Paengawhāwhā / April 2017

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

Dyke Diary

Ngā pitopito kōrero, news

Evidence of higher smoking rates by young lesbians
Same-sex marriage activism in Taiwan
Housing support for young queer people in Auckland
Charlotte Museum honours Viv Jones
Feminist quiz = a great fundraiser
Lesbian and queer women’s exhibitions in Palmerston North
New direction for MALGRA
Wellington youth ball a success

Evidence of higher smoking rates by young lesbians

A recent report from the US has evidence of much higher rates of smoking and other forms of tobacco use by young lesbians.

Tobacco Product Use Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adolescents‘, published in Pediatrics in March, used data from nearly 15,000 Grade 9-12 (roughly ages 14-17) students nationally. Thirty percent of straight-identifying teens had tried tobacco products, compared to 41% of gay and lesbian youth.

Substance use, including marijuana use, drinking, and binge drinking, was significantly associated with any tobacco use.

The study concludes there is support for the need to develop evidence-based tobacco control policies for sexual minority youth.

Same-sex marriage activism in Taiwan

While LGBT rights in Taiwan may be considered relatively progressive compared to other Asian/East Asian countries, a recent challenge to marriage law (a panel of 14 justices are currently hearing arguments on the constitutionality of Taiwan’s civil code, which states that “marriage is between a man and a woman”) has prompted both progressive and conservative demonstrations.

At the same time, a video produced by Home Is Love, a Taiwanese gay rights organisation, follows the story of a man accepting his daughter as lesbian. Watch the video at (2.5 minutes, English subtitles).

Housing support for young queer people

RY MadieYoung homeless and transient queer and transpeople in Auckland now have a dedicated advocate due to a collaboration between Rainbow Youth and Lifewise.

Rainbow Housing Support Worker Madison Brownlee, who has NgaPuhi whakapapa to Mangamuka in the Hokianga, will help young people deal with Work and Income, budgeting, housing providers, and other services.

The half-time job is “the first of its kind in Aotearoa”, says Madie, “so there are no set approaches or methods that will be consistently used.” Madie is a qualified social worker, and says part of the job will be to collect information about the scale of homelessness and the range of “issues and challenges that young people face”.

rainbow-youth-logoShe intends “to develop interventions and methods of practice based on what suits each individual and this community as a collective group.” Madie is familiar with Rainbow Youth, as she worked there for four months during her social work degree, as well as three months at Te Whanau o Waipareira.

Aside from her study and work, Madie has also won a silver medal in the national Karate competitions. Email her on or phone 022 516 1977. JR

Charlotte Museum honours Viv Jones

Viv Jones and her wonderful cartoons were remembered at the opening of an exhibition of her work at the Charlotte Museum in March.

Manawatu friends Hilary, Hilary and Maree spoke of her drawing skill (she was trained as a mapmaker), her love and support for women, and her unambiguous butch presence, even when in the Navy, with dishonourable discharge an ever-present threat.

Feminist quiz = a great fundraiser

The Auckland Women’s Centre remains under pressure to find alternative funding to sustain their Women’s Support Service, providing support, information, advice and referral for all women about any issue.

The March event was a first, a feminist quiz (educational as well as entertaining), had the Grey Lynn Community Centre sold out and nearly $6,000 raised. Community support was also evident with the volunteer work of supporters/workers on the night, and the provision of raffle prizes.

The next fundraiser will be mid-June – details are still under wraps. Visit the Facebook page and website to keep informed.

Lesbian and queer women’s exhibitions in Palmerston North

Te Manawa Museum in Palmerston North will host three lesbian and queer female exhibitions in May, including large images of butch lesbians on the outside of the building.

Rebecca Swan’s collaborative multimedia exhibition The Exquisite Wound will show alongside one about the Topp Twins, whose show Heading for the Hills will play in Feilding and Dannevirke in May.

Rachel Hoskin is the head of the School for Creative Industries at UCOL polytechnic in Palmerston North as well as president of Palmerston North Rainbow group MALGRA, and identifies as butch. She is studying audience reactions to butch women through a photography exhibition of butch lesbians from around the North Island.

Rachel believes that public responses to butch lesbians have changed over time. “Back in the day the diesel dyke identity was a negative one; now no one seems to be phased by butch women – I see fewer reactions to me now than I did 15 years ago.” But she also believes that we need “more positive butch women visibility to help young women discover that butch culture and identity for themselves”.

The exhibition will include this self-portrait, and all the images will be 1.2 metres square. Rachel is aware of similar exhibitions and has been approached by participants in Jac Lynch’s earlier work who are interested in being involved in this project as well.

Butch women who want to be part of the exhibition can email Rachel on  JR

New direction for MALGRA

Malgra logoPalmerston North Rainbow community group MALGRA has taken a new direction as it approaches its 40th birthday.

The Manawatu Lesbian and Gay Rights Association started in 1977 and will move to a free space at Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History in April. The committee plans to increase its visibility, fundraise and manage a Hardship Fund and organise events for queer communities.

Talking to MALGRA networks indicated a need for a Hardship Fund, says president Rachel Hoskin, who has been involved in the group for more than 16 years. “Our aging population are finding it hard to pay for their medications and younger ones can’t get accommodation because they can’t afford the bond.”

MALGRA’s former president, Krys Baker will help suggest ways of setting up the fund, identifying who needs it and how they’ll apply. “We hope to have it all in place by mid-year before the AGM,” says Rachel.

MALGRA’s party venue Club Q closed in 2015, as declining attendances indicated less of a need for a dedicated safe LGBTT nightclub venue. But there is still a need for events where people new to town, or newly out can meet others, Rachel says.

“We used to put on regular drag shows – now they’re less regular and more straight people come. Drag shows have been successful fundraisers for us and we have a troupe who love to put them on. It’s one of the cultural art forms of our community; in the Manawatu it’s a lot of stand-up comedy.”

Since Club Q closed, MALGRA has been run from “a meeting room in Square Edge which is hidden and out of the way, and we spend a lot of our money on rent.” The group has been approached to supply training on LBGTQI issues for DHB staff, “so we’re looking at upskilling some of our members to become trainers”.

Rachel says lesbian involvement has always “been quite high in MALGRA and the role of women hasn’t really changed over time. Handles Bailey ran Club Q for a very long time, with gay men also volunteering. There have been lots of female as well as male presidents.”

“We used to have a lesbian soccer team and ran women’s dances for them, opening the doors at midnight to men, but events for women stopped about ten years ago as needs changed. No one in the community has asked for women-only events – they seem happy with the way the club ran.”

MALGRA runs an all-ages Icebreakers social and support group, as well as Transcend, a support group for trans, genderfluid and non-gendered people.

The group is also planning three days of celebration for its 40th anniversary over Labour Weekend, with a wellness symposium, an exhibition, a show, and possible workshops.

See the public Facebook page and the website; MALGRA also has a closed FB group linking more than 400 people. JR

Wellington youth ball a success

Two hundred young people, in astonishing costumes, along with volunteer supporters (youth workers, school counsellors, teachers and paramedics) and drag artists (pictured left with organisers) participated in Wellington Pride’s first youth ball, in March.

A fundraising campaign in 2016 provided the financial base for young people aged 13 to 18, some coming from well outside Wellington. See Facebook for more details.

Nga wāhine, people

Jenni James – getting shit done

Who is the woman at the centre of the ‘Helping Hands‘ fundraiser?  What has Jenni James been doing in Greece and Lesvos?

Two years ago Jenni was planning a trip to Europe. She had spent a year travelling in the UK, Europe and the US, been back home in Aotearoa New Zealand long enough to plan the next adventure, had packed up and sold or stored her belongings.

Denied a visa to the UK, she looked around for somewhere else to go, something else to do. The Red Cross didn’t need any more volunteers in Samoa (this was just after the 2015 cyclone), and then information on Facebook popped up. An Australian-born but long-term Greek resident said she needed help supporting Syrian refugees in Lesvos.

CC BY-SA 3.0,

Jenni got in touch with Melinda, who with her husband was providing some very basic support via their restaurant in Molyvos. Within a couple of weeks Jenni was on her way, one of a number of independent volunteers providing assistance. At that time there were around 250 refugees arriving daily by little boat across the 6.5-8km of Aegean Sea between Turkey and Lesvos. (These were little boats designed to carry 15-30 people, taking 50-60 plus luggage; engines failed, they sank, the sea is rough …)

The coastline of Lesvos is rugged, so the 15km stretch where boats could come ashore had huge pressure as refugee numbers increased over the next few months to more like 6,000 a day. The small number of international volunteers were supplemented by official agencies: UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and a number of European-based NGOs.

Making everything useful: a cooking stove made out of car wheel rims

Jenni’s degree (Bachelor of Environmental Resource Management), practical experience (Vinegar Hill events) and impetus to get shit done all came to the fore as she project managed a transportation system to help move refugees the 63km from Molyvos to Mytilene, from where they could transit to mainland Greece. Operating out of a closed-for-the-winter nightclub, aiming to have refugees delayed no more than 24 hours, she implented a system that had people issued with tickets for food and a bus. Young men were encouraged to walk if possible (with a rest stop organised at the halfway mark). UNHCR and NGOs supported with the provision of toilets, medical facilities, clothing and shoes, power/phone charging and, later, showers.

An operating smart phone is an essential, Jenni explains: “It’s a lifeline keeping families in touch, both as refugees and with those left behind.”

Over the winter the numbers of refugees reduced, but their risks at sea increased enormously. Jenni and colleagues would be watching boats coming in to view and disappearing, not always making it to shore.

In 2016 borders out of Greece had closed, increasing pressures enormously in the country, which is still in a severe recession. Jenni’s focus and location had moved to northern Greece: in Thessaloniki around 125,000 people are long-term ‘camping’ (in a nylon tent if they are lucky) in an area that snows in winter. They arrive there with almost nothing: no food, shelter, clothing, blankets.

Alongside UNHCR and NGOs providing medical assistance and food distribution, Jenni’s Get Shit Done team started as a mobile workshop operating out of a van. The team has grown to be 10-30 independent volunteers who now have a large workshop: recent projects have been constructing wooden flooring for tents and a bike project. There are significant distances for refugees to travel in and around this village, and bikes provide some independence.

What does ‘independent volunteer’ mean? Like Jenni, they are not contracted or supported by official agencies, but self funded for a period of weeks or months, some, like Jenni, for longer. “I just want to get shit done”, says Jenni, “and I couldn’t do that if I was part of UNHCR.” She has developed good networks with the agencies, and with the Greek military who run the camps. Jenni’s funding comes from her NZ fundraisers, who have helped her raise enough for basic living costs: food, power and accommodation. “I make myself take a day off each week, but it’s really hard to stop – there is just so much need.”

What does the 2017 mission hold? The camps are longterm, and have basic infrastructure: toilets and showers, food, power, drainage, flooring for the tents. A focus will now be on community development and support, learning for adults and children (Greek and German language, for example), building children’s playgrounds based on a modular design re-using as much material as possible. Washing machines are another priority: “women who have washed clothes in a plastic bucket for a year have really had enough of that.” And a new system for distributing food and clothing is being developed: opening free ‘shops’ – rather than deliver uniform packaged supplies, people can come to select what they need. “It promotes choice and dignity,” says Jenni, “and that’s so important.”

See Jenni, and refugees, on YouTube in September and November 2015.

Updated: see Jenni on Seven Sharp in April (4.30 minutes).

How can you help? The Get Shit Done team has a Facebook page and website. Donations can be made via PayPal (, Givealittle, and bank transfer to JA James, ANZ 01-0249-0101288-00.

Te ao pāpāho, media

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

Auckland Writers Festival coming in May
A. Lois White – Auckland exhibition

Lesbian writers at Auckland and Dunedin Writers Festivals

We now expect the Auckland Writers Festival to have (at least) one lesbian writer visiting from overseas, and 2017 offers UK writers Carol Ann Duffy and Stella Duffy (not related), South African Mpho Tutu van Furth, bisexual Roxanne Gay, and several writers from Aotearoa NZ as well.

The weekend before AWF, Stella Duffy has 2 events at the Dunedin Writers Readers Festival (also listed in Dyke Diary): a writing workshop (Friday May 12, 9.30am-12.30pm, Regent theatre, workshop: ‘Getting Going, Getting Done‘. And on Saturday May 13, a 1-hour (10.15-11.15am) interview, Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

AWF has Stella Duffy in 4 events: ‘Writing Queer’ workshop (Friday May 19), a 1-hour interview with the Women’s Bookshop’s Carole Beu (Saturday 20), and 2 free ‘Stella and guests’ events (different guests, 1 each on Friday 19 and Saturday 20). Check out her website/blog and follow her on Twitter; she is also a driving force behind Fun Palaces (“Everyone an Artist, Everyone a Scientist”), with the 2017 weekend of action scheduled internationally for 7-8 October.

Carol Ann Duffy is the UK’s first woman Poet Laureate, appointed for a 10-year term in 2009.

Last at AWF 2 years ago, you can hear a 36-minutes podcast of an interview with John Campbell.

She has 2 sessions with musician John Sampson (Friday May 19 & Saturday 20), a free children’s session, and is judging the Sarah Broom poetry prize (both Sunday 21). Visit the website for details. Note, ‘The World’s Wife‘, sessions sold out very quickly last time – don’t delay.

Mpho Tutu van Furth has 3 sessions: she is one of the 8 speakers in the opening night ‘True stories told live’ event (Thursday 18); one of the 3-member panel ‘Women and power’ (Friday 19); and has a 1-hour interview based around The Book of Forgiving, which she co-authored with her father, Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Saturday 20).

Visit her Facebook page, and see her on YouTube in relation to her same-sex marriage: ‘Mpho Tutu van Furth, God and human sexuality‘ and ‘Rev. Mpho Tutu on Same-Sex Marriage‘.

Haitian/US writer Roxane Gay (website, Twitter) is openly bisexual and feminist: recent well-received works include Bad Feminist and Difficult Women. She is on 2 panels and has a 1-hour interview.

Also, check out events for Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Gina Cole, and Courtney Sina Meredith.

A. Lois White – Auckland exhibition

A small collection of Lois White’s work is exhibited at the Wallace Arts Centre until early April.

Lois (pronounced to rhyme with ‘voice’) White (1903-1984) was considered old-fashioned for much of her career, both for technique and for subject matter. Her themes included christianity (she was a Methodist), political commentary (notably an anti-war stance), and female sexuality.  Her importance and contribution to New Zealand art was re-evaluated in the 1970s.

Lois White’s constant companion was Ida Eise (1894-1978), some of whose works are held by Auckland Art Gallery.

Brief online biographies of Lois White are available from Art Deco SocietyDictionary of New Zealand Biography, Auckland Art Gallery and Wikipedia; many Auckland Art Gallery images are available online, and National Library holdings in Wellington include an audio interview plus transcript.

Three views of a bust of Lois White by friend Terry Stringer

He huatau, opinion

Sexuality and museums

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unearthing sexuality in museum collections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Representing lesbian history

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

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

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

Sexuality in community museums

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

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

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

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

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

Working for change

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rātaka takatāpui, Dyke Diary

We list groups that meet at the same time and venue on the Social and Support pages. Information is organised by region (north to south, then overseas), then by date.

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

Northland/Te Tai Tokerau

Saturday 8 Gay in the Bay get-together hosted by Dave and Jurgen, Bay of Islands. See the website for details.

1112x500-aafweb-how-to-keep-an-alienSunday 9 ‘How To Keep An Alien’ – part of Upsurge Festival. 6.30pm. Edinburgh Fringe winner Sonya Kelly (writer and performer) relates a “tearfully funny, tender memoir about securing an Irish visa for her Australian partner, Kate”. $34 (early)/$38 (full) + service fee. The Turner Centre, Kerikeri.

Sunday 23 Topp Twins Heading for the Hills tour, Matakana Country Park, see their website for booking details.

Topp TwinsWednesday 26 Topp Twins Heading for the Hills tour, 7.30pm, Dargaville Town Hall.

Thursday 27 Topp Twins Heading for the Hills tour, 7.30pm, Forum North, Whangarei,

Saturday 29 Topp Twins Heading for the Hills tour, 8pm, Turner Centre, Kerikeri.

Sunday 30 Topp Twins Heading for the Hills tour, 7.30pm, Main Hall, Te Ahu, Kaitaia.

Auckland/Tamaki Makaurau

Saturday 1 Helping Hands fundraiser to help Jenni James continue her volunteer work with refugees in Europe. 6pm-1am; St John Ambulance hall, 75 Wolverton St, Avondale. A great line up of live music, raffles and a live auction; you also have the opportunity to talk with Jenni to hear some of her stories working on the ground. Tables of 10 are available, or door entry fee $20 and share tables with others. BYO drink and a plate of food to share. Bring cash for raffles. Hawaiian Fancy Dress optional. Visit Facebook event page for details.

dykehikesprofileSunday 2 Dyke Hike 11am. Ambury Park/Mangere Bridge foreshore. Ambury Park has lovely coastal sections and a collection of farm animals. Also, around this time of year migratory birds gather along the Mangere Bridge foreshore before flying north. This is an easy walk with views across the harbour. The area can be windy, so dress accordingly. 2.5-3 hours. Grade: Easy (okay in strong walking shoes, not many hills, good tracks). Email, visit or the Facebook page.

Sunday 2 Recording Preparation Workshop 1.30-4.30pm, and performance, 4.30-6pm. Audio Foundation, sub-basement of the Parisian Tie Factory, 4 Poynton Tce, central Auckland. Women about sound wants to provide a platform for women and trans-women musicians to gain knowledge, new skills and confidence in their song writing. The workshop will be facilitated by Rebecca Mason Melrose (Miloux), Caitlin Smith, Jess Haugh -musician and audio engineer, and Ira Zema-musician and audio engineer. Visit Facebook event page for details.

Saturday 8 National Council of Women community conference – Towards a gender-equal New Zealand, with Prue Kapua, Maori Women’s Welfare League, columnist Lizzie Marvelly, sexual violence survivor advocate Louise Nicholas and other speakers and workshops. 9am-3pm, St Columba Centre, 40 Vermont St, Ponsonby, $5/$10 includes lunch. Email or see the Facebook event page.

Sunday 16 Coffee & Stroll 10am, meet for coffee, Bluebells Cakery, 161a Hillsborough Rd, Hillsborough; 10.30am, an easy 40-minute stroll around Hillsborough Cemetery, 250 Hillsborough Rd. Note, much of the cemetery is on a steep hill, but level walks in this historic (1916–1974) area are also possible. Programme can be emailed; contact

Sunday 16 Fifth Season Garden Group visits two Heroic gardens in Mt Eden, followed by afternoon tea at gay-owned Big Beat Cafe in Dominion Rd. Meet at 2pm at 35 Peary Rd, Mt Eden, then 2.30pm at 31 Ellerton Rd, Mt Eden. Contact Wendy Wilson, 027 548 3510 or

Saturday 22 Informal happy hour for LGBT participants and friends in the World Masters Games organised by Auckland’s LGBT Team Auckland Masters Swimmers. Former TAM swimmers and friends welcome. 5.30-10pm, Shanghai Lil’s Cocktail & Piano Bar, 335 Karangahape Rd, Newton. See the Facebook event page.

comedygalaThursday 27 NZ International Comedy Festival’s Comedy Gala 8pm, ASB Theatre; hosted by “the greatest South African/New Zealand comedian this world has ever seen, Urzila Carlson”. Tickets $94.90/79.90 + service fee. Visit Comedy Festival website.

Saturday 29 Charlotte Museum comes to south Auckland 2-5pm, Nathan Homestead, 70 Hill Rd, Manurewa. Displays, films, quilt, performance, songs. Visit Charlotte Muse Facebook group for details.

Sunday 30 Her Sunday feels, a free Her Sunday Lickchilled afternoon-into-evening Sunday event for queer women and friends, organised by Lick. Food, drink, mingling, music and dance. 3pm – 1am, Revelry, 106 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby. See the Facebook page.

Waikato/Central North Island/Hawkes Bay

Saturday 8 Women’s Dance organised by the Lesbian Social Group, 8pm-12midnight, Two Birds Eatery, Unit 10, Clyde Street Shopping Centre, Clyde St, Hamilton East. $5 waged/$2 unwaged. Private garden bar. Visit Facebook event page for details.

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.

Sunday 9 Lesbian Overlanders do the Dry Creek loop walk. Meet at 10am outside the front of the Wellington railway station to carpool or at 10.30am at the Belmont Park carpark at the bottom of the Haywards Hill (SH58 & SH2). Email for a pick up at Manor Park if you intend to catch a Hutt train, or text Lainey on 027 303 9006 if you need a ride. See the website for details.


Saturday 29 NZ International Comedy Festival’s Comedy Gala 8pm, Opera House; hosted by “the greatest South African/New Zealand comedian this world has ever seen, Urzila Carlson”. Tickets $79.90/74.90 + service fee. Visit Comedy Festival website.

Nelson area/Whakatū

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

There’s currently no-one co-ordinating activities for Nelson events, other than potluck dinners, last Friday of the month. Walking group is still happening now and then; keep an eye on Facebook for details. Do contact TLC if you can help with regular – or one-off – events.

Saturday 8 Camping at Pakawau Beach Park, Golden Bay, on the waters edge 30m drive from Takaka and 10-15m from Farewell Spit, Puponga and Wharariki Beach. Powered sites from $17/adult + $5 power; cabins from $75 for two adults; beach house from $120 for two adults. Dog friendly. The Old School Cafe over the road and several cafes 10m away. To ensure correct booking numbers email

Saturday 8 Topp Twins Heading for the Hills tour, 8pm, Main Auditorium, ASB Theatre, Marlborough.

Sunday 23 Motueka lesbian brunch 11am, Muses Cafe, High St, Motueka.  Contact for details.

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 page. Check events on the  Christchurch LGBT social events page.

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

Free MP3 by singer/Songwriter Lisa Tui, celebrating the launch of her website with digital copies of her song I Wonder On You. Listen to her new single Comin’ on Home, released to commemorate six years after the quakes. Hear her sing on her Facebook page.

Saturday 1 Topp Twins Heading for the Hills tour, 8pm, Ashburton Trust Event Centre.

Sunday 2 Topp Twins Heading for the Hills tour with Test of Time, fundraising for the Waiau community pool after the November earthquake. 11am-5pm,  Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve.

Wednesday 5 Topp Twins Heading for the Hills tour, 7.30pm, Regent Theatre, Hokitika.

Thursday 6 Topp Twins Heading for the Hills tour, 8pm, NBS Theatre, Westport.

Sunday 9 Lambda Lattes walking group goes from Bridge St, New Brighton, towards the southern end of the Spit. Meet on Bridge St at the eastern end of the bridge, ready for a prompt 10am departure. Phone Alan on 383 9222.

Friday 14-Monday 17 Canterbury Folk Festival, Waipara. Performances by Charlotte Yates, and workshop “Why do my songs sound cheesy?” Day, evening and weekend rates; early bird rates available to March 13. Visit the website for information on accommodation and tickets.

Sunday 23 South & Mid-Canterbury Lesbian Social Group brunch in Ashburton at 10.30am. Contact Sarah on 022 1641 837 or email

comedygalaFriday 28 NZ International Comedy Festival’s Comedy Gala 8pm, Isaac Theatre Royal; hosted by “the greatest South African/New Zealand comedian this world has ever seen, Urzila Carlson”. Tickets $79.90/74.90 + service fee. Visit Comedy Festival website.

Otago/Southland/Te taurapa o te waka

Monday 3-Sunday 9 OUSA Diversity Week: at least 1 event each day, most events free. All week, Alphabet Soup fundraiser: purchase a pride ribbon from OUSA Main Office or Clubs and Societies to help us fundraise for Alphabet Soup, the local LGBTIAQ youth group. Gold coin donation. Visit website for event details and contact information; contact OUSA Queer Support Coordinator on Facebook.

Wednesday 5 Diversity 20×20 presentation part of OUSA Diversity Week, 6.30pm, Main Union Common Room (MCR). If you’re interested in presenting, contact

1112x500-aafweb-how-to-keep-an-alienWednesday 5 & Thursday 6 ‘How To Keep An Alien’ – part of Festival of Colour. 7pm. Edinburgh Fringe winner Sonya Kelly (writer and performer) relates a “tearfully funny, tender memoir about securing an Irish visa for her Australian partner, Kate”. $39/$49. Lake Wanaka Centre.

Sunday 30 Wild Women Walking to Sullivan’s Dam north of Dunedin, an easy walk finishing with coffee at Blueskin Cafe, Waitati. Drive ~15m north on the northern motorway to the intersection with Pigeon Flat Rd at Cloud Forest. Park in carpark for a prompt 10am start. Email Ann or text 022 133 9529 if you need a ride.

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

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