AGM with guest speaker Tilly Lloyd, of Unity Books in  Wellington. $10; free for aLBa members.

Sanctions picThursday 15 Stop the Sanctions Campaign Launch This campaign aims to remove sections 176, 177 and 178 from the Social Security Rewrite Legislation Bill, because they impose a $22-$28 per week, per child, penalty on sole mothers who do not name the father of their child and who are already struggling to survive.  This sanction affects approximately 17,000 children and more than 13,000 women (more than half of whom are Maori) and only 318 men. Sign the online petition or click here to print it, and here for more info.  With speakers from Auckland Action Against Poverty, the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges, the National College of Midwives, Child Poverty Action and Lisa Fox, a former Community Law Centre worker. 1pm, Garden Room, Grey Lynn Community Centre, 510 Richmond Rd, Grey Lynn, free with nibbles provided. See the Facebook event page.

Saturday 17  Mosaic workshop with Natasha Norton, 10am, Charlotte Museum, 8a Bentinck St, New Lynn, email

Sunday 18 Coffee & Stroll: 10am, meet for coffee at the Delicious Food Store, 547 Te Atatu Rd; 10.30am, drive to Harbour View Beach Reserve (at the end of Harbour View Road) for a 30-40 minute stroll.

Sunday 18 Fifth Season Gardening Group at Auckland Botanic Gardens. Meet outside the Information Centre, Hill Rd, 2pm, check out the winter & spring colour section. Afternoon tea at Cafe Miko is free for members. All welcome. Contact Wendy Wilson, 027 548 3510 or

NCW Suffrage Day 2016Monday 19 Suffrage Day celebration of 123 years of women having the vote. Organised by the Auckland Branch of the National Council of Women, 12.30–1.30pm, Auckland Suffrage Memorial, Lower Khartoum Pl, CBD. Phone Angela Radosits, Civic Events, Auckland Council, 021 827 326.

Monday 19 Women’s Health Action celebration of 123 years of women voting with Louise Nicholas, speaking on From victim to survivor – Walking through the criminal justice system. She will also receive the Women’s Health Rights Award. 6-7.30pm, Gus Fisher Gallery, 74 Shortland St, Auckland city, includes a raffle, nibbles and a glass of wine or juice, $20. Tickets from Phone 09 520 5295 or email

womenfestMonday 19 – Friday 23 Womenfest by Auckland University Students Association, includes a Suffrage breakfast, movie screening, trans panel, women in leadership networking event, women student forum, reproductive rights panel, debate on female athletes and pub quiz. See the Womenfest Facebook page.

Friday 23 – Sunday 25 Master/mistress class: Strengthening anti-racism praxis, with bisexual feminist Heather Came and Susan da Silva. Agenda partly depends on what participants want; may include avoiding collusion with institutional racism; a refreshing structural analysis of neo-liberal arguments; and others topics. 6pm start Friday, 2pm finish Sunday, Kotare Centre for Social Change, 510 Wayby Station Rd, Hoteo North, Wellsford. $250 for those representing institutions, $115 others, or free for South Islanders; includes food and accommodation. Contact Susan ( about content and agenda and Heather (, phone 021 539 063) about registration and logistics.

OUTline consultSaturday 24 OUTLine community consultation, 10am, Rainbow Youth drop-in centre, end of Abbey St, off Gundry St, off Karangahape Rd, Newton. Phone 0800 OUTLINE (688 5463) or email

deafrainbowSunday 25 Deaf Rainbow celebration the Deaf Rainbow GLBT International Week of the Deaf celebration. Presentations from gay community organisations with NZSL (New Zealand Sign Language) interpreters, plus an invitation to have fun learning a little bit of NZSL and test out some useful everyday vocab and meet people from the Deaf Rainbow community. Handwaves! (Deaf applause). 1-3pm, Garnet Station, 85 Garnet Rd, Westmere. Free. Visit Facebook event page.

Pride Dykes on MicsSunday 25 Dykes on Mikes, open mic night for lesbians, 7-9pm, Garnet Station, 85 Garnet Rd, Westmere. This is a night for dykes that just might … get up behind the mic, over come stage fright, give the audience a delight. Women only, for all sizes, stages, levels of performance. Contact Cissy 021 964 884 or visit the Facebook event page. Come for pizza, cakes and drinks first – koha on entry.

Tuesday 27 Trolls, dick pics, revenge porn: Online harassment against women, forum chaired by Alison Mau, with columnist and musician Lizzie Marvelly, AUT lecturer Pani Farvid and Richie Hardcore, board member at Rape Prevention Education. Organised by Auckland Women’s Centre, 7-9pm, Western Springs Garden Community Hall, 956 Great North Rd, Western Springs. Free. RSVP to

Waikato/ Central North Island/ Hawkes Bay


Friday 9-Saturday 17 Pride Week See the Facebook page for event details.

HamiltonPrideLaunchFriday 9 Hamilton Pride Week launch party 7-11pm, The Meteor, 1 Victoria St, Hamilton central. The all inclusive launch party for Hamilton Pride Week 2016 – a great chance for everyone in the LGBTTQIA+ community and friends to get together in party atmosphere, and kick off the week! Doors open 6.30pm, all ages; gold coin koha. Details on Facebook event page.

Friday 30 Deco Divas drinks, Loading Ramp, Havelock North, 6.30pm, email, see Deco Divas listing on our Social page.

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.

Thursday 1 Wellington City Mayoral candidates’ forum, A Fairer Wellington. Organised by Living Wage, calling on candidates to commit to ensuring that every worker, including those employed via contractors and in council-controlled organisations, is paid a minimum of the current NZ Living Wage rate ($19.80/hr), 6-8pm, Wesley Church, 75 Taranaki St, city.

Thursday 1 – Saturday 3 Social Movements, Resistance and Social Change III forum  Academic and activist interface, Victoria University. Free, but those who are able to, and those with institutional support, are encouraged to donate up to $100 (or more), to assist with travel/accommodation costs for students and unwaged/low-waged people from outside the Wellington region. Presentations are invited to address, amongst other topics, LBGTQI activism and Feminist activism. Registration closes July 15. See website; contact

WEGC_PrideMonday 5 ‘Politics and LGBT+ rights’ MP panel as part of Wellington East Girls’ College Pride Week 2016. 4pm, College Hall, Austin St, Mt Victoria. Grant Robertson, Jan Logie, Kevin Hague, Louisa Wall are forming a panel to answer questions on a range of queer and political topics; questions to Hadas Mayron, Visit Facebook event page.

Free entry. All students and teachers from the Wellington region, as well as members of the LGBT+ community are welcome

OutInTheParkFundraiserThursday 8 Absolutely Fabulous movie night fundraiser, Out in the Park. 6.30pm. Lighthouse Cinema, Cuba St. Tickets $25 and include a glass of bubbles or juice on arrival. Book tickets at; visit Facebook event page.

Living wage bannerThursday 8 Hutt City Council Candidates’ Forum, A Fairer Hutt City. The Living Wage campaign will call on candidates to commit to Hutt City Council becoming a Living Wage council and paying all workers in the council workforce, including those employed via contractors, the current NZ Living Wage rate ($19.80/hr). 6-8pm, St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 76 Waiwhetu Rd, Lower Hutt.

Thursday 8 Fundraising screening of Poi E with Tiwhanawhana, 6.30pm, Lighthouse Cinema, Wigan St, city, $20, email for tickets.

Saturday 10 Tiwhanawhana and DANSS Glitter-Haka-Ratzi Fundraiser Performance by Tiwhanawhana from 6.30pm, and many others during the evening insterspersed with mingling and dancing. A combined fundraiser to help three Tiwhanawhana members go to Bangkok in November for the ILGA World Conference. 6pm, upstairs, Thistle Hall, corner Cuba & Arthur Sts. Entry $10.

TiwhanawhanaMonday 12 Toi Takatapui – Tiwhanawhana Art Exhibition opening, featuring the work of Elizabeth Kerekere and Jack Trolove; other artists are welcome to donate works for sale. Fundraising for Tiwhanawhana’s work in Rainbow communities nationally. 7pm, Thistle Hall Gallery, corner Cuba & Arthur Sts. Exhibition runs to Sunday 18. Contact Elizabeth at; visit the Facebook event page.

Tuesday 13 Scoop Wellington Wannabe Mayors Forum with the eight mayoral candidates. 6pm, Prefab Hall, Jessie St, koha, cash bar.

Wednesday 14 Leaving a Legacy workshop on creative ways to record and preserve our diverse identities, cultures and world views. Organised by Tiwhanawhana. 6.30pm, Thistle Hall Gallery, cnr Cuba and Arthur Sts, city, gold coin donation. Email aionokerekere@outlookcom.

NCW Conference-2016Thursday 15-Friday 16 Gender equality: Driving cultural change conference, organised by the National Council of Women. Speakers include Menghzu Fu, Shakti Youth Co-ordinator, Rosemary du Plessis, Pauline Kingi, Anya Satyanand and many more; workshops include pay equity, unconscious bias, pornography, and more; panels on gender equality and other topics. Te Papa Museum, CBD. One day $368, two days $540.50. See the conference website.

Thursday 15 Porirua City Council Candidates’ Forum, A Fairer Porirua. Organised by the Living Wage campaign, calling on candidates to commit to Porirua City Council becoming a Living Wage council and paying all council workers, including those employed by contractors, the current NZ Living Wage rate ($19.80/hr). 6-8pm, Porirua Pacific Islanders’ Presbyterian Church Hall, Cannons Creek, Porirua.

Friday 16 Kapiti lesbian drinks and dinner Finn’s pub, Paekakariki. Phone Finns on 04 292 8081 and add your name to Sally’s table if you intend staying for dinner.

Sunday 18 DANSS classes for LGBT people and friends to learn classical Ballroom, funky Latin American and elegant New Vogue dance moves, upstairs, Thistle Hall, corner of Cuba and Arthur Sts, koha. 7pm, Beginners Waltz; 8pm, Intermediate Cha Cha Cha. See the website  or the Facebook group page, or email

eugeniaSaturday 24 Eugenia, A rehearsed public reading fundraiser 2-5pm, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, central Wellington; tickets $15 (discounts available). Written by Lorae Parry, set in 1916 and the present, Eugenia tells the story of Eugenia Martelli, an Italian immigrant at the beginning of the century, who lives as a man and marries a woman without revealing her true gender. Fundraising for Scarlet & Gold, Lorae’s new play scheduled for December, about women in the Waihi strike of 1912, which was the first union action in New Zealand where women played an active and innovative part.

Sunday 25 DANSS AGM 7pm, Upstairs, Thistle Hall, corner of Cuba and Arthur Sts. No beginners class, 8pm, Intermediate Samba and Rhythm Foxtrot, koha. See the website  or the Facebook group page, or email

focusgroupThursday 29 Focus group – Lgbtiq communities and data linking 6.30-8.30pm. Post House, 7 Waterloo Quay, Pipitea. University of Auckland/Stats NZ are holding this focus group to see if linking survey responses to government agency data has any issues for LGBTIQ/Rainbow communities. For eligibility criteria, more information and contact details, visit the Facebook event page.

Nelson area/Whakatū

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

Sunday 4 Nelson brunch/lunch, 11am, Sinful Coffee, 276 Queen St, Richmond.

Wednesday 7 Nelson Pool night, from 5.30pm, Shark Club, 132 Bridge St, Nelson.

Sunday 11 Nelson Walking group 10.30am, all welcome, including dogs.

Wednesday 14 Nelson Games night, from 5.30pm, Prince Albert Hotel, 113 Nile St, Nelson.

Wednesday 21 Nelson Pool night, from 5.30pm, Shark Club, 132 Bridge St, Nelson.

Sunday 25 Motueka brunch/lunch, 11am, Elevation Cafe, 218 High St, Motueka.

Wednesday 28 Nelson Games night, from 5.30pm, Prince Albert Hotel, 113 Nile St, Nelson.


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.

canterbury-femsoc-confSaturday 17 – Sunday 18 University of Canterbury Feminist Society’s 3rd Annual Feminist Conference: Raising Our Voices with presentations, discussions and workshops. Registration includes vegan teas, lunches and childcare. University of Canterbury campus, $10-$30. People from outside the university are welcome; register at EventBrite, see the website, or the Facebook event page.

NZWomenSunday 25 NZ Women: First in the World – an evening of music, art & poetry Celebrate women’s suffrage with a fundraiser for the Christchurch Women’s Centre. 7-9.30pm, Christchurch Folk Music Club, 29 Domain Terrace, Spreydon. $10 members, $15 non-members. Visit the Facebook event page.


Wednesday 21 Space seminar with lecturer Rachel Dibble, speaking to queer, questioning and queer-friendly students, staff and community members. 1-2pm, Rm 5, 1st floor, OUSA Clubs and Societies Centre, University of Otago campus. Contact Hahna Briggs,, phone 03 479 5445.

Sunday 25 Wild Women Winter Walking tackle the Taieri Millenium Track. Meet in Otaki St opposite the Bunnings main entrance for a 9.30am start and carshare. Bring drink, lunch or snack, waterproof jacket and maybe even a sunhat! Don’t be shy if you haven’t been before. We’re a relaxed friendly group with varying levels of fitness. Email if you need a lift.


OutStanding2016Thursday 1 OutStanding Australian LGBTIQ creative writing competition closes; stories accepted from writers based in Australia and New Zealand only. Visit competition website page for details.

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

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