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John Arthur Wardle
5 February 1950 - 08 September 1997
For more detail, a high-resolution version of this image (about 5 times wider than shown above) is available for download here. Broadband is recommended - file is big (9.3 Mb).
This panel is still to be joined to a block of the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt.
At the time of the creation of this web site, we have no information about the creation of this panel, however we have been given the following extract as presented at his funeral.
John was born on February 5th 1950, with the genetic condition of severe haemophilia. he was not expected to survive childhood. He has one older sister, Pam, who lives in Australia.
His severe bleeding disorder caused joint damage which confined him to a wheelchair during childhood and allowed for only an intermittent primary education.
Despite the predictions, John survived till late adolescence when freeze dried factor 8 product was first produced. By limiting the damage done to joints, this allowed John to live a reasonably normal life for the first time. He could walk (sometimes with sticks), get a job, go flatting, and generally enjoy life.
Because of his lack of normal qualifications, John often started jobs as general dogs body, but soon his intelligence and abilities would see him rise to positions of responsibility. These jobs were as diverse as his interests, ranging from photography to office administration.
John and I met in Auckland in 1981 when he responded to my advertisement in the paper for a flatmate. My other flatmate joked that whoever brought the milk in from the letter box would be our choice as it would be an indicator of personality. John brought in the milk! We grew to like and respect each other and from there it was but a short step to love.
John was still working at this time, but his job caused him many hemorrhages and consequently the need for factor 8. Joint damage caused chronic arthritis resulting in long term chronic pain. Unbeknownst to us it was that year that John was first infected with HIV.
Due to his health John gave up his job but he soon though of other challenges. The next one was Auckland University. Although John enjoyed the stimulation and challenge tremendously, again the long distances between lecture halls caused too many hemorrhages and John had to give it up.
At no time did John stop work to give in to his disability. It was always a regrouping of his energies and abilities to think about what he would do next. His interest in computing was at first a logical direction for him to take and then became an intense challenge.
We married in August 1983 and Emma was born in September 1984. despite the circumstances, her birth was the best thing that happened to us, giving focus and joy to our lives.
Just before Christmas, it was confirmed after many months of anxiety and bad health, that John was HIV positive. He was told he only had six months to live. We just lived in hope from day to day.
In 1986 Johnís mother was diagnosed with cancer. We moved to Christchurch to be with her and after her death decided to make the move permanent. We sold our house in Auckland and, as it were made a fresh start in Christchurch.
Although the threat of AIDS was with us continually, we contrived to rebuild our lives. New Friendships were formed, community contacts made. Johnís interest in community and communication were the building blocks for a new framework. His computer became his tool.
His involvement in the redevelopment of the Canterbury Arthritis Society, and subsequent Presidency, in a sense, gave him the confidence to use it as a springboard for his future achievements.
From there he was the catalyst and initiator of the Plains Exchange and Barter System, the driving force behind the Community Services Trust and likewise his latest but not least achievement was the development and continuation of the St. Albans Neighbourhood News.
Once his illness became more intrusive, his lateral thinking and leadership qualities continued to provide the guidance and comfort to many people and organisations over the phone.
His philosophy was that changes for the better, started from the home, and in the suburb. We all have the power to improve our situation and the world. Johnís means was through the strengthening of community by maintaining open lines of communication.
Your wisdom, philosophy, wit and gentleness will be a guiding light for our future. We are glad that your inquisitive mind is now free from your troubled body and that you can finally rest in peace, free from the pain.
If you are one of the people involved with the making of this panel for Alexis, please get in touch with us.
If you knew John and wish to add your memories to this page, or wish to remember a loved one with a strong connection to New Zealand who has been lost to AIDS, you may do so on this page.
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