About these Quilt Panels
These are individual Panels that are still to be joined to form a Block. Click each image to view the Panel details.
Richard (Ricky) Trevino Valdez
Ricky died at Nipomo, California, USA.
This page has been created in response to a request from one of his friends via the Internet. Ricky competed in the 1986 Gay Games where he met Paul Noble from New Zealand.
Rick shared this memory of Ricky at the same time he sent a memory for Paul:
I lost the best person in the world, Ricky Valdez.
Our 20 years together were amazing.
I still think of you almost everyday.
It is still painful.
I know you are dancing with the angels.
This page in memory of Craig was started by Trevor in 2014.
You will never be forgotten by me my dear ‘sister’. You were a talented, creative, loyal friend – friendly but also at times troubled and a bit of a ratbag.
Thanks for being my friend and sister.
Trevor Doig (‘Trina’) xxx
Added January 2014
There is no physical panel for Mervyn. It only exists here on this web page.
In late 1994/early 1995, The Quilt Project received a letter from Barbara where she wrote:
I recently lost my cousin Mervyn Jefferies who grew up in Auckland. He died in Copenhagen of HIV/AIDS. He was 43 years old.
A couple of weeks later, I wrote the enclosed, my remembrance of him.
If there is anywhere suitable, you may publish it.
Here is her letter to Mervyn:
Somewhere in a far away country there is a place where they put your bones or ashes or some memorial to your passing. I know you aren’t still there.
I’ve got my own little stash of memories, to keep for the rest of my time.
The hippy beads are hanging on the wall, a present from you before you last flew away from here. That hilarious trip to the airport in a Merc with electric windows. Doing the ‘Royal Wave’ at pedestrians.
Parties, times at Mike’s, a few photos. “At the beach with some nieces” – Rangitoto in the background. “Outside Middleton Road”.
Remember the day we went to see Jaws and Earthquake, then rode the “Hurricane” in the square outside the CPO and Downtown. – Horror stories. We must have had strong stomachs in those days, and a good head for heights.
Going to see Skyhooks and some other group at Carlaw Park, walking home afterwards and crashing in the outside bedroom, a garden shed.
Oh, those were the days.
In the 60’s we’d played the latest 45s, danced to all the pop songs, played Postman’s Knock at teenage parties – those soggy savouries, snax biscuits with tomato.
That was before you’d ‘come out – first having to go to Sydney to be the real you and live your life.
Such waste, looking back now, when you’ll be fondly remembered.
All those bad words, “Queer” my father called you.
“He always played with dolls'” whispered the aunties, “painted his nails”.
Now some will go and see the AIDS Quilt, say, “We lost one too, went to Copenhagen to die, be with his ‘friend'”.
You will hear. You will remember.
You’re somewhere out there now.
Dancing on the stars, glitter all through your hair, spangles on your shoes.
Remembering all the men you have loved. At last proudly gay.
I hope you twinkle down on me, my little star.
From the stories folder that accompanies The Quilt to displays:
“Remembering New Zealand Women”
“He tohu Whakamahara mo Nga Wahine o Aotearoa”
This panel was designed and made by the Mainland Women and HIV Network, a Christchurch Group concerned about the increasing number of New Zealand women infected with HIV/AIDS. We aim to raise awareness about the particular risks women face in relation to HIV/AIDS infection, to develop resources informing women about these risks and to support the human rights of HIV positive women.
The people involved in the Network come from various organisations and groups – as well as interested individuals. Groups represented include: NZ AIDS Foundation, NZ Prostitutes Collective, Sexual Health Centre (Christchurch), Christchurch Women’s Prison, 198 Youth Health Centre, Family Planning Association, Pacific Island Health Resource Centre, Rodger Wright Centre and Crown Public Health Ltd.
We decided to make this panel as a way of acknowledging the women who have died of AIDS related causes in New Zealand. We felt this was important because women are often over-looked in the whole AIDS debate and frequently remain invisible.
We wanted an image that would represent the strength and beauty of women. With this in mind we decided to use an iris – a flower which to us portrays these qualities. A colour copy on calico was made and padded to increase the effect of depth. The long stem and the wording are made of felt.
The stem has the message: “Remembering New Zealand Women”. .. The local Runanga wrote the Maori text for the leaf: “He tohu Whakamahara mo Nga Wahine o Aotearoa”. We liked the way the leaf and stem are connected, demonstrating the link between the two cultures and the importance the Network attaches to this.
We were fortunate to have the help of Adam Calje, the regional New Zealand Quilt co-ordinator, who has made several Quilt panels for local people. With a small group of people from the Network we met on Tuesday nights for our “sewing bee”.
The panel was presented to the New Zealand Quilt Project on Sunday 27 September 1998 by people from the Network where it joined the ever-growing New Zealand Quilt.
Mainland Women and HIV Network
PO Box 21-285
Sadly, at the time of setting up this web site, we have no information about this panel.
From the stories folder that accompanies The Quilt to displays
Russell passed away on 22nd June 1995 of AIDS. – a cruel and savage disease but one Russell fought with much dignity and bravery.We decided to place the Rose ‘Friesia’ as the main centrepiece of his quilt as it was one of his favourite roses and which my mother and I have now growing in our gardens. Russell truly loved his flowers and gardens. The gardens gave Russell much pleasure and even his sickness did not stop him from tending to them.
Russell was not only my brother, he was my best friend, advisor and mentor and he is still so deeply missed and longed for. I have lots of wonderful memories of all the good times we shared together and which cannot ever be taken away from me.
Russell was a wonderful human being who made the most of his life with lots of energy and zest.
Russell was also a caring son. He cared very much about our Mother and would often send her little cards just to say he loved her. That was so typical of Russell. There never had to be an excuse to send or say anything, he would just do it.
Russell spent the last three and a half years of his life in Dunedin with his beloved partner Russel Wedge. Russell had a quality of life whilst there, making lots of friends and generally enjoying his new life with Russel.
I LOVE YOU SO VERY MUCH RUSSELL,WHEREVER YOU ARE,
Your loving sister, Robyn.
Welby is the artist who painted this panel for Kevin. He writes:
Kevin held the New Zealand title in the triple jump and trained some of the country’s best women athletes. He taught physical education and was also active in theater in lighting design and production.
Welby painted the the image of Kevin on calico and the words on it reference the comment Kevin made about dying of AIDS.
I didn’t know that a human heart could be so strong.
In those last weeks, when your body had wasted away
to less than an echo of itself
when you were too weak to even close your eyes
it kept beating
And I remember
when you won the National title in Hamilton
The last jump in a battle against the best in the country
You came dancing across the field
Your heart flung wide across the stadium
And I remember
The intimacy of your love
the flowering of our worlds
the warmth of your body nestled in my arms
… and the beating of your heart.
You told me how hard dying was
..the hardest run up to the longest jump…
And you were afraid to go.
Angry at this disease that should come unbidden
to a man so strong
so full of heart
So I sat and watched
your face set firm against the fading light
and I have painted you
with the wings of an angel
the wings of a dancer and an athlete
… and a man
Go with grace Toddy
A son of God on a final journey home
Like the beating of a heart.
Welby, October 1998
On 16 April 2014, the New Zealand Film Archive hosted an exhibition entitled 30 looking back at the early history of HIV/AIDS in New Zealand, mainly from TV news items and other TV programmes from the time. The exhibition marked 30 years since the first person with AIDS to die in New Zealand left us, and also the fact that the majority of the early deaths (and also the most of those rememberd on the NZ AIDS Memorial Quilt) were of people in their 30s.
With Welby’s permission, the image of Kevin and the wording on the Panel appeared on all the advertising and other printed material relating to the exhibition. The Panel itself was one of five that were on display for the duration of the exhibition.
From the stories folder that accompanies The Quilt to displays
The Quilt is a picture of Peter’s life starting with the bright sun flowers on the left, the bright gay flowers which were always part of his life. His love of animals is expressed by the picture of his dog in the left corner, and of course butterflies and peacock feathers. The camera was always with him, especially on his many travelling adventures around the world. His own photo is framed with the Cockburn tartan giving his link to the Scottish family. The final part shows the last two years with his love of fine wine, food, cigarettes and out-door dining with the backdrop of Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.
The Quilt, has been made by Tane, Peter’s partner, and members of Peter’s family as well as some very close friends from New Zealand and England. Peter died of AIDS related conditions on 17 November 1993, after being nursed by his family at home.
As a family we met many of Peter’s gay friends and still keep in touch with many of them. He was a bright intelligent young man, greatly loved and sadly missed. He was aged 29 when he left us for his next great adventure.
Also from the stories folder that accompanies The Quilt to displays
The following was compiled over a few days with contributions by those who loved him, as read at his funeral by Jude:
“As we drove here today Peter’s words came to me clearly
– ‘ooh, it’s a bit of a do’”
Peter was a connoisseur of life and enjoyed living it to the full. He enjoyed people, partying and was forever telling us to ‘lighten up’. He loved music and to him it wasn’t loud enough unless it pounded throughout the house.
As soon as he could afford to he took off for England and beyond. Peter made an intrepid traveller – the more exotic the country the better. He would return with stories – few of which can be repeated here – of hair raising adventures from some of the wildest places that he had checked out.
After a four year stint abroad Peter returned to New Zealand, but not to take on a slower pace of life. He enjoyed the buzz of Auckland, few restaurants were left untried, few night clubs left unexplored. Peter kept his artistic flair quiet, but no room was ever the same once his hand had been at work transforming it into a reflection of his personality.
He always had lots of great ideas. Most recently he developed a talent for landscape gardening. We were told in no uncertain terms that there was such a thing as garden planning!! He dreamt of getting into the Palmer’s Garden Show so he and Tane transformed the garden into a riot of colour that would have done the TV show proud. They would while away the hours pottering in the green house to their heart’s content, scheming how to replace yet another of mum’s beloved daisy bushes! then relax in the hammock, Black Russian in hand, enjoying their handiwork.
Peter had a special way with people and he would make friends wherever he went. He was honest to boot and didn’t mind telling you he didn’t like what you were wearing.!! or that your taste was tragic! He of course had impeccable taste whether he was dressing up or down.
He loved to have us all on and had a great sense of humour. His easy going nature, together with his bravery and spirit were unflinching which made him the ideal patient. The devoted and loving care that Peter received from us all enabled him to spend his last days at home as was his wish. The courage Peter showed throughout his life inspired us. he was and will remain a true and everlasting friend who will be greatly missed.
Peter, we wish you peace for your journey. Our love goes with you always.
John, the second of three boys, was the oldest of identical twins, born in Nelson and growing up in Auckland before heading overseas where he spent the rest of his adult life.
While overseas, John based himself in London from where he travelled to over 40 other countries, especially in Asia and Africa. While not travelling, John enjoyed gardening, especially cacti, and it was hard to hold him back from a party. Another favourite pastime of John’s was origami.
All of these interests in John’s life are depicted in his panel with the cactus, origami crane, wineglass and map of the part of the world where he did most of his travelling, with China being the next place to visit, but where he never got to. The gardening interest is also represented by the kowhai and rose, which also represent the two countries where he spent most of his life.
John worked for the Westminster City Council where he worked as a social worker helping the poor. He also spent many hours in the swimming pool, with swimming being his main way of keeping fit.
The scenes represent the three centres where he lived most of his life, Nelson, Auckland, and London.
The short piece of music are the opening bar of Nature Boy, (by Nat King Cole), one of his favourite pieces. It also represents a strong interest in music, which saw him playing in the Salvation Army band in his younger days.
The quote in the middle of the panel above his photo is from the story of The Selfish Giant, by Oscar Wilde. This piece was also on the Order of Service for his funeral, held in Earl’s Court, London.
John’s father, Roy, is now living back in Nelson and made this panel with help from the friends he made in the Nelson HIV/AIDS Support Network.
Tony has this to say about John:
John came to live in my house when he first left NZ and arrived in Melbourne. I remember him very well and have always had a soft spot in my heart for him. I knew he had gone to London but have only just become aware of his passing. He was a great guy and sadly missed.
Added November 2010
Sadly, at the time of setting up this web site, we have no information about this panel.
Leigh the Flea
Leigh; Artist, Actor, Playwright, Publicist, Casting Director, Teacher, Traveller, Son, Brother, Brother-in-law, Nephew, Cousin, Uncle, Lover, Beloved, Treasured friend.
The Panel was made six years after Leigh’s death, after Andrew and Johnathan had both returned from abroad. After agreeing on the design Andrew went about sourcing the material and cutting the letters from blown up stencils, then ironing each into shape. Johnathan organised the reproduction of the photo of “Madam Matisse” onto canvass with a laminated water resistant cover.
The sewing was done at Ara Kotinga, Andy’s family farm in South East Auckland, over a sunny Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The simple and uncomplicated design is for Leigh, and everyone who knew, loved and cherished him for who he was to them.
“Madam Matisse” is a work of Leigh’s and encompasses all the colours he was.
Sharleen added this memory:
Happy times a long time ago.
Added March 2017
Derek added this memory and photo:
Way back in April 1992 my friend and flatmate Glen Snow, who was working at the NZ AIDS Foundation at the time, asked me if I would photograph popular Wellington stage actor Leigh Ransfield for a “safe sex” poster that the Foundation was planning. I was just starting out in black and white portraiture at the time, and I jumped at the chance.I arranged to meet Leigh at a local cafe in Willis Street, Kahlo’s, and it was there that we had the photo session. The idea was to capture the beautiful Leigh in contemplative mood — basically a young gay man reflecting on his sex life.
Leigh, whom I’d never met before, could not have been nicer (or more beautiful!), and the photo session was a blast. While my favourite photo from the session was not the one selected for the poster — perhaps it was seen as *too* contemplative — Leigh shone in them all. He had true star quality.
Anyway, he came up to our flat a few weeks later to see the proofsheets from our session, and we had a wonderful time going through them. I was very struck by his personality and his warmth. Here was a 29-year-old man who was down to his last four T-cells (as he candidly told me), and yet there wasn’t a hint of self-pity in him. He radiated positivity!
That was the last time I ever saw him. Just a few weeks later — before the poster had even been released — Leigh passed away.
It’s been 25 years since he left us, but I have never forgotten him. In fact, Leigh’s framed photo (my favourite from the session) has accompanied me wherever I have lived (it’s currently with me in South Korea), and it never fails to generate questions, e.g. “Who is that gorgeous man??!!”
Derek would love to hear from others who knew Leigh. He may be contacted via his website www.derekmcgovern.com
Added July 2017
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 John’s 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. John’s 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. John’s 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.
In 1998, The Quilt Project received this letter from Ross. As far as we can ascertain, it refers to the Warren depicted on this panel.
I never got to know you all that well, partly due to the fact there was 12 years between us, and partly because our homophobic families thought it best we didn’t. So by the time I was old enough to make my own decisions in life, you had already departed. Needless to say, I would have like the opportunity to have known you better.
Why? Because as a young, gay, teenager, I needed answers to questions, someone to share thoughts with, and talk about life in general. None of which I could have possibly discussed with my parents – as they were unaware of my sexual identity at that stage. Therefore, as we were the only members (who could honestly be called ‘Family’), I looked up to you as though you were a guiding light through my years of darkness.
Working on your Quilt this past year, has been a truly up-lifting experience. Initially, when I first began, I would often have an overwhelming need to express my emotions, usually in a flood of tears. Then slowly, as the Quilt started to take shape, I found the tears subsided to make way for a deep sense of pride.
It was then I felt your presence enter my life, not only all around me (like a soft, luxuriously warm, woollen blanket on a cold winter’s night), but felt as though you actually reached out and touched my very sole.
Now, as the Quilt nears completion, you and I both know it is time to say our final farewells, as I feel your spirit is fading. I thank you for giving of yourself these past 12 months, and wish you all the happiness the universe and beyond has to offer. I will think of from time to time, as I did in my younger years, however (as I am sure you are aware), I am no longer in the darkness, being overshadowed by others’ prejudices and fears. I too have found true happiness.
With all my love,
Added May 2012
Trevor Doig sent this message
I remember you well from the early 80s and remember spending a lovely night with you in 1980. I was very sad to hear you had passed.
You were a lovely talented young man who was taken too soon – you made a very important contribution to the NZ dance world and will never be forgotten by many, certainly not me.
RIP sweet Warren until we meet again.
Trevor Doig xoxox
Added January 2014