Sadly, at the time of setting up this website, we have no information about this panel, made by his friends.
If you are one of the people involved with the making of this panel for Michael, please get in touch with us.
There is another panel for Michael, made by his mother, on the other side of the block from this one.
Brendan Patrick Pole
Watching Brendan take his last breath and taking my time to say goodbye to him was an experience of immense power – so beginning the quilt became an extension of a beautiful and intimate goodbye.
I never expected to be moved in such a way, let alone stand in pride and loving adoration of the symbol of my love for my brother.
It was like every feeling oozed from me onto the quilt. I felt like I had connected to a spiritual level that words cannot express. I was able to begin to acknowledge my pain and emotions as well as his.
As the quilt developed so too had my healing begun.
I am grateful and very humbled at being able to express my love and loss in this way. It was probably one of the most beautiful expressions of grief I have ever and will ever experience.
The beauty of the quilt reflects the beauty of a man I will never forget and always love.
Cathy Pole (Brendan’s sister) 7 December 1991
Elsie added this memory of Brendan in December 2014
Brendan and I went to Mahurangi College. We lived together as Boyfriend and Girlfriend for a while. I had a schoolgirl crush on him. I was sent to Boarding School and when I finished Brendan attempted to ask me out, actually was very insistent. Eventually, I relented and my mum/foster and his friends made a special weekend for us to be a couple.
I should have known then that this should not have been his preference. I have a laugh thinking of it now. He placed a hickey on my neck to consummate our intimate evening and I did not understand any different.
I lived with my family in Remuera, he courted me when he started out as an Apprentice Hairdresser at the Rogers Unisex Salon in Parnell. We celebrated my 18th Birthday and I still remember when he used to come and see me there was always a surprise. One day he would have long hair, the next it would be blond, then the next he would have a long plait with beads hanging from the front of his forehead then one time he was wearing a hat. I asked him to take it off, he was completely bald. That was Brendon, we lived together in Parnell.
After eight months I was so in love with him, he eventually told me we were not meant to be. I told him then he should try and go out with the same sex as I realised we were not compatible, I believe that we were not having an intimate relationship but the best brother I could ever have.
We had a boarder called Kimi. I moved out and I use to come over all the time to see Brendan but he would push Kimi towards me and tell us to go out. After six weeks of constantly going over, Kimi and I became a couple, our first son was conceived at this moment and so we named Brendan as our son’s Godfather. Brendan was present at our son’s Christening as a Ratana at Greenlane where Brendan lived with us for a short time.
I have a photo somewhere of him with a girl he was seeing called Bubba. He did have a photo of our son but I have never found out if he still had that photo. I know that he married another Maori Girl whom I knew as Sharee but am not sure what became of that marriage. I know he had a son called Thomas which I was so proud of hearing.
I use to call Brendan at his Salon in Panmure to have a chat. Once a year but I didn’t call for two years and when I did I was told that he died from Prostate Cancer. They were very abrupt on the phone and not very helpful. He was my best friend, my first love, my brother whom I didn’t get to say Goodbye to and I mourn his departure for so many years. Both Kimi and I were his close friends till he married and made another life away from us.
I flew to New Zealand from Australia and visited Puhoi, I visited the family home but no-one was there. I went to the Puhoi Pub asking people if they knew of him, I copped a mouthful of vile and insults from an elderly patron. I went to the cemetery with flowers to place on his grave. Not knowing which one was his, tears streaming down my face I called out to my dear friend throwing flowers in all directions saying “Brendan, I am sorry I wasn’t there to say goodbye, I love you and will always miss you”. A Sun Shower Rained Upon My Head and to me, that was my dear friend acknowledging that he knew I was there.
If I could say this, He was and still is my dearest and most loving friend. I would love to catch up with anyone who knows and loved him like both Kimi and I do. I am still with Kimi and we are Married with Four Children and Three Grand Children, one on the way. We have lived in Australia for nearly 30 years but our friend was and always will be part of our young adult life.
RIP Brendan, I pray to you always,
Gary Francis Armiger and Alan Gunderson
Gary Francis Armiger and Alan Gunderson
This panel was created for Gary and Alan who were such good friends they had purchased a home together even though not partners and died within months of each other.
Although not directly worked on by Gary’s family much of the panel reflects their input – his love of lilies, the clouds with rays of rainbow colour, the tears – their tears, the suggestion to include Alan on the panel, the cross of Gary’s. The aeroplane and “NZ” were added to indicate how much they travelled – particularly to South Africa where they both lived for many years.
Alan loved concerts and went often with friends. His passion was the theatre and music, of all kinds – from modern rock operas to jazz to classical. He was a designer of women’s knitwear for Glengyle for many years. He was a reserved, caring and gentle man who was welcomed into and very much became a part of the Armiger family.
Gary was a hairdresser who trained under Monty Winter, enjoying his hairdressing for many years. However, he was a traveller for Bendon when he died. He had a quick sense of humour which forever had his friends laughing. As “the life and soul of the party”, he was often outrageous and, certainly, poured the best martinis in New Zealand! He also had a quieter side which made him a good listener who offered reasoned and supportive encouragement to his friends.
Both Gary and Alan enjoyed the finer things in life. Included among their most treasured possessions were dedicated, loving relationships with special friends and Gary’s family.
They are still missed every day.
Mike, the middle of my three sons, died on May 4 1989, aged 26 years. I completed the Quilt last year. (1991)
The rainbow across the top of Mike’s Quilt had deep significance for me. Mike had a favourite rainbow sweatshirt which he lost on his way home to New Zealand. The day of his funeral there was a beautiful rainbow. On his birthdays and anniversaries and significant days, I would see a rainbow. These gave me comfort in my deepest grieving period, as if he was watching over me. As a Navajo song says “There is a way out of every dark mist over a rainbow trail”.
Mike’s Quilt just had to mention Elton John. What better than a picture of “Yellow Brick Road” album cover! The songs on that album echoed throughout our house during Mike’s adolescent years (luckily, I liked it too). Little did I know then that I would play some of that music at Mike’s funeral. Or that, when I began to sort through some of Mike’s possessions, an Elton John song would play on the radio. This happened on several occasions.
The two white doves represent the prints I bought at a time when Mike had progressed to AIDS and was living overseas. One print was a dove leaving the shelter of the tree at sunrise and the other print was a dove returning at sunset. I clearly remember the tears and feelings these paintings evoked, as I knew the Mike’s sunset would inevitably come and that was so painful to contemplate.
The candle and the flame represented Mike’s willingness to shed light on living with AIDS. He was willing to speak out and agreed to be interviewed for a documentary on AIDS, but sadly died before he could be interviewed. Nevertheless, his story was told on television in June 1989. The candle also reminded me of Elton John’s classic song “Candle in the Wind”.
The two Mickey Mouses on the Quilt reflected Mike’s sense of fun and the joy he gave others. One Mickey Mouse has a pen in his hand, the other stands by a sports car. When young, Michael loved cartooning and drawing Mickey Mouse characters. He bought Mickey Mouse notebooks in which he wrote stories which were influenced by his love of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis stories. The Mickey Mouse and his car took me back to how proud Mike was of his first and only car – a Hillman Imp Fastback, which he called “The Dawn Treader”. The day after he sold it, it blew up.
I embroidered “LOVED ALWAYS” in English, Croatian, and German. The Croatian was in reference to Mike’s Dalmatian heritage on his Dad’s side, from which he inherited his brown eyes, olive skin and dark hair. The German phrase acknowledged his love of languages and many prizes he won in German at secondary school.
The names of his brothers, Neil and David, and his beloved sister, Robyn, are embroidered within the hearts, as is my name.
And finally, a butterfly nestles underneath the rainbow as a symbol of hope, beauty and colour in Mike’s new life.
Making this visual remembrance of Mike’s life was the least tribute to pay a wonderful person.
Bev Jelicich (Michael’s Mum)
Andrew Doig wrote this about Michael:
The first thing I saw was a pair of woolly socks poking out of the end of a hospital bed way too short for this lanky man. The next thing was Michael, reaching from the bed for a cardboard bowl to throw up into. I felt awkward witnessing this without even having been introduced. At that point, Adam, his partner, came back into the room and we introduced ourselves. It was March 1989 and the place, the HIV ward at the Chelsea and Westminster hospital. I had come to meet my new buddying assignment, just a week after my last had ended, here in this hospital. Little time to grieve in those days: just on with the next. Despite his sickness, Michael gave me a welcoming smile and soon put me at ease.
The Kiwi accent, the woolly socks and the introduction to Adam, whose books I had read, made me realise I was in the presence of ‘Neil’, until then, a fictional character in a short story by Adam. ‘Neil’ was now Michael and Michael were sick but so upbeat and reassuring that I was sure he would be out of there in no time and back on his very large feet.
The next time we met, Michael was back at Adam’s flat in Islington. He told me about himself, about his time in London and about growing up in New Zealand. It was all so like ‘Neil’s story that I couldn’t distinguish what Michael had told me from what I had read in Adam’s short story. Anyway, there was no point to our chat, there never was a point, except to connect somehow so that, if need be, there was someone to talk to who wasn’t your partner or your parents, someone you could ask for company or help without embarrassment, because that was exactly what they were there for.
I saw Michael only a few times more, once on Highbury Fields with Adam. Then he sent a card from a trip away to Venice. Then there was his farewell party before he made a trip back home to Auckland. He made a video of the people there so that he could describe the people in his life here to his Mum at home in New Zealand. He stayed a weekend at my holiday flat in Brighton with a friend before he went. We spoke on the phone but I didn’t see him again.
He sent a card from San Francisco, regretting he hadn’t been able to exploit the fleshpots of New York because the KS in his mouth was so sore. He wrote from Auckland, quite upbeat, but saying he was on chemo and couldn’t enjoy what Auckland had to offer either. He hoped to get back to London soon. I wrote back directly.
I was in a homewares store in Tottenham Court Road and there were two of his friends I knew. I told them brightly about the letter I’d had from Michael. They looked at one another and then told me he was dead. I covered my shock and got out of the store as fast as I could and ran all the way home to Marble Arch to be alone. I hadn’t been expecting this.
Sometime later his mother wrote and told me the story of his fight and his decline. It was a generous letter. Michael had told me how proud he was of his Mum and the way she had involved herself in caring for people with AIDS. I wrote back and told her so. And that was the end of that. Except that I have never forgotten this tall, gentle, smiling kiwi who should still be with us today.
By chance I read an obituary for Bev, his Mum recently. She died in April 2012. It told of her continued contribution to the fight against AIDS long after Michael was gone. Now I remember them both.”
Added December 2013
Michael’s brother, Neil, wrote:
It’s been just over 25 years since my brother Michael passed away. It was so nice, that at this time I should come across Andrew’s lovely memories above. Thank you so much, Andrew, for taking the time to share your memories of Michael – it is much appreciated by myself, my brother David and my sister Robyn who shared a special bond with Michael. I know also that our late mum Bev would have been especially pleased that you still remembered Michael after all these years.
Added May 2014
Richard L. Christie
Sadly, the only information we have about this panel, made by his lover, is that Richard (from Greymouth) was also known as “Scarlet” and was an Air New Zealand steward.
If you made this panel for Richard, please get in touch with us.
This panel was created by a friend who knew John only in his last days of life.
The shamrocks are to indicate John’s Irish background and are put on red to signify his anger.
Paul David Kettle
As a child, Paul won lots of singing contests at Annual Music Festivals, and progressed to musicals and acting as he matured. He loved to be outdoors, gardening, landscaping and so on. He was passionately fond of opera and movies. He also competed successfully at horse events from a young age and was very capable of coping with anything artistic.
The Quilt represents some of the things we shared together in the short time I knew him or found him again.
The centre fish pond represents a memory of the one he built for me one Christmas. The elephant represents a china one he gave me, the palm trees at a garden in Sydney for his oldest friend, and planted one a year. Daisies he would never mow over when they were in flower. He always tied balloons to the trees for a Mardi Gras effect, for barbecues he used to have.
I have really enjoyed making the Quilt.
With love from Jose (Paul’s birth mother)
Waikato Volunteers panel
Waikato Volunteers panel
This panel was created in 1991 for nine young men from the Waikato region by those who knew and loved them; family, friends, and other volunteers.
Confidentiality remains about other details of these men’s lives.
This epidemic has torn from our lives so many of the very best. Oh, for the day when the fullness of their lives and accomplishments can be proudly proclaimed.
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
|Brendan Patrick Pole
|23 September 1962 - 8 August 1991
|View Panel ›
|Gary Francis Armiger and Alan Gunderson
|20 January 1942 - 8 January 1990 and 11 October 1933 - 30 August 1990
|View Panel ›
|View Panel ›
|died 4 May 1989, aged 26
|View Panel ›
|Died 4 May 1989, aged 26
|View Panel ›
|Paul David Kettle
|21 March 1944 - 24 June 1989
|View Panel ›
|Richard L. Christie
|19 October 1945 - 1 August 1987
|View Panel ›
|Waikato Volunteers panel
|View Panel ›