Thomas (Tom) Blair McLean
Thomas (Tom) Blair McLean
Tom was a Scottish journalist who lived in New Zealand from 1973 until his death. Living in Wellington he was best known as the tarot card reader at Wakefield market.
Told that he might have only nine months to live, Tom decided to make the most of whatever was left to him – and he took up flying.
Tom is the author of the book If I Should Die, the story of his journey with HIV and AIDS; not only of his fight against HIV but also of his battle against the bigotry and prejudice that stopped him flying and almost drove him out of business. It is not a story about dying. It is a story about living.
“Remember my story about the garden. It’s spring. You hold a tiny kitten in your hand and tell me how each form of life, no matter how small, is part of life itself, struggling to see its part in the plan, and is to be loved and respected.
We talked about death and I said, ‘What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the butterfly calls the miracle of birth.’
…When we understand space and time, we’ll know that in infinity all we have is here and now. And sometimes in the here and now, you’ll turn a corner to find a little garden. We’ll sit down together under a spring sun, and watch the kitten and the caterpillar. And I’ll tell you again about the butterflies.
See you later.”
Excerpt from If I Should Die
This panel was presented to the New Zealand Quilt Project by Libby Woodham, Convenor of the Australian Quilt Project on October 5, 1991. An identical one is part of the Australian Quilt Project.
Andrew was born in Perth, Western Australia. He trained as a school teacher and taught in Western Australia in the 70’s.
After a stint living in the USA and Canada, he arrived in Sydney in the early 80’s.
Andrew worked for Qantas for many years but was forced to retire due to ill health in 1989.
In 1984 he was diagnosed HIV positive. He became involved in many support organisations for people living with AIDS and was one of the co-founders of the Community Support Network and People Living with AIDS.
His most prominent role has been as the co-founder of the Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt Project which he founded with Richard Johnson in September 1988. The Quilt was launched on World AIDS Day 1988 by Ita Buttrose.
Andrew worked tirelessly to promote the Quilt Project. He took part of the Quilt to the 5th International Congress on AIDS in Montreal, in June 1989. There he made a speech where he was able to read out a letter of support for the Quilt written by our Prime Minister, Bob Hawke.
In October 1989, Andrew and the Quilt received the AIDS Trust Award for outstanding service to community awareness of the AIDS epidemic.
Throughout 1990, Andrew succumbed more and more to the devastating effects of AIDS. In March 1990, he had to resign from the Quilt to concentrate his energies on his own failing health. He still kept in close contact with the ever-expanding Quilt activities. He was able to participate in the Unfolding of the Quilt at Parliament House in Canberra in August 1990, in the presence of the Governor General, Bill Hayden. Andrew regarded this event as the high point of his life.
In April 1991, Andrew left Sydney to go back to his birthplace in Perth where he was cared for by his family.
On June 10, 1991, this inspirational and truly remarkable man received another well-deserved honour. He was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List and received the Medal of the Order of Australia, for promoting community awareness of HIV and AIDS.
Ten days later, on the twentieth of June 1991, Andrew died at home in Perth.
In the May/June 1991 issue of the Australian magazine Talkabout, Andrew’s brother Don wrote this:
Andrew Carter goes to Perth
Last issue I wrote a piece on the departure from the AIDS Council of one of the co-founding parents of PLWA Inc (NSW) and the PLWA [People Living With AIDS] movement in Australia, Terry Gilbert. This time fate has it that I write on the person I have known longer than any other. A person I have known longer than even his own mother – of course, he is my twin brother, my womb-mate, Andrew.
Drew has moved back to Perth, where we were born in July 1954. His HIV illness has been complicated by mobility problems and he is moving in with our sister Anne and her family.
Drew has been one of that special breed of person who has tirelessly worked in and for the HIV community since long before the bloody bug had a name. With close ties to San Francisco and New York, Drew and his friends experienced similar circumstances to the characters portrayed in the movie Longtime Companion. Friends were getting sick and dying and no-one knew what it was – let alone that the agent was a communicable disease.
Drew was among the co-founders of the Community Support Network, the AIDS Council of NSW, People Living With AIDS (NSW), and was actively involved in other AIDS-specific groups. His most prominent achievement was to establish The Quilt Project, the Australian AIDS Memorial.
On behalf of the many people living with HIV and AIDS in Australia who have had the privilege to meet or work with Drew, I’d like to thank him for his hard work and great determination in realising his beliefs. Likewise, on behalf of Drew and our family, I want to thank all involved in his care, his friends and his co-workers for their assistance, love and friendship.
In a dramatic change from years in Sydney, San Francisco and New York’s high rises and horrid air, Drew will be living in a one level house in suburban Perth, close to the beach and fresh ocean breezes.
This panel was created for Peter by his partner, Daniel Fielding, and was the first panel presented to The Project on World AIDS Day (1 December) 1988.
For Those Loved and Known
What a special time we have had creating this panel for all those people we have worked with over the years. All very special, all unique, all loved and remembered.
Their names are recorded on a piece of paper which sits inside the koru.
Many of them were gay so we incorporated the pink triangle into the screen printed border.
The background represents the four quadrants of every individual – spiritual, physical, emotional, mental – and reflects our strong belief in the necessity to focus on ‘wellness’ as a holistic concept, unique to each individual.
The rainbow koru reflects the ongoing cycle of Life/Death/Life.
With our love,
Joe Kelleher, Jean Stewart, Keith Stuart, Elaine Frew and Christina Jeffery of the Burnett Clinic (the NZ AIDS Foundation’s support and counselling clinic in Auckland), and Judith Ackroyd, Helen Anderson and Jill Jackson of the Community AIDS Resource Team (of the Auckland Area Health Board)
Michael and others
We would like to thank Pam for sending us this information about this panel.
I am one of the Nurses who made the quilt for Michael. I’m not sure of the date but it would have been the late 1980s I think. In those days lots of people did not want to be identified hence the initials and not names and Michael’s family did not want his full name used.
Added March 2013
Paul Noble (Puai Nopera)
This Quilt is only one of many that it’s makers hope will be used to memorialise the life of Paul Noble.
Conceived by two of his friends but worked on by many people, it commemorates the part of his life he chose to spend with gay men.
The base colour of the Quilt represents the sea. Paul loved to spend time at the beach or just walking along the sand. The waves, the gulls and the starfish are all part of the environment Paul loved.
We have included the cover of a magazine which shows Paul near a Wellington beach. He was chosen to launch the first colour edition of that magazine. This picture shows him as he will be remembered by many people all over New Zealand.
The medal that covers this photo commemorates a proud moment in his life. In 1986 he won a gold medal for New Zealand in the shot put when he travelled to the 1986 Gay Games in San Francisco. The medal on the quilt has been inscribed with one word – HERO – to creatively capture their involvement in HERO.
To all of us, Paul was a gay hero and this was recognised when he was chosen to be part of the promotion for the HERO Party in Auckland in 1990.
We chose to make the letters of both of Paul’s names from a material which was the colour of the earth. Whatever people may have told of him, whatever magazines may have featured his handsome face and beautiful body, Paul always had his feet firmly planted on the ground.
Both of Paul’s names have been included on the quilt. (Editor note: Puai is misspelled on the quilt)
He was born Puai Nopera but chose the name Paul Noble for himself. This was part of his life as a gay man and we have recognised the difference with a little glitter.
Paul was a man so sure of himself that a little glitter never bothered him.
Rick has this to say about Paul:
I also competed in the 1986 Gay Games in Track and Field.
We became buddies.
I was very impressed with you.
I had never met a Maori before. You were so cool.
RIP buddy.Added October 2017
Rick also added a new page for Ricky Valdez who also knew Paul.
Grayham Kenneth Haste
Sadly, at the time of setting up this website, we have no information about this panel.
Sadly, at the time of setting up this website, we have no information about this panel other than it was made by his 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|
|Andrew Carter||5 July 1954 - 20 June 1991||View Panel ›|
|For Those Loved and Known||View Panel ›|
|Grayham Kenneth Haste||21 April 1952 - 9 July 1988||View Panel ›|
|Michael and others||View Panel ›|
|Murray Hammington||1950 - 1989||View Panel ›|
|Paul Noble (Puai Nopera)||View Panel ›|
|Peter Cuthbert||died 31 October 1988||View Panel ›|
|Thomas (Tom) Blair McLean||June 1949 - 24 March 1989||View Panel ›|