ILGA World Conference, 18-22 March 2019, Wellington


The country of open hearts, open minds and open spaces.

Aotearoa New Zealand Historical Timeline

In Aotearoa New Zealand, our vibrant communities of people with diverse sexes, genders and sexualities follow on from Māori traditions dating back centuries. We have a proud history of supporting and organising at local, regional, national and legislative levels. As the Host Rōpū reflects, we have particular strengths in representation of takatāpui, trans and intersex peoples and young people.

  • Pre-colonisation Acceptance of sexual and gender fluidity in Māori narratives and carving.
  • 1642: Aotearoa ‘discovered’ and named New Zealand by the Dutch.
  • 1769: Aotearoa ‘claimed’ by the British.
  • 1840: Treaty of Waitangi signed between the British Crown and Māori leaders.
  • 1867: Offences Against the Person Act incorporates UK reform of Buggery law (removing death penalty.)
  • Mid-Late 1800s Increasing loss of land, language, culture and suppression of women, sexuality and fluidity.
  • 1893: First country in the world for women to vote.
  • 1893: NZ Criminal Code adds crime of "indecent assault on male" and adds flogging/whipping to hard labour as penalties.
  • 1961: Crimes Act removes flogging and whipping as penalties.
  • 1961: First gay men’s group, Dorian Society, formed in Wellington.
  • 1967: Wolfendon Association (later Homosexual Law Reform Society) formed from Dorian Society legal sub-committee.
  • 1971: First lesbian group, The KG Club [Kamp Girls], formed in Auckland.
  • 1972: Gay Liberation sparked by the USA refusing a visa to Māori lesbian activist Ngahuia Te Awekotuku. Gay Liberation Fronts formed in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Hamilton.
  • 1972: First national Gay & Lesbian Conference held in Wellington.
  • 1973: S.H.E (Sisters for Homophile Equality) formed in Canterbury and Wellington (by Alison Laurie.)
  • 1974: First National Lesbian Conference held in Wellington.
  • 1974: Crimes Amendment Bill introduced by Venn Young. It is defeated.
  • 1975: First openly gay man stands for Parliament, Robyn Duff, in Wellington.
  • 1977: National Gay Rights Coalition (NGRC) formed.
  • 1977: Lesbian and Gay Rights Resource Centre (later LAGANZ - the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand) established by NGRC in Wellington.
  • 1979: Crimes Amendment Bill introduced by Warren Freer. It is eventually abandoned.
  • 1979: First out Lesbian Centre in the world opens in Wellington.
  • 1981: First takatāpui hui (gathering) for Māori lesbians, Black Dykes Hui (which included Pacific Island lesbians), held in Auckland.
  • 1983: Bruce Burnett returns from USA and starts AIDS prevention in Auckland.
  • 1984: AIDS Support Network formed in Auckland (later NZ AIDS Foundation.)
  • 1984: MP Fran Wilde meets with Wellington community which leads to Gay Task Forces forming in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin.
  • 1985: Homosexual Law Reform introduced by Fran Wilde.
  • 1986: Homosexual Law Reform Act (Part 1) passed into law by 49 votes to 44.
  • 1986: First takatāpui hui (gathering) for Māori gay men and whakawāhine (trans women) held in Auckland.
  • 1988: First takatāpui organisation, Te Roopu Tautoko, formed in Wellington to fight AIDS amongst Māori.
  • 1989: Crimes Act incorporates Homosexual Law Reform Act amendments.
  • 1989: RainbowYOUTH formed in Auckland.
  • 1993: The Human Rights Commission Amendment Act removes discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation ("heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or lesbian") or HIV status.
  • 1993: First MP to come out as gay, Chris Carter, soon after his election in Auckland.
  • 1994: High Court rules that post-operative transsexuals can marry in their adopted sex.
  • 1994: First National Lesbian Studies conference in Wellington.
  • 1995: First transsexual Mayor in the world, Georgina Beyer, is elected Mayor of Carterton.
  • 1996: First lesbian television programme – the Topp Twins.
  • 1996: First openly gay MP elected, Tim Barnett, in Christchurch.
  • 1996: First intersex organisation, Intersex Society of NZ (Aotearoa), founded by Mani Bruce Mitchell in Wellington.
  • 1997: First Intersex Centre in the world opened in Wellington by the Intersex Society (later Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand.)
  • 2001: First takatāpui organisation for all genders and sexualities, Tīwhanawhana Trust, founded by Elizabeth Kerekere.
  • 2003: First national Queer and Trans Youth conference organised by Sarah Helm.
  • 2004: Civil Union Bill introduced by Tim Barnett. Passed into law 2004 by 65 votes to 55.
  • 2004: First indigenous LGBTIQ television series in the world, Takatāpui, on the first free-to-air television channel (Māori Television Service) in the world.
  • 2005: Relationships (Statutory References) Act passed into law by 76 votes to 44 to remove discriminatory provisions on the basis of relationship status from a range of statutes and regulations.
  • 2008: NZ Human Rights Commission releases “To Be Who I Am: Report of the Enquiry into Discrimination faced by Transgender People.”
  • 2012: Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill introduced by Louisa Wall. Passed into law in 2013 by 77 votes to 44. First country in Oceania, 4th in the Southern Hemisphere, and 15th in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry.
  • 2012: One of the first in the world to allow trans people to state their gender on their passport as male, female or "X" (indeterminate/unspecified), without the need to change their birth certificates or citizenship records.
  • 2013: First same sex wedding at 30,000 ft in the world, by Air New Zealand.
  • 2016: 30th Anniversary of Homosexual Law Reform.
  • 2016: First ILGA Oceania conference held in Wellington.
  • 2016: Intersex Roundtable hosted by NZ Human Rights Commission, ITANZ and Tīwhanawhana Trust.
  • 2016: NZ Government directed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to: 
Strengthen measures to combat discrimination against lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and intersex children; Develop and implement a child rights‑based health care protocol for intersex children, ensuring that no one is subjected to unnecessary medical or surgical treatment during infancy or childhood, guaranteeing the rights of children to bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination, and provide families with intersex children with adequate counselling and support;

Promptly investigate incidents of surgical and other medical treatment of intersex children without informed consent and adopt legal provisions to provide redress to victims of such treatment, including adequate compensation;

Educate and train medical and psychological professionals on the range of biological and physical sexual diversity and on the consequences of unnecessary surgical and other medical interventions on intersex children;

Extend free access to surgical interventions and medical treatment related to their intersex condition to intersex children between the age of 16 and 18.