FAMILY LIFE IN UPPER HUTT, WELLINGTON
Sam was the second eldest in our family of six children. He was always creative and artistic, often making costumes for us and writing characters for us girls to play. (We were 3 girls and 3 boys). He played the guitar and sang in a band at school and all the girls thought he was gorgeous. He used to talk of how one day he’d get married and have a big bunch of kids.
He was very interested in our Māori heritage and took a trip up to Northland one time. I still remember his enthusiasm as he told of what he had learned of Māoritanga.
Sam was a keen gymnast and played tennis as a youth but perhaps his greatest love was for dogs. He owned a series of different dogs up until within a few years of his passing.
His enthusiasm for life spilt over into all the activities he embraced, and when he set off to live in Sydney he kept his family up to date with his adventures with regular letters and visited home whenever he could. (Sam was widely travelled, having toured a lot of Europe, England and the United States.
MOVE TO SYDNEY
However, he made Sydney his home, becoming nationalised and making firm friends there, where he could live openly as a gay man without the fear of repercussions in his home country, as was understandable in those days before the hard-won level of acceptance enjoyed by today’s gay community in NZ had even begun.
It was some years before anyone in the family found out that Sam was Gay. It explained a lot of vague mysteries. My sisters and brother each visited with him in Sydney, and I looked forward to the day that I could visit on a more regular basis, however it wasn’t to be. We received the news by phone one day that our brother had an incurable disease of the immune system.
Sam was one of the first diagnosed with AIDS in Australia. On visiting him in the hospital in Sydney, (as did our father sisters and brother) he was being experimented on with the early drugs, and we were given a set of rules in the hospital. (For example, we were given masks and gowns to put on and advised not to touch him. His food was left outside the door by the hospital kitchen staff.) I for one ignored this and delighted in giving him a back massage, after which he enjoyed the first restful sleep in some time. Sam finally declined any further treatment and went home, to ‘buy a new wardrobe’ and try to live as normally as he could. ‘Home’ by then was with his good friends who stood by him and cared for him until he died.
Our mother, Joan, terrified of aeroplanes and never having flown before his illness, braved the trip to Sydney a second time, accompanied by our brother, Darryl, to be with Sam as he was dying. Mum later appeared in a program about AIDS on T.V., which first introduced the famous Eve to NZ, again bravely as the producers could find no other mother of an AIDS patient to appear until they contacted her.
Mum will always be grateful for the fantastic support she received from the gay community in Wellington, and still rings some friends, and receives invitations to special events.
People who’d known Sam, and old friends from school days also contacted her when they heard of his death. Thanks, everyone.
Following Sam’s death and a memorial service held in Auckland, we heard about the Quilt project and as we three sisters all live in Auckland we got together to think of the idea for a quilt to commemorate Sam. He was an artist selling many of his paintings and screenprints in Sydney, and one of these had been a print of the Sydney Harbour Bridge with the full moon rising behind it. We felt it appropriate to honour him in the place he had chosen to live.
Linda’s son Brendan, an artist also, drew the picture, copying from Sam’s print, and Linda, Paula and I cut and appliqued the quilt. It was still unfinished when we submitted it to be included with the first exhibition of the Quilt project, and remains unfinished today. Our mother (an expert sewer herself) wants to add her touches at some stage.
The wording on the quilt is taken from a song by Bette Midler, a favourite of Sam’s, and are words he chose as his goodbye message to his family and friends.
“My goodbye is written by the moon in the Sky”
We dedicate our quilt in the memory of Sam and all those taken by AIDS and their families.
Kenneth Wilmot Beale
Sadly, at the time of setting up this website, we have no information about this panel made by his partner and friends.
If you are one of the people involved with the making of this panel for Ken, please get in touch with us.
‘The Seasons of Life’ panel
Wayne Berryman and Colin Aitken designed this Quilt in honour of every person affected by the destruction of AIDS. The Quilt was made to symbolise the Seasons of Life, as in Rune symbols. With each symbol, Wayne offers his own personal meaning.
|“To me this symbolises all men and women, the human race, Life.”|
|“This to me is nature, forces which do damage – damage to all things and people around us.”|
|“This is the Rebirth, the change, the ability to start again after Life & Death have gone their way.”|
|“This is the Sun, the light of Life, but the Sun can also bring life to an end.”|
“I have not as yet lost a loved one to AIDS. I made this Quilt for all those who have lost loved ones to AIDS. Also to all those men, women and children whose life is with a man and whose spirit is with God.”
Harry’s panel, made by his lover Alex Nicholls, pays tribute to Harry’s Scottish heritage – and his big heart. Alex says Harry did not fit the traditional, frugal Scots stereotype at all. He was a generous, warm-hearted man who would give the shirt off his back to anybody in need. No frills or glitter for Harry – just a big heart.
So it seems appropriate that the dominant image in the middle of this panel should be an enormous padded heart. It is set on a background of yellow cotton – yellow is a favourite colour of Harry’s. One half of the heart is made from Alex’s family tartan which has a dark green background. A white rose and scotch-thistle brooch which belonged to Alex’s great-grandmother clasps the two tartans together. Deep within the dacron padding lies a special letter to Harry from Alex.
Quilting has traditionally involved groups of people and Alex says that every member of his family has added a stitch or two to the heart. In the top right-hand corner of the panel, there is a calico tribute booklet where family and friends have signed their names.
Harry’s own name stands out in bold tartan lettering beneath the heart, with two white doves – symbols of peace – holding the corners of the fabric ‘plaque’. A similar tartan framed plaque above the heart bears Harry’s nickname ‘Haggis’. The dates of his birth and death are placed on either side of the lower portion of the heart.
On the left-hand side of the panel is a friendship poem treasured by Alex and on the right side a favourite verse of Harry’s which speaks of Love. These have been handwritten by Alex and trimmed with the appropriate tartans.
Alex says that making this quilt panel for Harry helped him to pull his shattered life together and to get on with living after the shock of Harry’s sudden death.
Robin was born the youngest of four children and was special to each member of his family in his own way. Even if it was just the fact that he was the “baby”.
Robin’s Quilt has been designed to represent the many areas of his life.
Firstly, Waiheke Island, where he was born and lived until he was 10 years of age. It was here that he developed his love of the sea and the sun.
The sun, another area shown on his Quilt. He lived for the summer, the beach and water.
A rainbow is shown also, this represents his travel to Australia, where he lived for 12 and a half years. He spent time in America as well.
Robin loved wildlife, in particular, endangered species. He had a real affinity for dolphins and we believe, as his family, if there is such a thing as reincarnation, then a dolphin is what he would choose to be because he would be free and always in the sea he loved so much.
The panel on which these five areas are shown is bordered in the tartan ribbon. This represents his Scot ancestry.
Robin’s name has been created in red and black, these colours for his North Sydney Football League team. A supporter of the “Bears” in a big way. The lettering for his name edged in silver ribbon, both for his favourite jewellery and colour.
Robin was a badge collector, and from his collection, we chose four to display on his Quilt, both for their significance and because he was not ashamed to say he was gay. Nor are we, his family. These badges we fashioned into buttons with tulle because he loved “those tulle numbers”.
The handprints from his nieces and nephews are from “his children”. These children represent a generation who we hope will be more tolerant of people, no matter who they are or what they are.
They also represent nine children who will be well-informed and educated on HIV and AIDS awareness.
Megan’s and Bryce’s handprints are under his birth and death dates because this too is of significance. Megan was born on Robin’s 18th birthday and Bryce had to be told his beloved uncle passed away on his 17th birthday.
The verse represents how much he was loved and is missed and how now as we are not able to care for him, God will.
We as a family wish for Robin to be remembered for his love of life, all life. His caring for those less fortunate than himself, when he was able.
Also the fact that he volunteered for two “guinea pig” programmes at Saint Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney in the hopes that others would benefit from this, in the worldwide search for a cure for his disease.
With our love.
My name is Sue Morgan, I am 43 years old. I have two grandchildren and a granddaughter.
When I first started this Quilt I was doing it for all my brothers and sisters who lived in anonymity with the virus for whatever reason.
As I continued sewing, different reasons evolved – memories of this and that. I told a friend that I was appliqueing AROHA on the Quilt, and he said that Aroha is the very best word in the world because it means ‘LOVE’. That then became my final reason.
So for my brothers and sisters living with, and dying of AIDS, arohanui.
We have limited information about this panel as it was one of the very early ones and had no recorded details.
This Quilt was worked on by Rod Hutchinson (Ray’s support person), Debs, Noeline Creighton, Alistair Hall and Glen Morris, who visited Ray in hospital.
The ideas were co-ordinated by Noeline to include rainbow colours and the fact that Ray had been a registered nurse. The panel was to incorporate the words ‘thump-bang-crash’. Lying in his bed Ray was constantly disturbed by people up and down stairs, in and out of doors. These were his favourite words to his visitors, however, they never were added to the panel.
Adrian James Morris
Adrian James Morris
Adrian always seemed a very special person, even when he was very young. He could talk and charm people of all ages and was really quite irrepressible and mischievous. Like the time he tried to give his father a haircut with a wind-up car, which tangled and nearly scalped him instead!!
He could make people laugh so easily and often. I know he did me many, many times and I do miss that so much.
His talents were many, from dancing to creating lovely clothes – which became his career.
He loved people and travelling, which he did quite a lot of. He was very sensitive and caring about people and their feelings, and could be very wise and serious as well as humorous.
He certainly enriched our lives and still does by the many happy memories and lovely friends we know because of Adrian.
He was very brave and independent during his illness and was still driving his own car just two days before he died. Yes, he was very determined and in control of his life until the end.
We love and admire you, Adrian, and you will always make us smile. Yes, you were very special!
Mum and Dad and all the family.
Other photos of this block
At the first Unfolding Ceremony of the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt, 5th October 1991. Note that the Block is in its original configuration, different to its present one.
Panels in this Block
|Panel Name||Life Years||Panel Link|
|‘Aroha’ panel||View Panel ›|
|‘The Seasons of Life’ panel||View Panel ›|
|Adrian James Morris||View Panel ›|
|Harry (Haggis)||1964 - 1987||View Panel ›|
|Kenneth Wilmot Beale||9 November 1943 - 1990||View Panel ›|
|Ray||1942 - 17 July 1988||View Panel ›|
|Robin Murie||2 May 1958 - 20 May 1991||View Panel ›|
|Sam Crowe||14 March 1947 - 13 April 1985||View Panel ›|