Remembering the gay and drag scene of 1970s Auckland

Fiona Clark  Perry and Diana at Miss NZ Drag Queen Ball, Auckland , June 1975

Fiona Clark Perry and Diana at Miss NZ Drag Queen Ball, Auckland, June 1975

Fiona Clark

The Spinoff

15 October, 2017

“These photos say, ‘I am who I am. I’m here. I’m part of your world and I’m going to stay.'” Photographer Fiona Clark looks back at her time documenting trans and queer people on Auckland’s K Road.

When I was 14, I knew I was different. I didn’t fit the norm at Inglewood High School. My father told me that my grandfather had met Amy Maud Bock in Mōkau – the woman who’d famously married another woman in Balclutha in 1909. My grandfather travelled annually to Mōkau, which is right up the coast from where we lived, because he had a relation who worked at the Mōkau boarding house. This is where Amy was staying when he met her. I’m not sure why my father told me about Amy Bock. My father only said things that he thought were relevant. So maybe he told me because he thought I might be interested or that I should know about her. Whatever it was, I have been fascinated by Amy Bock ever since and have even collected objects from her life, documenting her and her role in our gender history. For example, she was convicted of impersonating a man and served three years in the New Plymouth men’s prison. She always pleaded guilty for every charge. I made a patch out of her guilty signature and I’ve got it embroidered on a jacket. You name it, I’m guilty. I’m guilty of all of it.

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