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Stories of the year: 20 to 11

Posted in: Features
By Jacqui Stanford - 28th December 2012

Which stories got your clicks in 2012? From a “homophobic homo”, to a “poor taste sausage ad” and a telling off for the Prime Minister, the top 20-11 stories have it all!


20. Rotorua lesbian slit lover's throat, cut off her ears

Michelle Hoffman-Tamm
The horrific details of a lesbian love affair gone wrong in Rotorua came out this month, when Gwenda Sloan pleaded guilty to the murder of her casual lover Michelle Hoffman-Tamm.

Hoffman-Tamm's body was found a fortnight after she went missing after leaving her home to visit a friend.

After being questioned about Hoffman-Tamm's disappearance Sloan led them to the well-hidden body on a forestry road near Murupara.

19. NZ group attacks Starbucks for "supporting sodomy"

In the random ranting story of the year, nasty “anti-abortion” group Right to Life launched a bizarrely backwards campaign against Starbucks because it's disappointed the coffee giant is "officially supporting sodomy and gay marriage".

In a blatantly homophobic statement, it said "the support of Starbucks for homosexual marriage is no surprise, as the company has been putting pro-homosexual messages on its take-away cups since 2006. Starbucks claims in its mission statement to embrace diversity. It promotes gay pride events but refuses to support events celebrating heterosexual marriage."

18. Etienne and Geoffrey's civil union


It was the most heart-breaking and beautiful story this year … a hospital bedside civil union between Etienne and Geoffrey/Nana in Wellington.

When the couple found out Geoffrey had little time left as his cancer had become too aggressive, Etienne said he and his “darling man” knew they wanted to get hitched.

They celebrated their bedside union with cello music, lashings of champagne, plus close friends and family who made the trip from across the country, and supportive staff – who even helped get a civil union licence much more quickly than the three days it usually takes.

The couple would have had a full-blown wedding had it been legal. “He wanted to get a big dress,” he laughs. “We watched sometimes the Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and he’d say ‘oh I love this dress I want this one my darling’.”

RIP Nana x

17. Justice Minister now pro gay equality, marriage

In August Justice Minister Judith Collins told us of her remarkable turnaround: she voiced her support for marriage equality, legal adoption by same sex couples and legal recognition of a person's gender identity which may have changed since their birth.

Collins had voted against the Civil Union legislation and the accompanying Relationships (Statutory References) Act, and questioned whether gay unions were a human rights issue at all.

But now, asked if she felt glbt people in New Zealand were generally getting "a fair go for all," Collins said: "There are some issues that need to be dealt with. Frankly it would be really nice if we could look at people as human beings rather than be always saying 'you can't do that because you're gay' or whatever."

16. Mike Puru may be a "homophobic homo"

In February radio host Mike Puru was interviewed by the Weekend Herald’s Michelle Hewitson, and said he may suffer from internalised homophobia, and explained why he invited Prime Minister John Key, who voted against civil unions, to his engagement party.

He explained he doesn't enjoy the camp stereotype and he doesn't want to be judged as gay. Hewitson explains.

“He also refuses to walk their two dogs around their Remuera neighbourhood because he doesn't want people to say: Look at those gay guys with those gay dogs. What sort of dogs are they? ‘One is a Sydney silky crossed with a Maltese terrier. You couldn't get a gayer dog!'” the article stated.

15. "Poor taste" sausage ad cleared by authority

Who says we have our minds in the gutter? Well one of the funniest stories we have come across this year was also the most popular:

“Want to see my sausage mate?” a man says in an ad for Franklin Country Meats, which played on Newstalk ZB. “I’ve been waiting for you to come over to impress you with it,” he continues. ““I’ve had it all wrapped up, ready and waiting.”

After a complaint, advertising authorities said while the advertisement “may be in poor taste, the innuendo did not reach the threshold to breach the Advertising Codes” and “it was unlikely to cause serious of widespread offence”.

14. Westpac wedding ad is "ground-breaking" - actor

In October, one of the actors in a Westpac ad which shows a gay couple getting married told us he thought it was a ground-breaking step for advertising in New Zealand.

Josh Preston and Kereti Kanawa are “TV husbands” in the bank’s commercial, showing them getting engaged and hitched alongside a range of situations from New Zealand life, from crucial rugby matches to Sir Edmund Hillary climbing.

“It's nice to be part of something that’s non-stereotypical and ground breaking. I think it sets a good example for other agencies looking to broaden their markets and do so authentically and engagingly,” Preston told us.

“We're ready for the sequel,” Preston he added. “The honeymoon will be in Paris.”

13. Mama Tere Strickland mourned by friends

In August, “Mama” Tere Strickland died in Auckland after a suspected heart attack.

We shared the news as it was beginning to filter through the Auckland glbt community, where Strickland was well known for her work with whakawahine and takataapui people and became a New Zealand AIDS Foundation Life Member in 2010.

While Strickland, a transgender woman, was often a controversial and divisive figure, friend Phylesha Brown-Acton told us she hoped she would be remembered for her heart and not "what was speculated."

"She was the best person I had ever met and I am so heart-broken she is no longer here, I am in OZ with work and all I want right now is to be by her side," she said.

12. Hunky Andreas Derleth wins Mr Gay NZ 2012

In February, you rushed for a look at the winner of Mr Gay NZ 2012, Andreas Derleth.

The 32-year-old who goes by ‘Andy’ narrowly beat suave Mr Gay Wellington Marcus Fenson to take out the competition, and won an all-expenses paid trip to represent New Zealand at Mr Gay World in South Africa in April (where he won!!!!!)

Derleth also won the public vote on Facebook, which made up 20 per cent of the score. The title was handed over by Mr Gay NZ 2011 Aaron Comis and special guest My Gay Canada Rob Goddard was on hand to award him the winner’s blue sash.

11. Editorial: An open letter to the Prime Minister

johnkeyredshirtPS_1.jpg’s Editor Jay Bennie wrote to John Key in November, asking what planet he was on in the wake of the ‘gay red top’ debacle.

“If you return to the Big Gay Out for another photo op in a few months' time you will be saluted and respected as Prime Minister by generally openly proud and confident gay people. As your predecessors have also been. That's a given. But as a man who has clearly (but hopefully unintentionally) so easily bought into the homophobia of the street and the schoolyard you might hear more than a few hisses from amongst the colourful photo op-perfect crowd,” Bennie wrote.

Check back tomorrow for the top ten!

Jacqui Stanford - 28th December 2012

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