Scott Kennedy and Malcolm Vaughan, who have owned iconic Wellington venues including Pound nightclub and S&M’s Cocktail Bar, have received Absolutely Positively Wellingtonian Awards.

In a statement, Wellington’s Mayor Andrew Foster said: “Scott Kennedy and Malcolm Vaughan have been trailblazers in Wellington’s gay scene and history since the early 1990s. Having first met at Mr Gay New Zealand in 1992, they were married in Hawaii in 2003 in a much-publicised ceremony, as they were unable to be married here at that time.

“In the dark days before homosexual law reform, Malcolm had managed a series of late-night haunts in the capital. Initially, they were secret spaces for homosexual men to meet, as it was illegal and dangerous to do so. Malcolm then opened the well-known and celebrated Bamboo Bar and Casper’s. Their first joint venture, ironically in the old public toilets on Kent and Cambridge terraces, was The Dome Piano & Garden Bar, followed by Bojangles and Pound nightclubs, and finally Scotty and Mal’s Cocktail & Lounge Bar.


“More than just a place to drink, all these venues provided a safe place in the capital for a rainbow of marginalised LGBTQIA+ people to meet. It even attracted a few mayors and councillors, prime ministers and other politicians – everyone was welcome, and everyone was looked after.

“Scotty and Mal have also been leaders for many LGBTQI+ causes, including vocal advocacy for prostitution law reform in 2003 and same-sex marriage in 2013. The businesses have supported many community initiatives: Devotion and Deus dance parties, rainbow dragon boaters, Crazy Knights rugby team, and many more.

“Scotty and Mal were in the process of selling their famed S&Ms Bar to another operator, who would have continued to support the LGBTQI+ community. Covid put a stop to that, and they remain firmly behind the bar.

“In 2000, Scotty and Mal co-founded the After Life Memorial Trust – now called The Chrissy Witoko Memorial Trust – which originally provided financial help for those in the rainbow community who died of HIV/AIDS. Today, it continues to provide a wide range of support for LGBTQI+ people in the Wellington region.”