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GayNZ.com's 2012 New Year’s Honours

Posted in: People, Hall of Fame
By - 1st January 2013

Our favourite part of the year is looking back on the people who have shone over the year. To start 2013 on a positive note, we present our New Year’s Honours.

With the help of a small band of informed advisers we choose a handful of people who have made a difference to their glbti brothers' and sisters' lives. People who have stood out as being exceptional.


(See politicians we have already honoured - and dishonoured - here)


Nigel Studdart

For standing up for our kids and parents

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Straight Northland teacher and parent Nigel Studdart could have remained silent when the principal at his Whangarei Catholic school used a school newsletter to go on a personal tirade against marriage equality. However, he felt that for the sake of glbti students and parents he could not remain silent.

Studdart spoke up- and was promptly dismissed. “Obviously I feel really upset that I’ve lost my job, but I couldn’t have done anything else quite honestly. And every time I get another message it really confirms what I did was the right thing to do,” he told us.

Studdart’s future remains in limbo as a hearing on the matter is delayed and delayed. We hope it gets sorted soon, as our glbti kids desperately need teachers like Mr Studdart.


Joan Bellingham

For bravery

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It’s hard to imagine a New Zealand where a woman could be forced to endure into electric shock therapy after being deemed insane simply for being open about the fact she was interested in other women. Prospective nurse Joan Bellingham’s life was ripped apart when she came out as a 17-year old in 1970 and, after fourteen years of ECT, she has been fighting for compensation and for her medical records to be corrected.

While she was finally victorious this year, and received a pittance for what she went through, it was never about the money. She fought and shared her story in the hope it would help others who had faced the same.

We hope Joan has an incredible life from here on in, she deserves it.


Michael Bancroft

For caring

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At the height of the first phase of the HIV/AIDS epidemic when more gay and bi men were dying every week many of their bereaved partners, friends and sometimes families too gathered together in their grief to create quilt panels. It was therapy but it also created everlasting personalised mementoes of lives cut short.

Hundreds of quilt panels were made and in recent years were overseen by The Quilt project. When the death rate subsided and quilt making passed into history it was finally left to Michael Bancroft, who also presided over more HIV funerals than he can count, to care for the panels, to arrange their storage, to transport them to events around the country and eventually to negotiate their care in perpetuity by Te Papa.

It's has been a labour of duty and of love. For year after year watching over these delicate and priceless reminders of our HIV dead and ensuring their future we honour Michael Bancroft, the guardian of the memories of our brothers lost to HIV.


Steven Kasiko

For his courage and hope

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One person who has really brought home the realities of life for GLBT people in many hateful nations in the world is Ugandan man Steven Kasiko, who fled here after being outed in a national newspaper. He was threatened, cast out of his family and found it hard to even attend work in his much-loved conservation job. At last report Steven's partner was still missing with Ugandan authorities suspiciously unhelpful about ascertaining his whereabouts or well-being.

We are glad Steven has come to New Zealand and hope he will be allowed to stay to enjoy the protection, freedom and rights he, and every other GLBT person in the world, deserves.


Our glbti youth

For standing up and speaking out

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One of the most exciting movements this year has been from our youth, who have dispelled the often spouted mistruth that they are not politically savvy or aware, that activism faded out with a previous glbti generation. Much of the traction on marriage equality, adoption equality and trans rights has come from them in the forms of groups such as Legalise Love and the Queer Avengers. The number of young people at the Wellington march for marriage equality was inspiring.

They are ready to fight for fairness and justice, and seem to be just getting started.


Gresham Bradley

For ushering in Pride to Auckland

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While there was much behind the scenes work to get Auckland Pride up and running, GABA Charitable Trust Chair Gresham Bradley was the mainspring that kept all the cogs meshed and moving. While it is yet to be determined whether Auckland Pride will be as successful as it is hoped, we salute Gresham for giving us the chance to have Pride once more.


Jonathan Smith

For Queening the Whole Universe

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Queen of the Whole Universe has bowed out after more than a decade of camp comedy from a revolving cast of amateur but talented performers. We know the show has helped many people gain confidence and friends, and it’s also been a heck of a fun watch – as well as raising money for HIV causes which need it desperately.

QWU creator and powerhouse Jonathan Smith ushered in an era of fabulosity on a truly galactic scale - the likes of which we may never see again.


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Margaret Mayman, Glynn Cardy, Alan Davidson et al.

For proving that religious belief does not always equal bigotry

With all the religion-spouting hatred hurled our way, from churches of all sizes, denominations and cultures it’s refreshing to have church leaders who represent true Christ-like love. Margaret Mayman and Glynn Cardy are two leaders who have consistently stood up for GLBT people and their rights, putting forward concise and poignant arguments against the final bastions of bigotry and hatred.

In public, in open letters and statements, in sermons and in the media they have provided a Christian viewpoint that is embracing, humane and inspirational.


David Clark (posthumously)

For courage and conviction

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In darker times past when Rev. David Clark stood up before the Presbyterian General Assembly and told them that he was one of the homosexuals they were debating as if we were a diseased presence somehow totally separate from the church, he fired a shot which is still echoing today. He was followed by other ministers and religious leaders but when Clark stood up and demanded the reality of gays in his church be recognised he took a huge and incalculable risk.

He was punished for it with a stalled career but his congregation and right-thinking Presbyterians and the gay community stood by him. When he died in March we lost a man of warmth, intellect, earthy humour and rare courage.

But even in his death Clark provided a platform for others to continue to call for equality and humanity, and to prick the consciences of those who still fear the consequences of simple decency.



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- 1st January 2013