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From the archives, text, images and video.

*The Archives section is intentionally incomplete - we are offering a timeline of some important moments in our Taranaki history. We invite visitors to learn about the people and moments that have shaped the world they inhabit today, and to consider how their life will be remembered in the future. Visitors are invited to share a memory they want to live on by contacting us & to help us imagine what comes next by declaring a hope for the future.

Lew Pryme

Pryme was born in the coastal Taranaki town of Waitara, where the primary form of employment was the Borthwick's Freezing Works. He worked his way up the entertainment world ladder starting with Colin King's rock and roll band, the Harmonisers.[1]

Later in life,

Pryme opened up about living as a closeted gay man.[3]

Pryme died of AIDS on 23 April 1990, a week after his partner of many years Jeff Fowler also died of AIDS on 16 April 1990, aged 32. His last days were recorded in a documentary, Lew Pryme -- Welcome to my World.[4]

Elsie Andrews

Elsie Andrews, was born in Huirangi in 1888. She trained as a teacher and spent her entire working life in the field of education. She was committed to the peace movement and was active in women's rights/issues both in New Zealand and overseas.

She was involved with the National Council of Women, the Pan Pacific Women's Association, the Taranaki Women's Club and was an Old Girl of New Plymouth Girls' High School.

She lived in Fitzroy with her companion Muriel Kirton and died in 1948.

Muriel Kirton

Muriel Kirton moved to Kowhai Street around 1922 with Elsie Andrews. After Elsie died in 1948, Muriel continued to live there until her death in 1980.

The house the two women lived in still stands in Kowhai Street, Fitzroy, however it was moved to the rear of the section when the property was subdivided.

Rewi Alley

For six years in the early 1920s the activist and writer Rewi Alley and his business partner Jack Stevens farmed an isolated property in the Moeawatea Valley, 40 kilometres inland from Waverley. Alley withdrew from the partnership in 1926 and went to China, where he spent the rest of his life.

In the late 1980s the derelict house was restored by a Conservation Corps team under the auspices of the Whanganui branch of the Historic Places Trust.

Club 47

Back in the day, we used to hang out at this spot called The Sheila’s Arms, which later became known as Club 47. That old wall you see standing tall? It’s now part of the Pukeariki museum. From ’92 to ’96, it was our go-to spot for all sorts of fun – we’d throw up graffiti, showcase dresses, throw dance parties, and even hold support group meetings.

Sadly, it got demolished eventually. If you want to take a trip down memory lane, Fiona Clark’s got some awesome photographs of Club 47 you should check out.

Georgina Beyer

A proud Maori woman of Te Ati Awa, Ngati Mutunga, Ngati Raukawa and Ngati Porou descent raised by her extended whanau in Taranaki that helped shape who she became.

Rudi Milesi

Rudi Milesi, the famed Patea Gardener of his garden ”Chriesi Wald ". A Life Member of the Hawera Repertory Society , died on 20 October in his 95th year. Rudi was raised at Mangatoki on his father’s farm and, in his late teens sent off to Patea by his father Rudolph to work at the Patea Freezing Works where he was employed in the accounts department throughout his working life. Rudi was also held in high regard at Patea by local Maori and directed the musical POI E for Dalvanious Prime and the Patea Maori Club with the title song Poi E. Rudi proudly drove a purple sports Triumph Stag.

Rudi was also a founding member of the early Taranaki Gay Liberation group & listed as a contact in Patea.

Dr Miriam Saphira

Images from the Taranaki Pride Festival event at Puke Ariki held on the 10th of April 2024, courtesy of Fiona Clark.

Fiona Clark