What was happening in November? Here’s our Whiringa-ā-rangi page – everything neatly collated in one handy place!
The Government and Partners Rainbow Conference in Auckland this month is filling up fast and likely to reach the capacity 240 people. “The audience is mostly staff and government agencies”, says co-organiser Theresa Peters, Corrections Regional Manager Diversity. “Lots of agencies are sending 20 or more people, policy makers and advisers. The Rainbow community will be presenting to us; it’s about how we review our practices and policies to do better for Rainbow communities.”
The keynote presenters are both women, as well as a roll call of representatives of established organisations that work across Rainbow communities. Elizabeth Kerekere (Ngāti Oneone, Te Aitanga a Mahaki and Te Whānau a Kai), founder and co-chair of Wellington takatāpui group Tiwhanawhana, will talk about takatāpui, while Sandra Dickson (Pākehā), programme lead with Gender Equal NZ, will talk about their Gender Attitudes Survey.
The conference will be facilitated by gay broadcaster Steven Oates. Other speakers include Victoria Trow, Rainbow Youth Support Manager and Charlie Tredway, Rainbow Youth Homelessness Advisor; Duncan Matthews on pathways to trans health services; Tommy Hamilton, Outline counsellor; intersex activist Mani Bruce Mitchell; Tabby Beasley of Inside Out on understanding sexuality and gender in the workplace; Marti Hartley of Oranga Tamariki on Rainbow networks in public service organisations, and Hoani Lambert CDE of Orangi Tamariki about the agency and Rainbow people; and Anne Carroll and Maree Matthews of Higher Ground about mental health and addictions.
Huhana Hickey and Mani Bruce Mitchell will also discussing unsafe practices when engaging with Rainbow communities, including preferred names and pronouns, gender identity on forms, and appropriate behaviour for searching people. Another panel will outline the roles of the NZ AIDS Foundation, OUTLine, Body Positive, Postiive Women, the Prostitutes Collective and Rainbow Youth.
Theresa said that organisers received more proposals than they could fit into the time. Co-organiser Inspector Tracy Phillips, Police Tamaki Makaurau Diversity Liaison Coordinator, first raised the idea at a monthly Cross Agency Rainbow Network (CARN) meeting.
Registration for the two day event on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 at Jet Park, Auckland Airport, is $600, including food. Entry is free for community presenters. Email email@example.com. Jenny R
Wāhine takatāpui will make up the majority of an expected 200 participants at the national Hui Takatāpui in Hastings from Friday November 23 to Sunday 25.
While there are several major social events organised as part of the weekend, the main kaupapa for discussion will be the establishment of a legal identity for the annual hui, says co-ordinator Peter Paul (Ngāti Kahungungu ki Wairoa, Te Arawa).
After the Powhiri, there will be a Royal Banquet Hakari and an extravaganza on the evening of Friday 23, including entertainment, music and speakers. On Saturday participants can tour to Karewarewa sacred spring, Te Mata peak, Pania on the Parade and Napier Museum, and be welcomed by the Mayor of Hastings, Sandra Hazelhurst.
The Kotahi a Takatāpui o Aotearoa/Unity Ball will be held on the Saturday evening, “a night of glitz and glamour”, with runway fashion, music, dance vogue, a drag show and music.
The 2018 hui director is Hira Huata, also the Ngāti Kahungunu delegate on te Matatini national committee, and a trustee of te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngāti Kahungngu ki Heretaunga which is hosting the hui. Hira is a whakawahine who was involved in the drag scene at the same time as Georgina Beyer.
The hui is open to anyone, and Peter says around 10 percent of those registered are straight relatives and supporters of takatāpui who are also attending. Most registered so far are Māori, with some Asian and Indian participants, he says.
“Fourteen are coming from Australia as part of the Carmen Rupe Memorial Trust, with others coming from Tai Tokerau, Waikato, Christchurch, Invercargill, the West Coast, and members of Tiwhanawhana from Poneke,” Peter says.
The hui was originally organised by the NZ AIDS Foundation as part of its HIV prevention work with takatāpui men, but has become increasingly independent.
Regular activities for Waikato region lesbians, takatāpui wāhine and queer women have been boosted by a new organising group in the Lesbian Social Group and the start of the softball season.
Melissa Goodman, manager of the Rainbow Warriors softball team, says they’re really excited to have 21 active players this season. “We’re hoping to increase player numbers throughout the season and build to two teams next season.”
Practices are held from 6-7.30pm on Thursdays at Resthills Park, John Webb Drive, Glenview in Hamilton. Games are also held at Resthills Park on Saturday afternoons to December 15 and then from February 10 to March 24 in 2019.
The team plans a social mixed open game in the new year before their season starts on February 10, which will be open to Rainbow people of any gender, sex or sexuality; details are being finalised.
The Lesbian Social Group (LSG) has five events this month plus regular attendance at Gourmet in the Gardens, in the rhododendron section of Hamilton Gardens every Sunday until March from 4 to 8pm. “It’s a relaxing was to spend Sunday evenings,” says Rosie Jones, a new member of the organising group. “There’s lots of great food and live music. We roster ourselves so there are always one or two of us there with a Rainbow flag and a blanket.”
LSG is also organising a movie night on Tuesday 6, a dinner at a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant on Saturday 17, a group at Pink Drinks on Friday 23, a wetlands walk in Te Aroha on Sunday 25, and a group booking for the Kiwi play Movers on Tuesday 27. (See Dyke Diary for details.)
Rosie says there will be up to 15 women going camping at the Vinegar Hill Rainbow New Years’ event in the Manawatu, and more women are welcome to email LSG if they’d like to come.
Rainbow Warriors describes itself as “a team for takatāpui, lesbian, bisexual, intersex, trans, and queer softballers of all ages and backgrounds”. Melissa says the team is seen as different by other teams because it is a social team “and the others are very competitive”, not because its players are lesbians or transwomen. “There have been no negative responses from the association or other teams”.
Rosie said the LSG held a poll about changing the group’s name but had very few responses, all in favour of keeping it the same. The group includes transwomen and welcomes queer, gay and bi women. They’re keen to involve younger women in the organising group, as “we don’t seem to be catering for women in their 20s and 30s so well.”
The group meets informally in town about once a month; “Charlotte does movie nights, I do dinners and music, Donna does the email and Moi helps set up”.
Email the social group on firstname.lastname@example.org or see their webpage or the LSG Facebook page. See the Rainbow Warriors Facebook page, email coach Jaimie on email@example.com or phone 027 422 3988. JR
Hilary Oxley reports on the Manawatu Lesbian and Gay Rights Association’s Womyn’s Dinner and Dance in October.
A raucous, fun female crowd celebrated the 41st year of the Manawatu Lesbian and Gay Rights Association (MaLGRA) with the first lesbian dinner/dance to be held in Palmerston North for some time.
Five women came from overseas (Blenheim and Australia) and others from Taranaki, Wellington, Whanganui, the Kapiti Coast, Waitarere, Levin, Himatangi, Shannon, Bulls and Tangimoana.
They enjoyed a display of local lesbian herstory in the afternoon, including information from a months-long furore in the Guardian, a local free newspaper, after the first national lesbian conference in 1974*.
The display featured projected and printed images, and objects women made for cabarets and art exhibitions, including copies of the regular Manawatu Lesbian Newsheet. The memorable cartoon by Megan Davies was in our Coming Out pamphlet, produced around the time that university and city lesbians got better acquainted (to our mutual delight).
The night of MaLGRA nostalgia also attracted some young women, including a 20-year-old who had never been to a lesbian or queer event before. She bravely came on her own, talked and danced the night away, helped with the clean-up and was among the last to leave.
A sell-out 48 women enjoyed a dinner catered by Jean Kahui and crew, having been entertained by young local musician Chelsea van Duin. She sang beautifully, accompanying herself on the guitar – highly recommended. After-dinner femme floss , left, upped the sugar level before 60 women danced the night away.
The light of the city made the window art look fabulous from the dark interior of Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History, creating a beautiful venue for socialising. I hope there’ll be a next time – it was fantastic fun.
PS: Following the Witches Party at the Palmerston North Women’s Centre on October 31, Palmerston North lesbians plan regular lesbian potluck dinners.
* If anyone knows the names of the lesbians featured in the Guardian article, please email Hilary on thespacemaker [at] inspire.net.nz.
Val and Pat are very happy with Paekakariki Pride’s second year: it went really well, there were lots of events, they got fantastic feedback and there were lots of new faces.
Following the 2017 inaugural Pride Festival, 2018 was a year of more. More local organisations, businesses and people involved, rainbow and mainstream. More events. More people at events. “Heaps of kids in the parade; Paekakariki was this magical rainbow place for the whole long weekend.”
This year the fundraising benefited a local queer youth social and support organisation: Project Youth. They run out of Kapiti Youth Support – go to http://kys.co.nz/ and www.facebook.com/KapitiYouthSupport for more information.
There will likely be more development and changes to come. (“Will you have Pride next Labour Weekend?” “Of course!”) Val and Pat would like to build on involvement with the local council, local iwi, and other local organisations.
Some aspects are fixed: the underlying value is it’s a boutique festival, “small is beautiful”, and they intend to keep it that way. Part of the purpose is to experience the sense of community in the safety of a small settlement on the Kapiti coast. Hence the “world’s shortest pride parade” and the “world’s smallest queer film festival”.
If you have ideas or energy you can contribute to Paekakakariki Pride 2019, get in touch via the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/PaekakarikiPride.
Photos of Paekakariki Pride taken by Jac Lynch.
The second Canterbury Summer Camps reunion will be held at the beginning of February, 2019.
This first reunion, early in 2018, was the first time some lesbians had connected for many years – the summer camps were in the 1970s and 1980s.
The loss of contact with members of the lesbian community and the loss of some members of the community is prompting ongoing projects (spirituality, oral herstory, connections with younger lesbians) and plans for the next reunion. Lesbians don’t have to have participated in a summer camp to come to a reunion, but numbers are limited.
Registrations will be taken from early December, but you can indicate interest before then: contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Costs will be kept as low as possible (approx $20 night for bed and $15 for food) and there could be ride-sharing to south Canterbury from Christchurch. Suggestions/ideas include a ritual celebration on Saturday (Lammas), archiving interviews, grief and loss discussion, accommodation networking.
Some readers may recognise Elizabeth Marshall from TV show MasterChef, while Wellington readers may know her as the organiser of Out in the Park earlier this year. She spoke with Jenny Rankine about her career in hospitality.
Elizabeth grew up in Massachusetts in the north-eastern USA, but did a year of high school in Christchurch, where her dad had a job as a paediatric neurologist, dealing with problems in the brains and nervous systems of babies to teenagers.
“I really fell in love with New Zealand and didn’t want to leave, but I was too young to stay by myself.” She finished high school in the USA and went to university. “My two passions, hospitality and acting were not considered appropriate professions.” Instead she studied performing arts and communications, performed in university and professional shows, and worked in hospitality jobs on the side.
“Then I said ‘stuff it’ and went into theatre and acting fulltime. I always said I’d come back to New Zealand, and I did in 2002 when I was 23.” She’s now a New Zealand citizen, has spent half her life in each country and identifies as Pākehā. “I’m definitely tied to New Zealand”.
“In Wellington it was difficult to get full-time acting work because I couldn’t use my American accent, so I worked in event management – corporate events and murder mystery dinners where there was still acting involved. Then I did more office work and administration but realised didn’t want to keep doing that.”
Elizabeth learnt her love of cooking from her mother, “a stay at home mum who entertained a lot. We have lots of old photos of me standing on a stool licking the spoon.”
She started volunteering to cook lunches for 30 to 50 senior citizens every Friday at Newlands Community Centre. “I’d supply the ingredients – I had to create dishes for very little and use all parts of the produce; that was cool. We might roast a head of broccoli and puree the stalk and all into sauce for pasta or soup. I found some pretty creative things to do with it. We’d sit and chat over lunch with them; they really valued the food and the interaction.”
Elizabeth was in her early 30s, and it was “too expensive to go to culinary school – it means taking a whole year out and it costs more than a chef would earn in a year for a top school. So I applied for MasterChef. I combined my true loves – I’d already been on TV as an actor, doing minor and extra roles.”
“When you watch shows and don’t know the background, you think ‘Oh my god, I could do that’. It’s a totally different kettle of fish to have three cameras down your neck and a director asking questions when you’re in the middle of cooking. It was a lot of fun and I’m thankful for the experience, but I wouldn’t recommend it.”
“They start with about 50 applicants and whittle it down; we had around 20 for the show and I came eighth. I met a lot of amazing people, I learned a LOT about cooking myself and working with other people. It was 24/7 food, cooking, eating, talking, learning. The interesting thing is that after the show only two of us out of the 20 were working in commercial kitchens.”
Elizabeth had never chefed in a restaurant before. “I was lucky enough to get a job as a kitchenhand at Martin Bosley’s in Wellington before the show aired. He paved the way for molecular gastronomy and fine dining in New Zealand.”
“Molecular gastronomy involves altering the shape and texture of food to create a wow factor.” Elizabeth gives the example of “a caviar-like ball that starts as a soft puree, develops a skin and ends up being a sphere, a caviar texture that pops. I always wanted to do dish with peas in a sphere on MasterChef but never got to.”
Elizabeth is still bound by a contract not to talk about how the show works behind the scenes. “Watching reality TV now I know there is lots of film that doesn’t make it to the screen, so when you see it it’s a different story to being part of it. All those monologues – there’s a director asking you questions, prompting certain reactions.”
Making MasterChef took two months in Auckland, but didn’t air until nine months later. “By that time I’d been working in a commercial kitchens for six months. Most of the time restaurants take people who’ve been through courses but chefs like passionate, hardworking cooks, so sometimes they’ll take someone who wants to get stuck in and doesn’t mind starting at the bottom.”
“I learned a lot from Martin’s sous chef, about cooking in a restaurant kitchen and seasoning. It is so different from home cooking. Home cooking is a lot more relaxed, less formal, less rushed – you can change the dish halfway through. In a commercial kitchen, time is money and you have to make sure the dish is identical to the last time the customer ate it. There’s not much flexibility with flavours.
“I did struggle at times in the commercial kitchen environment because I wasn’t as fast as the other chefs. It’s a lot of multi-tasking – doing eight different dishes at once, looking ahead to see what’s coming up so you have the things you need. Making sure that your entrees go out to that table altogether and the mains to another one.”
Elizabeth still continued cooking lunches at the Newlands Community Centre while she was cheffing. “I only stopped two years ago when my dad died, after I’d done it for six years.”
“I wish I’d been able to work at Bosley’s for longer, he’s an amazing chef and person; unfortunately he went into liquidation.” Elizabeth moved to another job with the Nourish Group, which owned Shed 5 and Crab Shack. “Bosley’s was only open for dinner, so it wasn’t as gruelling as Shed 5 (above), which is open for lunch and dinner. They were long days – I started at 10am at Shed 5 and sometimes didn’t finish until 1am. You get up next day and do it all over again.”
“The chefs worked at those two restaurants at the same time. We’d do fine dining for a month or two, then casual seafood, and then I did desserts for both restaurants on pastry section. It’s very hard on your body and mentally challenging; you’ve got to be really fast, the pace is insane. It’s a similar rush to performing onstage – hard work but fun.”
Eventually Elizabeth had to have surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. “I started teaching people how to cook and doing stuff for friends, and wound up making more money doing my own stuff than working 80-something hours in a commercial kitchen. I was old enough to be everyone’s mum – it was a no-brainer.”
Making her own business
“I started doing masterclasses, renting commercial kitchen space in the Crave Cooking School; I also cooked in people’s homes and in community centres. Cooking in different kitchens is fun, it keeps you on your toes.” Elizabeth had started making her alcoholic cakes for a friend’s birthday, before she was on MasterChef.
“She doesn’t like cake and loves bourbon, so I made her a bourbon chocolate cake and she loved it. The alcohol is one of the ingredients, not just drizzled over. You can’t taste some of the alcohols, but it makes a real difference. Friends started asking me for birthdays, and then I started selling them at the city artisan market at Schaffers’ Dock every Sunday.”
Elizabeth is also testing recipes for “a lot of ‘free-from’ snacks and items for sale in Commonsense Organics and other places. I’ve always had family and friends who have to avoid certain foods.”
“It used to really frustrate me that people who couldn’t eat certain things were ostracised and had to eat by themselves, so I taught myself how to create those things. In those days all the gluten-free stuff tasted like crap and all the vegan stuff was horrid.”
“I’ve re-invented all my friends’ favourite dishes and classics that they couldn’t have because of things like Crohn’s and Coeliac disease, so they actually tasted good. I knew they were good if I tested them out on my flatmate and workmates who didn’t have allergies, without telling them. I like people being able to eat all together and feel included – it’s not rocket science.”
Elizabeth’s voluntary work remains largely food-oriented. She has been involved with Good Bitches Baking since a friend started it four years ago. “We bake for people in need; it’s about spreading kindness for people going through a rough time. A treat or a cake for the neonatal ward or Women’s Refuge lets people know there are bakers out there who care about them. Sometimes I bake once a week, sometimes once a month, usually during the week.”
She’s also part of a related group teaching long-term male prisoners at Rimutaka Prison how to bake, as they prepare to leave prison. “We just did a six-week pilot in July/August with six guys, and we’re hoping to continue it – it was received very positively. I was one of the teachers; we have one teacher per prisoner and a floater or two, up to eight bakers at a time from a roster of 12.”
Elizabeth came out when she was 28. “In my US high school I was part of the gay-straight alliance – I always thought I was the straight one! I’d had an experience with one of my best friends – I thought everyone fell in love with their best friends, that it was part of growing up. All I knew about lesbians was that they looked like boys and I didn’t fit into that mould – I didn’t look gay and didn’t dress butch. I was so naïve.”
“One of my friends was one of the first openly lesbian girls at high school when I was 14. She held hands with her new girlfriend, and kids got stones from outside and threw them at her. I thought it wasn’t right to ostracise people and treat them differently, so I got involved with GSA. We had about six to 12 in the group, we met regularly to talk. The straights in the group looked out for bullying and stood up for our gay friends. It was a upper middle-class White Catholic/Jewish community.”
“At uni I got dared to kiss other girls at parties and I really loved it so I thought I must be bi. It wasn’t until I came to Wellington and followed The Drag Kings at Pound Bar that I thought ‘This is totally me’. When Our Bar opened, run by women, I had a couple of hook-ups and that was it. I’m definitely a lesbian; for a while I liked dyke but now I’m older it doesn’t feel right anymore. In saying that, I don’t really like the word lesbian – I wish we lived in a world where we didn’t have to label people. We don’t want to put ourselves into boxes yet we do.”
Elizabeth is in The Drag Kings. “I’ve been with them for nine years now – as everyone’s getting older we’re doing fewer shows. I have a few personas, including Just-in Thyme, a wannabe Justin Timberlake, and a drag queen Litsea Liqueur.” Her first name is Elizabeth’s favourite essential oil, and her whole name is a pun.
Elizabeth organised Out in the Park in 2018, and is on the Out Wellington Inc Wellington Pride Festival organising committee again, involved with Out in the Park for 2019. This time is with a co-director Karen Harris, and Roxy organising the entertainment.
Elizabeth became involved in Wellington Pride “because I had told Virginia Parker-Bowles I would and I never had. I always wanted to – I just never had time. I did lots of volunteer work but not for our community. On the day she died she had a big party, but was too sick to be there. Her message was read out: ‘Get involved with your queer whānau and do things for our community’. She touched a lot of people. So, on her deathbed promised I would.”
Photos: Second: Dessert canapes for Well Travelled Bride launch; Fourth: Guest chef for Wellington on a Plate event; booze cake for Wellington Pride 2018 launch; Elizabeth’s cake celebrating 30 years of homosexual law reform; Guest chef at GF Masterclass of Gluten Free Food and Allergy Show.
Dunedin-based GP and writer Lucy O’Hagan spoke with Jenny Rankine.
Lucy identifies as Pākehā, descended from “many generations of Irish Catholic peasants”. Her father was the first in the family to go to university, working first as a GP and then as a respiratory physician. “I was born in Winton in Southland – Dad was a GP there when I was born. Then we moved to Invercargill and later to Christchurch.”
She describes her dad as “quietly radical – his response to the Cartwright Inquiry was to invite Sandra Coney down to speak to senior doctors in Christchurch”.
Lucy was in the 1983 medical class that was the first at the University of Otago Medical School to be half women. When she and a friend became the first female doctors in a Wanaka practice, female GPs were still uncommon and people rang the practice to check that they wrote prescriptions.
Lucy worked as a GP in Wanaka for 20 years. There she joined a women’s theatre group called Flatout Productions; “we probably put on a production a year for seven years, with professional directors”. They included Jo Randerson and Stuart Devenie among others; “they taught us a lot.”
“With Jo we workshopped our own adaptation of MacBeth, called Witches over Wanaka”, which run during the Festival of Colour, the major arts festival for the southern lakes area.
Then she joined another group of three in Wanaka, Silk Tent, who wanted to create a theatre piece about self-mutilation. One of them, an artist called Lizzi Yates, became Lucy’s best friend – “that’s how we met. We got a grant to create a multimedia theatre piece, Girl with no words. People came up to us in the street after they read about the grant, and we had some amazing conversations with people about their lived experience of self-harm.”
“The three of us collaborated on the narrative, and I played the main character. The play included Lizzi’s projected images, music, and projected mini-documentaries of experts – a psychiatrist, a sociologist, an anthropologist and a service user, who were all our mates acting.”
“It was received really well, opening a College of GPs conference in Wellington, and playing in Auckland, Wanaka, Queenstown and Clyde.”
“People’s response to mental distress is interesting – cutting makes people want to step away. For others it’s like testimony, people respond with their own story.”
“I was in a relationship with a man for 28 years and we had two children, and about five years ago I fell in love with Lizzi. It was a really tricky situation, because she was married. I’d separated from my husband before it ever occurred to me.”
“It took me a long time to tell her, and then I read a book on moral philosophy to see if it was okay to break up someone else’s marriage,” she laughs. “Apparently it comes down to whether you’d be okay with someone doing it to you in the same circumstances.”
“Telling Lizzi was quite difficult – I thought she wouldn’t be into that at all and I’d lose my best friend, but it didn’t turn out that way. She separated from her husband. We both lived in Wanaka and we were quite well known in the community. What fascinates me is that people didn’t tell us their reactions to it, although we did hear that it was the talk of the bridge club!”
The relationship was “not an issue for my family at all. I emailed my mother that I was with my partner. She was 83 then, and she immediately rang and left a message saying how marvellous, and she couldn’t imagine a lovelier woman for me to be with.” [Lizzi and Lucy are pictured dressed for a nephew’s 21st.]
“I have a gay son and a sister who has been in a lesbian relationship for 25 years. And the father of their two children is in a gay relationship. My children in Wanaka also had surrogate grandmothers who were a lesbian couple.”
Lucy and Lizzi “bought a house together, and have lived happily ever since. It’s quite different going into a relationship with someone who’s been your best friend for five years – I think it makes it a bit easier.”
However, the relationship changes took their toll. “I got burnt out after breaking up my relationship, falling in love, her leaving her relationship – it was a full-on few years working through all that, including the kids. It was quite important for both of us to preserve relationships with previous partners, but that was quite hard. I was a practice owner, which is a big job. General practice takes a lot of energy and if you have a lot going on in your life, you can’t do it. But the culture of medicine is pushing on through. I should have taken three months off after my separation, but that’s not the culture. Doctors just keep going when they’re sick or under pressure.”
Lucy has since talked about burnout at conferences and in articles. “I think doctors are quite worried about being shamed. For me being burnt out had a lot of shame and failure about it, which was worse than the burnout. It took me quite a long time to dismantle that shame.” The photo below is of Lucy at work a week before she burnt out.
“Doctors are trained through humiliation. For example, when you’re a med student on a ward round, the teachers interrogate students to the limit of the student’s knowledge and then ask one more question to humiliate them. When I describe that scenario to doctors, they all know what I mean.
I think doctors are ashamed by not knowing something, or not coping with pressure, or making a mistake, or getting emotional.”
“Telling people that you’ve been burnt out gives other people permission to tell their story too. It’s amazing the people who come up after a talk and tell their story, when you’d never have that conversation otherwise.”
Two years ago, Lucy and the family moved to Dunedin, where Lucy teaches in the College of General Practice courses for postgraduate students. She also works at Ngai Tahu’s Mataora, “a low-cost medical clinic in Dunedin. I also work an afternoon a week at a free GP clinic at the needle exchange service in Dunedin. I like being a fringe dweller on the edges of medicine. It’s not hard because medicine’s pretty conservative.”
“At Mataora, sixty percent of the patients are Māori or Pacific, whereas Wanaka was one percent Māori. It’s profoundly different because in Wanaka, people are relatively affluent, whereas here I’m face to face with poverty. It’s a lovely workplace – both Mataora and the needle exchange have a very good kaupapa of caring for people.”
“We see a lot of people with significant mental distress and traumatic memory. When you have that with poverty, it’s pretty difficult. When I did the Girl with no words I became interested in the effect of childhood trauma and abuse on adults.”
“It’s astounding to me the lack of support people have, there are a few services out there but most people with mental distress or trauma and poverty are pretty isolated. People are amazing, they have incredible strengths.”
Lucy gained a certificate in Narrative Practice in Boston, which is part of a programme in narrative medicine. “Narrative is a theoretical way of looking at therapy or ethics or medicine through story. It gives you a different lens for thinking about what you’re doing.”
“Medicine is very much about taking a history, making a diagnosis and offering treatment. It sometimes works quite well, but there’s a few problems, especially when there isn’t a diagnosis, or there’s no treatment, or if the surgery doesn’t make people better.”
“Psychiatry tends to be more interested in people’s diagnosis than their story. You can think of illness as a disruption to someone’s story; your role is to help them move their story to a different place. People have to make some meaning from cancer or major medical problems.”
When I asked about the future, Lucy said, “I’m probably going to write a book about being a doctor, based around fictionalised stories from general practice. From feedback on presentations I’ve done, I sense a real thirst among medical audiences for books that get them thinking differently about their practice.” [She’s pictured above with the couple’s three children.]
When asked about her sexual identity, Lucy says, “I don’t really like labels. My kids go, ‘Oh mum, you can’t be binary about it’. I haven’t had a need to put a label on it, but a lot of other people, particularly heterosexuals, feel a need to label me. They call me lesbian because I’m in a relationship with a woman.”
“It feels like an odd question, because I can’t imagine being in a relationship with anyone else, male or female. I don’t know how it will evolve. I appreciate that I’m in quite a privileged position, with a family that’s very open, and at a time in history where it was relatively easy.”
“If I’d fallen in love with my best friend in Wanaka 30 years ago it would have been a very different story – labelling myself would have been necessary. I really appreciate the older women who’ve gone before us who made it possible for me to come out quite easily.”
“Having said all that about not needing the label lesbian, we both found it fantastic spending the weekend with a group of lesbians [at the Australasian Lesbian Medical Association], because there was a certain freedom in it. It was beautiful seeing people being in their own skin and not posturing and adjusting themselves. It was fun. It makes you realise how much you monitor yourself in a heterosexual world, how self-conscious you are. It’s subtle, you’re not totally aware of it until you’re not in that world.”
“They were incredibly welcoming; it was incredible being in a group with that much warmth towards each other. I don’t spend a lot of time at event where there are only lesbians, it was quite an experience to do that.”
We welcome your suggestions of websites, books, films and any other media of interest to lesbians and queer women.
We appreciate the original cartoons provided by Helen Courtney. This one, Flight of fancy, seems to fit particularly well with Media.
Lisa Williams’ third novel is a complex drama. Grandzilla is set principally in two locations and in two times: 2015 United States and 1967 Berlin, although there’s also an important link to 1945.
Some characters are in both sections, although one of the questions the book poses to the reader is, how much is a person the same, over time? Given the past is a different country, how different are the inhabitants? (Note, there are no answers, and no spoilers, in this review.)
“Not every grandma is a sweet little old lady”, says the cover. And the title is a clue: even if we haven’t known a difficult grandmother, we know what they can be like. We meet Tillie in the opening paragraph: a “no-nonsense” personality and behaviour, which you sense is something she is proud of. She is “dressed as if at any minute she might nip out to chair a board meeting”.
Who is Tillie matched with? Her moody teenage granddaughter, Tessa. They are thrown together for the summer, something neither of them wants. We meet Tessa in Chapter 2, feeling sorry for herself, stuck with her grandma: “We don’t get along. She hates everything I’ve ever loved.”.
So far, so good, you think. And then almost immediately there is an unexpected turn: an unexpected person from the past (1967 Berlin) turns up and turns what might have been a straightforward family drama into something much more complex and interesting.
There are multiple layers of action and characterisation in both sets of stories; there are a lot of people, many points of view. It can not have been easy to plot out or to write, and it can be a challenge to the reader. Not because it’s difficult to read, but because there is a lot to keep in mind. Grandzilla will keep you engaged for its 340 pages.
If you are in Auckland on Wednesday November 7, get along to the launch at the Women’s Bookshop.
Information about Grandzilla’s origins is at www.lisalisa.org/grandzilla. Get this book and read it for yourself.
Berlin Dyke March
Miriam Saphira was in Berlin in time for their Dyke Pride March on Christopher Street Day.
The first CSD LGBTI parade, with lots of truck-based floats, took to the streets in West Berlin on June 30 in 1979 and Dyke Pride Marches began in 2012. They had also been held in New York in the 70s, and since in 1981 in Vancouver.
Dyke Marches are a platform for lesbian visibility, anti-sexist and feminist topics. They are free of commercial advertising and political party banners and floats.
Dyke on Bikes, including a bike group from Hamburg, led the parade of 5,000 women including many lesbian feminist groups and issues. The sole vehicle pumped out women’s music, and was pushed for part of the parade to save petrol.
Among the placards were ‘Lesbians are the new queer’ with a women’s sign intertwined with a labrys; ‘The lesbians are coming’; ‘Remember the riots’; ‘We have so much clit we don’t need balls’; ‘my wonderful aging programme loves sex’; ‘lesbian against the right’, ‘For my own chosen living space when I am old’; ‘The future is fluid’; and many waving labryses.
The march ended with the Dycyles – Dykes on bicycles.
Although the placards represented difficult aspects of discrimination, ill health and housing, it was a very jolly parade. After the closing speeches at the Südblock, the celebrating and discussions continued at three nearby bars.
The Dyke March was very different from the CSD Parade the next day, which included many corporate and political floats, involved a million people and lasted more than six hours in 36° heat.
What I also found exhilarating was the lesbian show at the Schulz Museum. Usually this gay museum is male dominated but this year it had a large lesbian herstory exhibition. It featured early music in podcasts, which visitors could listen to on earphones; film clips from the early lesbian movement; and a range of poets, writers and artists. I saw work from Claude Cahun (1894-1954) that was new to me, and my friend Käte Weiss who founded a woman’s centre and gallery.
I was sad they did not show a copy of Die Freundin, the first known lesbian magazine in the world (1924), recently found in a box in an attic. Spinnboden, the lesbian archive, had to raise €6,000 euros to buy them. Several other gay groups pitched and they are now archived, with copies at Spinnboden to view. The Charlotte Museum Trust in Auckland also has copies as well as other lesbian magazines in different languages.
We were so lucky to stay in Schöneberg, the old gay district I have been visiting since 1986. We were able to see the tribute to poet Hilda Radusch, who survived incarceration in a concentration camp for being lesbian. Hilda and Käte Weiss are no longer with us but their memory is recorded. It was a poignant time for me.
Photos of the march by Brigitte Dummer.
To Sunday 16 December Lesbian Salsa dancing An introduction to salsa, open to all ages, sizes and dance levels; no partner needed, singles welcome. Taught weekly by Susanna, but no class on Sunday October 21, Labour weekend. $10 per class. 6.30-7.30pm, Auckland Women’s Centre, 4 Warnock St, Grey Lynn. Phone Susanna on 021 260 9145.
Sunday 4 Dyke Hike Long Bay (please note change due to track closure) 11am. Meet at the far end of the Long Bay, North Shore, car park at 11am. Hike will be about three hours, moderate hike with some hills in mainly open coastal tracks. Some coastline walking if tides permit. Moderate. Email email@example.com, visit www.lesbian.co.nz or the Facebook page.
Monday 5 Understanding gay Professor Mark Henrickson will argue that the differences between gay and non-gay people is more about the ways we understand the world and decide what is true, rather than about sex, as non-gay people believe. Gender and sexually diverse persons experience themselves as fundamentally different in a cisgender heteronormative world. This difference has implications for educators, health and social service providers, parents and family members, as well as gender and sexually diverse and trans persons. 7–8pm, SNW 100, Sir Neil Waters Lecture Theatre Building, Gate 1, Massey University, Albany campus, Albany Expressway. Register here.
Please click here for a campus map and free parking.
Thursday 8 – Friday 9 Government and partners Rainbow Conference, working with partners to ‘move from tolerance to inclusion’, Jet Park Auckland Airport Hotel & Conference Centre, Mangere, Auckland. The joint government agency organising group is led by women in NZ Police and Department of Corrections, and invites Rainbow groups and individuals to contribute presentations and sessions that ‘challenge agency thinking and help improve services’. The deadline for short abstracts (up to 600 words) of proposed presentations is 18 September, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sessions will last 25 minutes including questions. Participants include the Human Rights Commission, Fire and Ambulance, Customs and other agencies. Email email@example.com to register.
Wednesday 14 aLBa meeting Hear Tee Peters talk about her work in her newly created role as Diversity Manager with the Department of Corrections at the Auckland Lesbian Business Association meeting. From 5.30pm, Garnet Station, Westmere. Tee will be speaking at 6.30pm. Free for members, otherwise $10 at the door.
Wednesday 14 Open Mike for writers with singer-songwriter and artist SamRB, 7pm, Cafe Cafe One2one, 121 Ponsonby Rd. See the Facebook event page.
Saturday 17 Auckland Roller Derby League takes on the national men’s team, New Zealand Mens Roller Derby. These two teams last met two years ago where ARDL took the win over the men, but NZMRD have since trained for and played in the Roller Derby World Cup so this could be anyone’s game! Doors open 5.30pm, game starts 6pm, Glenfield ActivZone, Glenfield, $5 cash on the door/ under 12s free. See the Facebook event page.
Sunday 18 Coffee & Stroll. 10am, meet for coffee at MELBA Hillsborough, 1/602 Hillsborough Road, Mt Roskill. 10.30am a pleasant 40-minute stroll in Waikowhai Park. Now the largest block of native forest left in Auckland city (because the land was considered too infertile for farming, so was not cleared) – although was also used as a landfill site. Timespanner has an entry on its history, and there is a large off leash dog exercise area. To be added to mailing list, message firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday 22 Sandra Dickson and Pani Farvid – “#MeToo, #WeToo, now what?”: Achieving gender equality in Aotearoa Sandra, left, will report on the main findings of the 2017 New Zealand Gender Attitudes Survey, by Gender Equal NZ, led by the National Council of Women NZ, and Pani Farvid of AUT will discuss primary prevention – stopping sexism and gender inequality before it happens. Free. 6.30–8pm, Owen Glen Building, Lecture Theatre 5. All welcome.
Saturday 24 GALS Can’t Keep Quiet – Songs of Protest and Progress from votes for women to apartheid, workers rights to marriage equality; an evening of inspirational, rousing, wonderful music. 7pm, St Matthew in the City. Tickets $15/$35 from the GALS website. See the Facebook event page.
Tuesday 27 Mental health of Asian LGBTI populations in Auckland with speakers Seng Poh Lee and Yun Huang. A presentation organised by the Cross Culture Interest Group at Waitemata DHB. 6-8.30pm, supper 6-6.30pm, Conference Room, Independent Living Service, Auckland, 14 Erson Avenue, Royal Oak Join the live webcast by emailing a request for the webcast access password to Chris Wong at least one week beforehand, or ask to view the recorded session.
Tuesday 27 November Australian writer Clementine Ford launches her new book, Boys will be boys, about male power, entitlement and the toxic bonds of mateship. Fundraiser for the Auckland Women’s Centre, bookings essential to email@example.com Freemans’ Bay Community Centre, 7pm-8.30pm with booksigning. Donation between zero to $20.
Thursday 29 NZ LGBTI awards and gala dinner with Tamati Coffey, MC, and presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to the Topp Twins. Awards have two categories, public and corporate. Public categories include international and local icon, takatāpui, musicians, media professionals, sports personalities, politicians, charities, marketing campaigns, and hero of the year. Corporate categories include allies, diversity champions, employee networks, and role models. Black tie; tickets $230 for community to $400 premium corporate. Entertainment headed by Lucy Lawless performing the track Aotearainbow, with singer-songwriter Beth Winks and others. Red carpet and welcome drinks from 6-7.30pm, dinner from 7.30-10.30pm, The Cordis (formerly Langham) Symonds St, city. Organised by Suran Dickson. See the website and get your tickets.
Summer Saturdays Rainbow Warriors women’s softball team play in the local league at Resthills Park in Glenview, Hamilton, either at 1pm or 3pm, depending on the draw. Check their Facebook page.
Thursdays Social dodgeball for Hamilton 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.
Every Sunday until March Lesbian Social Group at Gourmet in the Gardens, rhododendron section of Hamilton Gardens, 4 to 8pm. Look out for the Rainbow flag. See the LSG Facebook page.
Tuesday 6 Lesbian Social Group Movie Night at Lido Cinema Movie can’t be confirmed until November 1; will be either A star is born with Lady Gaga or Bohemian Rhapsody about Freddy Mercury. Meet ~ 5:45pm at Centreplace. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Saturday 10 – Sunday February 10, 2019 The Topp Twins – an exhibition for New Zealand Waikato Museum, open daily 10am-5pm, free entry.
Saturday 17 Lesbian Social Group Dinner at Daikoku, a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant, 6pm, 65 Bryce St, central Hamilton. Please RSVP to email@example.com by Thursday 15.
Friday 23-Sunday 25 Hui Takatāpui Powhiri, Royal Banquet Hākari, Friday night Extravaganza, Taka Tours, Mayor’s welcome, Unity Ball. $65 includes accommodation, meals and ball tickets. Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngāti Kahungungu ki Heretaunga, 139 Stock Rd, Bridge Pa, Hastings. Book at ticketsuite.co.nz/view-event/11
Friday 23 Lesbian Social Group at Pink Drinks LGBT event, 7.30-9.30pm, Cook St Social, 7 Cook St, Hamilton East.
Saturday 24-Sunday 25 Charlotte Museum come to Waikato
Saturday 24 Courageous conversations: A White Ribbon event facilitated by Mereana Pitman, with a panel of speakers talking about respectful relationships, leadership and breaking the silence on family and sexual violence. Organised by Te Whāriki Manawāhine O Hauraki. Free. 2.15-4.30pm, Thames War Memorial Civic Centre, 200 Mary St, Thames. See the Facebook event page.
Sunday 25 Lesbian Social Group on Howarth Memorial Wetlands Walk, 10am, Spur St, Te Aroha. 4km walk around the wetlands followed by coffee/cake. There are spas available, please pre-book yourself if you’re interested. Dogs on leads welcome.
Tuesday 27 Lesbian Social Group go to the Movers. In this play, aspiring comic Tai starts work with a moving company, and finds the perfect material among his new co-workers, who could have stepped straight from the Stuff comments. 7pm, the Meteor, 1 Victoria Ave, Hamilton central. $16/$20. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 7; after that book your own tickets and ask for seating next to LSG.
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.
To Wednesday 7 Expressive Life Drawing class with Sian Torrington. A six-week drawing adventure, 6-8pm, Vincent’s Art Studio, Willis St (no class Oct 10). $245, including all materials and model fees. See the class website and email Sian email@example.com.
Saturday 3 Pink Star Walk 4.15-9.15pm, Frank Kitts Park, Jervois Quay, fundraiser for breast cancer support. Tickets $35-40. Go to Facebook event page for details and to buy tickets.
Saturday 3 Coven Party for women and gender minorities, hosted by Hugo Grrl, DJs and live music, 8–11pm, Ivy Bar and Cabaret, 49 Cuba Street, Te Aro, $13-$15, tickets from Eventfinda. See the Facebook event page.
Sunday 4 Free Rainbow History Walk A 90-minute tour of inner city Wellington, featuring Homosexual Law Reform, Rainbow personalities, churches’ relationship with our communities, imprisonment on Matiu Somes Island and a WW1 same-sex love story, Meet at 1pm, on the forecourt of Parliament buildings by the flag poles, walking via The Terrace, Lambton Quay, Midland Park and end at the waterfront by Frank Kitts Park. Accessible – alternate route available for the few steps. Just turn up, but check the Facebook page for weather related cancellations. See
Sunday 11 Lesbian Overlanders on the Northern Walkway We will walk as long as we feel like and can drop down from the track somewhere with a café nearby. Dog friendly. Meet in front of the Wellington Railway Station at 9.50am to catch the 10.02 Johnsonville train to Raroa station. We walk to the Truscott St entrance to Johnsonville Park, then southwards to Mt Kaukau. Download the full walk here. Text Lainey on 027 303 9006 if you are coming.
Thursday 29 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.
The Tasman Lesbian Connection (TLC) sends a monthly email of events in the area, Nelson and Motueka in particular. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to go on the mailing list or for more details of any events.
Sunday 25 Motueka brunch from 11am, Jester Cafe, High St, Motueka. Must have numbers to book a table as it’s always busy there. RSVP to email@example.com by November 19.
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.
Saturday 3 Pink Star Walk 4.15-9pm, Hagley Park North, fundraiser for breast cancer support. Tickets $35-40. Go to Facebook event page for details and to buy tickets.
Saturday 3 Wild Women Walk Port Chalmers. The track climbs up through light bush, crosses Blueskin Rd, then down through the new cemetery to Careys Bay where we’ll finish with coffee. Meet by the Pt Chalmers library [turn R at bottom of main street into Beach St] for a prompt 10am departure. Contact Ann on 022 133 9529 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.