‘Remembering New Zealand Women’

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This Panel is still to be joined to a Block of the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt.

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 (now Burnett Foundation Aotearoa), 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

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