The Rainbow List project was created by HNZPT to acknowledge and improve the diversity of the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero by telling the many LGBTTFQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, takatāpui, fa’afāfine, queer and intersex) stories that had been previously omitted.
Of the 18 updated listings to date, 10 of them are in the Capital, including Carmen Rupe’s former Curio shop on Cuba Street, the Taj Mahal Public Toilets, The Thistle Inn, St Andrew’s on The Terrace, Lilburn House and the Queen Victoria Monument on Cambridge Terrace.
Kerryn Pollock, Senior Heritage Assessment Advisor and lead for the Rainbow List project at Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, says the significance of the queer history varies from place to place, and some may seem unlikely on the surface, like the Queen Victoria statue between Kent and Cambridge Terraces.
“Statues of the queen were the target of gay and women’s liberation protests in the 1970s because they were potent symbols of colonisation and Victorian morality. Wellington’s Queen Victoria was the site of a demonstration in support of lesbian visibility on International Women's Day in 1977 for precisely this reason. The statue listing now includes this story.”