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Today marks the 35th anniversary of the passing of the Homosexual Law Reform Act in New Zealand.  Historian Gareth Watkins looks back at the lead-up to the bill’s passing and how key New Zealanders have reflected on it since. The legislation was introduced in March 1985 as a private member’s...
Historian Gareth Watkins looks back at the June dates that shaped Aotearoa’s queer community forever. 29 June 1944 Author and media personality David Hartnell was born in Auckland. In the 1960s he moved to Sydney, becoming Australia’s first male in-store makeup artist. He then moved to the United States where he...
Historian Gareth Watkins looks back at the May dates that shaped Aotearoa’s queer community forever. 20 May 1863 Reverend Henry Turton of Nelson stood trial at the Supreme Court on a charge of sodomy.  One of Turton’s servants, Isaac Nash, told the court how he had been summoned to Turton’s bedroom...
Historian Gareth Watkins explores April stories from Aotearoa’s queer past. 30 April 1886 Australian-born Amy Bock received her first of many convictions in New Zealand.  An early newspaper report described Bock as having a “perfect mania for what she called ‘shopping’ which consisted of ordering goods she did not require...
Historian Gareth Watkins explores significant March dates in Aotearoa’s queer past, to see what March has given us. 10 March 1953 Activist and counsellor Mani Bruce Mitchell was born in Mount Eden, Auckland. Identified (inaccurately) as hermaphrodite at birth, Mitchell was subjected to non-consensual normalising genital surgeries as a child,...
Historian Gareth Watkins explores significant February dates from past, to see how the month of love and pride has shaped us. February 1817 Feminist and businesswoman Mary Taylor was born in Yorkshire, England. In her twenties she emigrated to New Zealand.  Her life-long friend and possibly lover, Charlotte Bronte, wrote of...
Historian Gareth Watkins documents significant January dates from Aotearoa’s past queer calendar. 9 January 1923 One of New Zealand’s most famous writers, Katherine Mansfield, died in France from tuberculosis. After her death, husband John Middleton Murry edited and published a journal of her writings - intentionally omitting material dealing with Mansfield’s...
Gareth Watkins highlights significant August dates from Aotearoa’s rainbow history. 28 August 1954 Teenagers Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme were found guilty of murdering Parker’s mother with a brick in Victoria Park, Christchurch. The trial highlighted the girls’ fantasies and absorption with each other. Defence lawyers contended that the pair had...

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