Pipiri / June 2018

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

Dyke Diary

News / Ngā pitopito korero

National/multiple centres
Lesbians and welfare policy
Building lesbian medical connections
Matariki women’s events
Regional centres
Changes on Auckland Pride’s board
New job at OUTLine
Dancing for the Gay Games

Lesbians and welfare policy

Two lesbians were appointed to the Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG) late last month – Dr Huhana Hickey (Tainui/Ngäti Tahinga, left), and Professor Innes Asher (Pākehā, below) – along with four other women and five men.

The group will consult about benefit sanctions and the culture of Work and Income, and make recommendations by early 2019.

Huhana HickeyBoth women are Auckland-based, and have been strong advocates about welfare and social justice issues for decades. Both support the WEAG terms of reference, particularly the focus on poverty, housing need and homelessness, and an adequate welfare system that treats people with dignity.

Huhana has been active on the rights of people with disabilities, indigenous peoples and takatāpui. She has a PhD in Law and Tikanga Maori from the University of Waikato and was a solicitor at Auckland Disability Law. She was the indigenous peoples’ representative for the International Disability Association steering group caucus during the development of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and is still involved with IDA international networks.

Huhana is currently on the Human Rights Review Tribunal and holds several governance roles. She runs an advocacy and training company on human rights, indigenous, treaty and disability with her wife Sophie Tauhara. Huhana was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015 for her services to Māori and disability community.

Innes AsherInnes has been a committee member and health spokesperson for the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) for 20 years. She is a paediatrician, chair of the Global Asthma Network and formerly the Head of the Department of Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health at the University of Auckland. Last year she was appointed as a World Health Organisation Expert on Chronic Respiratory Diseases. Recently she was recognised for work toward reducing child poverty by the New Zealand Medical Association, with their Chair Award.

For years CPAG has insisted all children must be adequately housed in healthy homes, and has emphasised the increased likelihood of mental and physical health problems when they are not.

Activist group Auckland Action Against Poverty has raised concerns about the WEAG process being used to justify delays to much-needed changes in benefit processes, arguing that people on benefits can’t wait another year with a punitive welfare system. They say that removing sanctions on sole parents would have needed only a quarter of the $100 million the budget allocated for the America’s Cup.  JR

Building lesbian medical connections

The first Australian and New Zealand Lesbian Medical Association (ALMA) conference to be held in New Zealand will be in Hanmer Springs from September 21 to 23.

ALMA dinnerAuckland GP Liz Harding, left, is organising the conference with Christchurch psychiatrist Val Pollard. Liz has been to eight ALMA conferences since they started in 1999, and says about 50 doctors, lesbian medical students and their partners are expected, about half the membership. “Although we may get more than usual because Australians may want to go somewhere different, and we’re very keen to get more New Zealanders to attend!”.

“The conferences are really great – it’s an amazing group of women,” she says. Participants are mostly doctors starting out or settled in their careers, and medical students who get free registration and subsidised accommodation and travel. “We think it’s really important for the students to have the opportunity to be around established lesbian doctors. A few resident doctors come, but they often have trouble getting time off because they work such long hours.”

ALMA pairThe conference, this year called ‘Connections’, is preceded by a Thursday night pub quiz. A powhiri will open the event on Friday morning, followed by speakers, an interview with an ALMA legend, the AGM and a dinner. A walk, fun run or yoga session starts the Saturday, with plenary speakers followed by a conference dinner and party. The conference finishes on Sunday lunchtime after a morning of speakers.

Some of the confirmed New Zealand speakers include Auckland-based Dr Matire Harwood, about health inequities between Māori and non-Māori; Joy Liddicoat, Assistant Privacy Commissioner in Wellington, about privacy issues in digital health records; GP Lucy O’Hagan from Wanaka, who is also a playwright; Dr Sue Bagshaw, founder of Christchurch’s 198 Youth Health Centre; Auckland-based psychiatrist Jackie Liggins, about her PhD research on healing places to recover from mental illness, and psychologist Katherine Whitehead on mental health in lesbian families around the birth of babies.

ALMA marchersSpeakers from Australia include ALMA members Kimberley Ivory about her year working with LGBT people in Mongolia, Jess Zimmerman about living with chronic disease and Suzi Fox, about writing her thriller, Mine.

New Zealand GPs who attend can claim 10.25 hours of continuing education points through the RNZC GP. The 10 percent earlybird discount on registration ends on August 24; see the website.

ALMA provides local and student representatives for support around Australia, and members can join the Facebook page, receive the newsletter and keep in touch on Bitrix, a private social media site.

ALMALMAflyerA lobbies for lesbian and other Rainbow issues to be included in medical school and specialist training and has contributed to the LGBTQ policies of the Australian Medical Association and other health organisations. ALMA also has special consultative status at the United Nations, enabling representatives to attend some UN conferences and contribute information to UN processes and organisations.  ALMA funds $10,000 towards original lesbian health research projects each year and participates in Pride marches and Mardi Gras.

ALMA membership is $25 for medical students and has a tax-deductible sliding scale for doctors from $150. See the ALMA website and past research projects:
Lesbian Zest: How to thrive and flourish;
Thriving as a Bisexual or Queer Woman;
A guide to sensitive care for lesbian, gay and bisexual people attending general practice

Jenny R

Matariki women’s events in Tauranga

Matariki TaurangaTalks by women about mauri (life force), harakeke (flax) weaving, and a women’s art exhibition are key events in the Tauranga Matariki festival from June 8 to July 1.

Aisha Te Kani, Puawai Cairns, Head of Mātauranga Māori at Te Papa Tongarewa, and rongoa practitioner Donna Kerridge will discuss the concept of mauri from different viewpoints on three consecutive Wednesday evenings in free talks.

A panel of women artists will discuss Mana Wāhine in a free event on Mon 25 as part of the exhibition Te Whare Tangata/ the female essence, curated by Parewhati Taikato which runs from June 15 to July 3.

Parewhati Taikato and Jannine Campbell lead two all-day harakeke workshops, covering flax harvesting, collection, preparation, dyeing and weaving. Workshops are $45 and booking is essential

2018 Matariki Te PapaMatariki festivals will be held at different times around the country as local iwi celebrate the new year with the rising of the Matariki (Pleiades) star cluster above the horizon.

In Rotorua, events run from June 6 to July 19; events at Te Papa run from Friday June 15 – Sun 24, with other events by the Wellington Council events website running into July; in Auckland the festival runs from June 30 – July 22, and the Dunedin festival from 6 – 22 July.  JR


Changes on Auckland Pride’s board

PParade1The Auckland Pride Festival board will be seeking new members at its AGM on July 30, following three resignations – former co-chair Lexie Matheson, treasurer Richy James and Letitia Taikato. Chair Cassie Roma says the organisation will also run a membership drive and that membership is now free, to enable greater diversity.

The board has been working with community facilitator and long-time lesbian event organiser Cissy Rock on its procedures, planning and strategies, including building “sustained relationships” with Māori and takatāpui, Cassie says.

“The institutional memory has been in people’s heads, and we’re recording it.” After gathering feedback in all kinds of ways besides official community consultations, the board now has a standard process for formal feedback which will be added to the Facebook page, she says.

Auckland Pride LogoThe board is also negotiating contracts for paid staff, who Cassie expects to start work by mid-June. The board will hold its usual community consultation and feedback sessions later in the year, and the 2019 Auckland Pride Festival will run from Friday February 1 to Sunday 17, 2019.  JR

New job at OUTLine

National Rainbow phone support line OUTLine is again looking for someone to fill a new Auckland-based position as support line co-ordinator

OutLineNZ logoThe position is for 24 hours a week and applications close at midnight on Monday June 4. The job involves managing phone volunteers, co-ordinating their training and a regular volunteer forum. The person will also ensure the quality and safety of the service, increase the phone line hours, oversee the collection of statistics about service users, and identify populations not currently served.

OUTLine requires previous experience managing volunteers, and computerised systems, and a commitment to the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and tikanga Māori.

Download the complete job description here; apply by completing this form, and complete this brief assignment. See the OUTLine website. JR

Dancing for the Gay Games

Wellingtonian Saskia Knibbeler, right, and her Auckland-based same-sex dancesport partner Peati Tuitama are among possibly 200 New Zealand competitors heading for the Gay Games in Paris in August.

GayGames2The pair met through work a year ago and practicing their routines together have relied on Saskia’s regular work trips to Auckland and Peati’s trips to Wellington.

They will be dancing seven routines – cha cha, rumba, jive, samba, waltz, quick step and tango – at the beginner level from Tuesday 7 to Friday 10, in the Japy Gymnasium near the Bastille.

Routines are about 80 seconds long, but learning them is fitness training “without feeling like you’re working out”, says Saskia.

“I walked the Milford Track after regularly dancing eight hours a week of social ballroom, and I ran up that mountain! I hadn’t realised how fit ballroom would make me.”

GayGames18logoShe took up social ballroom dancing in her 30s and “it turned into an incredibly satisfying feeling of accomplishment. I really like my body as a result – I feel strong and capable.”

She says social ballroom seems more accepting of same-sex dancing than heterosexual dancesport. The only thing that irks her is the constant use of male pronouns for lead dancers in classes, despite many of them being female. “I’m not a placeholder for a man, I’m a good lead”.

Training for the games is time-consuming and expensive – as well as practicing together, both partners go regularly to dance classes, and there are costumes and makeup to pay for.

Saskia is keen to experience the environment of the games and seeing cultural events and other competitions. “I was lucky with my parents and my community; I’m looking forward to seeing other people experience the freedom I’ve had that they can’t get in their countries”. JR

People / Ngā wāhine

A softball life

A softball life

Lynda (Okkie) O’Cain is the current chair of Softball New Zealand, which administers the sport in Aotearoa, and is the first to say that the sport has opened a lot of doors for her, including most of her paid work. She spoke with Jenny Rankine.

Lynda was born to a Pākehā family that moved to Christchurch when she was young. She grew up playing lots of sport – rugby for the Linwood women’s team, which played “the first ever women’s game on Lancaster Park” and toured to California when Lynda was 18. She also played hockey for representative Canterbury teams. But softball was her first and main sport; she began at primary school, and started playing for a club when she was about 10.

LOC1She can’t pinpoint a moment when she came out as a lesbian – “I was in a team with other gay women; no one was surprised. I think my parents knew when I was pretty young; I used to practice with my younger brother’s rugby team. Most of the people around me accept who I am.”

Lynda was about 17 when her parents separated. “Two lesbians who played in Albion, my club side, were wonderful role models – I call them my godmothers. When things weren’t going so well at home they always had my back.”

“One of them pitched for New Zealand and they’re still together. I stay with them when I go to Christchurch, and there were a number of women like that in the team, great teammates.”

Lynda usually played in the outfield, where players need a strong throwing arm, and was usually the leadoff batter, “because I was quite quick. First batters tend to get hits consistently; if I could get the ball in play, I was often quick enough to get to first.”

LOC2Lynda played for Canterbury for 14 years – in the photo she’s on the right of the front row. “I had one relationship with a teammate on the Canterbury rep team. Other people in the team knew we were a couple – it wasn’t an issue. We didn’t have to be closet.”

She was a member of the New Zealand White Sox from 1989 to 1992. “I was fortunate to play at a time when the women’s game was extremely strong – I played with some amazing women. Gina Weber, Cheryl Kemp and Deb Mygind were all pitching then.”

The White Sox had won their only world title in 1982 in Taiwan, and had “been in the top three at three consecutive world championships”. It was a great decade for the national women’s team. In the photo she’s third from the left in the front row.

LOC3“Once it became an Olympic sport, countries started putting a lot more money into it. The USA has always been strong, they have a professional women’s league, as does Japan. Australia and Canada are also strong teams.”

Being in the national team opened up opportunities. Lynda was invited to play with a Canadian team in 1990. “They helped with the travel and I got a job there. There was another Kiwi; we boarded with the coach’s family.”

A knee injury ended her competitive career, so in her early 30s Lynda “went straight into coaching the Canterbury women’s team. Canterbury took out five back-to-back national titles, there were some very good players involved and it exposed me to what makes a team successful. Seven of that team played in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, the only time our women’s softball team has qualified.”

Coming fresh from playing, Lynda preferred a style that included the players in the coaching process rather than telling them what to do.

LOC4“Then I got approached about coaching overseas – in 1996 for a year with a club team in Stockholm. After that I was asked to coach the Czech Republic national women’s team in Prague.” Both teams paid expenses and a very small wage; it was the beginning of a working career made up almost entirely of jobs in sport.

“It was only a few years after the end of communism so a very interesting experience. The players were very used to being told what to do and how to do it; I’d turn up to training and find them sitting there, and I’d have to tell them get changed and warmed up.”

“In the first season the Czech team played at the European Championships in Prague and qualified for the world champs, so I went back for a second year and took them to the worlds in Japan. They did better than anyone expected. We pushed the Canadians, only just lost to the Dutch and we finished quite a bit better than our 18th ranking.”

“Working there made me appreciate our Kiwi way of getting on with things. I tried to enhance what they had, to introduce trust, and encourage them to speak up and share ideas – things we’d take for granted.”

Developing coaches

Lynda returned to New Zealand and worked in two jobs developing sports coaching, one with the Hilary Commission as a coaching development officer in Wellington from 1999 to 2001, and another as a coach and performance advisor at the North Island Academy of Sport from 2005 to 2010.

LOC6“It wasn’t about the technical part of the sport but how to get the best out of the athletes. You can get two percent gains from sport science, but we asked what it would look like if we had the best coaches in the world?” In the institute the three advisors all worked with a group of coaches across a range of sports.

Lynda worked with the coaches of some of our top Olympic sailors. “I also worked with rugby, squash, netball, cricket, athletics and para swimming. It was a real range of sports, including teams and individuals.”

“It was more about helping the coaches to develop – the how rather than the what. We explored what was happening in education, business leadership models, implicit and explicit learning. Some of the things we were involved in were ground-breaking for coaching at that time: simply put – less tell and more ask.”

“A classic example I had was during some hitting training when a young player asked, ‘Okkie, am I stepping when I swing?’ If I was a ‘tell’ coach, I would have watched and told her. But I had a coaching moment, and I said ‘Take another swing and you tell me’.”

“It’s about getting the athletes to be more self-aware – about what their body’s doing and feeling, what they’re thinking. It can take longer to get there but it’s more enduring when an athlete works it out for themselves, and you just facilitate that. We’re a lot further down the track with that now.”

Junior White SoxDuring that time she also coached the NZ junior women (under 19) for eight years through three world championships. “I was in Taiwan in 1999 and China in 2003 as assistant coach, then in Holland in 2007 as head coach – all volunteer roles. One of the best results was a sixth in China, where we were very close to making the final four.”

Because of her previous involvement with Paralympic coaches, Lynda was approached to support tetraplegic shooter Michael Johnston, above, at the Paralympics in London 2012 and Rio 2016. “Being exposed to working with Paralympians has been amazing.”

Softball NZ

Lynda was appointed to the Softball NZ board in 2014 to assist with human resources as well as health and safety; after the retirement of the previous chair, she took on the role at beginning of this year.

Softball NZ logoThere are about 35,000 players around the country; about 60-70% male and 30-40% women. Board roles aren’t set up to represent the two sides of the sport. “Currently the president is a women, there are two other female board members and two male.”

The board is revising the sport’s strategic plan, and “works with the CEO to grow and develop the sport, exploring sponsorship and funding, and enabling the players to compete internationally.”

“The Black Sox are the current world champions; they’ve won the men’s world championship seven times. The women’s game is more competitive internationally; we’ve tried to support the women financially to compete in Tokyo.”

When asked about the position of lesbians and queer women in the sport, she says softball has “always been a sport that lesbians have played. If we ever had any concerns about anyone, we’d ensure they were supported, make sure they felt included. I’ve never noticed any discrimination or heard any negative comments and I can’t think of anything in the sport generally.”

LOC8“People in softball administration know my partner (Kim, front). I’ve been with her for 10 years and it’s not a feature. One of the things I love about softball is that it embraces all people, demographically it’s a very accepting sport.”

When asked about the position of Māori in the sport, she says “in the time I’ve been in Auckland and coaching juniors, it was great mix of Māori, Pacific and Pākehā players. One of the things that appeals about softball is that it’s a big family sport; that may be a factor in Māori and Pacific involvement. For me and a lot of people it’s a sport for life.”

“The board doesn’t have a specific Treaty policy. I haven’t come across any discrimination in the sport, nothing that stands out.” She gives the example of young women who have grabbed opportunities to take up scholarships to study and play for a US university. In particular, one young woman who became the first New Zealander to compete in the US professional women’s league and then went on to finish her PhD, before returning home .

White Sox“That’s what I love about the opportunities in sport, when young people grab it like that. She’s a wonderful role model for young women.”

Lynda feels herself very fortunate to have been involved in softball. “The sport has allowed me to be who I am without judgement. It’s opened so many opportunities through my life. I’m really fortunate to be still involved and connected with so many people in the sport.”

Her tickets are booked and she’s looking forward to the World Championships in August, where the White Sox will try to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Media / Te ao pāpāho

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

Enjoying The Breaker Upperers
A new (old) book: Despised and Rejected

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

‘Typical’ New Zealand humour? – enjoying The Breaker Upperers

Is it funny? Is it painful? Is it both??

The Breaker Upperers is definitely a buddy movie with a difference. For starters, the buddies are women.

We love Madeleine Sami, of course, and as co-creator and co-lead, she’s engaging the whole time.

The premise is straightforward: sometimes people recognise their relationship isn’t right, but they aren’t good at telling their soon-to-be-ex. (That’s certainly one recognisable Kiwi trait, right there.) So, what do you do? – you find the Breaker Upperers, that’s what, and they do it for you. With more or less elaborate scenarios, and with more or less success. The ‘less success’ is a Kiwi trope, too.

You get what you are looking for in this film, I think. It’s filmed in several Auckland locations, so that will make it familiar to many. It’s full of New Zealand accents and perspectives and senses of humour. Some of that humour is of the painful, embarrassing kind … and that has overwhelmed other content for some.

But if you want to enjoy a good laugh, provoke yourself to think about interpersonal relationships, and friendship, and support a unique NZ take on a ‘buddy’ movie, go and see it.

Also look out for: Karen O’Leary as a fab police officer!

Looking for more online? Start with their promo website; clicking on any of the links will take you to the movie website, with national listing dates.

Not sure about my perspective? – read reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.  View the trailer on YouTube or other YouTube link. They are also on Facebook and Instagram. AK

A new (old) book: Despised and Rejected

Persephone Books are a publisher and bookshop in London, specialising in “neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century (mostly) women writers”.

Despised and Rejected is one of the new spring/summer publications. First published in 1918, before the end of WWI, it has “strong themes of opposition to war, acceptance of homosexuality, tolerance of others”.

The central character is Dennis, gay, who becomes a conscientious objector. He is close friends with Antoinette, “who has not realised she is lesbian but is unabashed when she does”. Dennis, in contrast, agonises. The novel “was much ahead of its time in its depiction of homosexual love and desire, in Antoinette’s ‘crushes’ and slow acceptance that she won’t be able to be in love with a man, in its honest attitude to the war, and in the radical way it links maleness with belligerence and being gay with the refusal to kill”.

The book is clearly worth reading. Also interesting is its legal fate: published late May 1918, it received a “polite review” in the Times Literary Supplement in June. In October there was a two-day trial of the publisher. The prosecution was explicitly in relation to the pacifism; the press reporting at the time (see above), noting that it was not an ‘obscenity’ trial, quoted a description of the work as ‘morally unhealthy and most pernicious’. Remaining copies of the work (800 had been sold) were seized and destroyed. Note, this was 10 years before The Well of Loneliness was banned, and just days before the armistice (11 November 1918).

Read more on the Persephone website, and check their full publication list. Visit them if you are in London.

Quotes are from the publisher. AK

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.

Dyke Diary / Rātaka takatāpui

We add new events as we receive them, and remove past events at the beginning of each month – send your event information to LNAotearoa@gmail.com. We list groups that meet at the same time and venue on the Social & Support page. Information is organised by region (national events first, then north to south, then overseas), then by date.

National events
Northland/Te Tai Tokerau
Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau
Waikato/Central North Island
Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Nelson area/Whakatū
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.

2018 WSA ConfSaturday 30 Deadline for proposals for papers, workshops, posters, panels, performances and art exhibitions from activists, community workers and academics for the WSA(NZ)/Pae Akoranga Wahine Conference 2018 Feminist engagements in Aotearoa: 125 years of suffrage and beyond at Victoria University of Wellington, 21-23 September 2018. See full details of how to submit proposals here. Registration will be available from July. Details on the WSA website and the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies website.

Northland/Te Tai Tokerau

Saturday 2 Gay in the Bay of Islands Pink Drinks Bring a plate of food to share and BYO drinks, 5-7pm, 88 Lodge, 88 Koropewa Rd, Waipapa, see the map. Please RSVP with numbers to news@gayinthebay.org.nz

Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau

Friday 1-Sunday July 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. Exhibition hours: 10am-4.30pm, 7 days. Visit festival and CEAC websites for details.

topp_twinsSaturday 2 Topp Twins 60th birthday celebration concert ASB Waterfront Theatre, $75, limited seats.

Book through the theatre website or call 0800 ATCTIX (no booking charges).

dykehikesprofileSunday 3 Dyke Hike 11am. Kaipatiki Explorer. This walk goes through a variety of parks, urban streets and reserves on the North Shore. It begins at Smiths Bush, at the cricket clubrooms off Northcote Road. We will relocate some cars to the end of the walk at the end of Rawene Rd before we start as this is not a loop walk. 3-4 hours. Grade: Moderate (boots recommended, expect a few hills and stream crossings are possible, moderate fitness needed). Meet at Smiths Bush. Email hike@lesbian.co.nz, visit www.lesbian.co.nz or the Facebook page.

Saturday 9 Knitting Group All welcome. This month, participating in one of the wider events for World Wide Knit in Public Day, Ellen Melville Centre.

Saturday 16 GALS Goes To The Movies A selection of favourites from movies across the decades. 3pm & 7pm, Pitt St Methodist Church. Visit Facebook event page or website for ticket information and details.

Sunday 17 Coffee & Stroll. 10am, meet at The Grounds, 8 – 14 Henderson Valley Rd, Henderson, for coffee, 10.30am a pleasant 40-minute stroll at Corbans Estate Arts Centre, 2 Mt Lebanon Lane, Henderson. Option A, indoors: photography exhibition, Tuafale Tanoa’i – aka Linda T, “Story telling as Koha: consolidating community memories” (see entry for June 1 above); option B, one or more walks around CEAC or the park.

NGR AkThursday 21 Naked Girls Reading, the smut edition and Auckland premiere, hosted and organised by Wellington drag king Hugo Grrrl. 7.30pm, Caluzzi Cabaret, 461 Karangahape Rd, $20, tickets from www.eventfinda.co.nz. See the Facebook event page.

Friday 22 & Saturday 23 “The best of Urzila Carlson 7.50pm both nights, Classic Comedy Club, 321 Queen St, central Auckland. More information on the Facebook event page, and tickets from Eventfinda.

Saturday 23 Fifth Season LGBT garden group Annual Mid-Winter Dinner. Sizzling spit-roasted meats, freshly-made salads, traditional desserts, door prizes and a welcome drink. 7pm, Fickling Convention Centre, 546 Mt Albert Rd, Three Kings. Bring other drinks, $20 members and partner/friend, $36 non-members, pay at the door. Bookings essential – email Ron on rjudd@pl.net, phone 849 4461 or txt 021 031 5446 with how many are coming.

Sunday 24 RainbowYOUTH AGM 12noon-3pm, 11 Edinburgh St, central Auckland. Members of RainbowYOUTH, friends, whānau and community professionals are all warmly invited to attend this open event. Go to Facebook event page for details.

Thursday 28 OUTLine AGM 6-8.30pm, Rainbow Youth, 11 Edinburgh St, central Auckland. Meet the staff and have your say on the future of the organisation. Go to the Facebook event page for details.

Friday 29 Lesbian Speed Mate-ing 8-11pm, The Dogs Bollix, 2 Newton Rd, Newton. Doesn’t matter if you’re Single, In a Relationship or It’s Complicated … $6. Go to the Facebook event page for details.

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.

Thursday 21 Lesbian Social Group drinks  5.15pm, The House on Hood, Hood St, Hamilton. Stay for a bite to eat.

Sister ActFriday 29 Sister Act Dress up as a nun and join members of the Lesbian Social Group to see Sister Act, by the Hamilton Operatic Society. 7.30pm, Clarence Street Theatre. LSG will meet for drinks from 5.30pm at House on Hood, Hood St, Hamilton. Book tickets for the show here.

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.

Rainbow Wtn logoThursday 7 Rainbow Wellington visits the Lesbian and Gay Archives/Te Pūranga Takatāpui o Aotearoa (LAGANZ) Curator Linda Evans and trustee Roger Swanson will present items from the collections, and briefly introduce the Topp Twins exhibition. Meet at 5.30pm at the ground floor entrance of the National Library on Aitken St. Followed by drinks at the Backbencher to continue the discussion; snacks provided. RSVP  to rainbowwellingtonevents@gmail.com

Friday 8 Rainbow Wellington drinks, 5-7pm at The Fat Angel, upstairs, 31-35 Dixon St, Wellington.

Friday 8 A comedy show with good comedians in it! An all-women event hosted by drag king Hugo Grrrl. 8pm, Fringe Bar, 28 Allen St, Te Aro. Tickets $15/$20. See the Facebook event page

Sunday 10 Lesbian Overlanders walk to Kaukau. A loop walk from Simla Cr to Awarua St takes the main northern walkway on a climb to Mt Kaukau. Great panoramic views, followed by coffee at a Ngaio cafe. Starts at Simla Cr. railway station at 10.20am, leaving cars in the station carpark, or catch the 10.02 train on the Johnsonville line. Text Mary, 027 626 1271 to confirm.

Sunday 10 DANSS lessons in same-sex classical Ballroom, Latin American and New Vogue dances. No partner needed, upstairs at Thistle Hall, corner of Cuba and Arthur Sts. Beginners: Rhythm Foxtrot, Samba, 7-8pm; Intermediate: Rumba, Charmaine, 8-9pm. See the website, email DANSSNZ@outlook.com or join the Facebook group.

NGR June 16Wednesday 16 Naked Girls Reading, the motherhood edition. Hosted and organised by Hugo Grrrl. 8-10pm, Fringe Bar, 28 Allen St, Te Aro. Tickets $20-$35, www.eventfinda.co.nz. See the Facebook event page.

Thursday 28 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.

Saturday 30 The Glamaphones Sing a Rainbow (The Colours Concert) The Glamaphones are back and we are more colourful than ever! 7pm, Andrew’s on The Terrace, 30 The Terrace, central Wellington. Tickets from Eventfinda, details on Facebook event page.

Nelson area/Whakatū

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

There’s currently no-one co-ordinating activities for Nelson potluck dinners or brunches. Do contact TLC if you can help with regular – or one-off – events.

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.

Otago/Southland/Te taurapa o te waka

Saturday 2 Wild Women Walk St Clair to Lawyers Head and return, an easy, flat, 2hr walk beside the ocean. We’ll finish as usual with coffee at Starfish. Meet at the front of the St Clair Surf Club for a prompt 10.30am departure. Text by Friday 5pm if you need transport. Email Ann, acharlotte10@gmail.com or text 022 133 9529.
NGR DunedinFriday 29 Naked Girls Reading: The Dunedin premiere, hosted by Feather Unsure and Hugo Grrrl, 8pm, New Athenaeum Theatre, 23 The Octagon. Tickets $20/$25 from Eventfinda. See the Facebook event page.

Saturday 30 The Dunedin Pun Battle Championships organised and hosted by drag king Hugo Grrrl. Wits have been sharpened, wea-puns will be wielded, funny bones may well be broken. Will our competitors pun-ble under the pressure?! Queer friendly. 8.30pm, Fifty Gorillas Grill, 66 Princes St, city. Tickets $15/$25 from Eventfinda. See the Facebook event page.


June 6 Sydney film festival opening night The Breaker Upperers, State Theatre. 49 Market St, Sydney. Go to Facebook event page for more information and link for tickets.

June 8-17 Edmonton Pride Festival, Alberta, Canada. “A world proud of its LGBTQ2S+ communities”. Visit website for details of programme and events.

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

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