The History of the New Zealand Prostitute's Collective

The NZPC | Aotearoa New Zealand Sex Workers' Collective is run by sex workers, for sex workers, and advocates for the rights, safety, health, and well being of all sex workers. We are committed to working for the empowerment of sex workers, so that sex workers can have control over all aspects of their work and lives.;xNLx;;xNLx;Our services focus on workers rights, HIV and STI prevention, and education. We also provide safer sex supplies to sex workers, and offer free sexual health clinics at our community bases.;xNLx;;xNLx;NZPC has long been at the forefront of reforming the law for sex workers. We helped draft the Prostitution Reform Act which decriminalised sex work in New Zealand, and built support for it as it passed into law.;xNLx;;xNLx;NZPC provides expert advice to those with an interest in law and policy surrounding sex work in New Zealand. We are also a crucial point of liaison between government and non-government civil society, and the sex industry.;xNLx;;xNLx;A big thank you to RNZ and Clare O'Leary for their contributions to this timeline.

1976-10-01 13:40:35

Auckland's sex industry in 1976: lively and thriving for some.

There are more than 50 parlours in Auckland, with business booming. You'll hear what it was like in these two feature audio items featuring 74 year old Auckland madam Flora Mac Kenzie and a variety of unnamed men and women working in the sex industry.

1978-03-18 01:16:03

King's Cross sex workers talk legalisation

'Geoff Robinson introduces a Morning Report item from the ABC in Australia, in which three prostitutes talk about the prospect of legalisation of prostitution in Australia'. (RNZ)

1983-06-01 18:10:55


Sex work goes pop. In 1983 Sharon O’Neill put out her music video to ‘Maxine’. It was a song inspired by a sex worker who had worked the streets of King’s cross. "If you don't like the beat, don't play with the drum". | Click on the link below to view the music video

1985-08-21 13:45:25

Jewel's Darling: Television Drama

"...I mean to say, shouldn't I be in love with a fella or something?" Mandy (Richard Hanna), a man who dresses as a woman, describes his relationship with transsexual Jewel (future politician Georgina Beyer). Jewel's Darl concentrates on the fine details of their relationship: tea and biscuits in bed, Jewel's belief in staying strong against other people's mockery, and Mandy's memories of a troubled childhood. Nominated for multiple NZ Film and Television awards after finally getting a TV slot, Peter Wells' drama was inspired by an Anne Kennedy short story, which won the 1983 Katherine Mansfield Award. (NZ On Screen Iwi Whitiāhua)

1986-08-21 13:26:10

Girls of the silver dollar

During World War II in June of 1942, United States Marines started arriving in Wellington. This caused concern for The Health Department as they believed the influx of ‘thousands of young men could cause an epidemic of venereal disease’. In response to this concern Nurse Margaret MacNab visited brothels to alert the sex workers that they had seen a soldier who had now tested positive for venereal disease and would need to report to the hospital for treatment. | Click on the link below to listen to an interview with Nurse Margaret MacNab by Jack Perkins. (RNZ)

1987-10-01 13:40:35

The NZPC formed

A group of women in massage parlours and other places were concerned about the treatment of sex workers and got together, often meeting on street corners, bars, and beaches during 1987. In October they formally formed the New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective

1989-01-01 00:00:00

Carmen Rupe

'In more repressed times, Carmen was one of NZ's most colourful and controversial figures. Geoff Steven's doco traces the life story of the transgender icon who was born Trevor Rupe in Taumarunui in 1936 and went on to be a dancer, sex worker, madam, cafe owner — and one of the few non-MPs to appear before the Privileges Committee. Steven shines a light on a bygone era of gay culture but avoids the temptation to focus on the seedy — opting, instead, for extended fantasy sequences (featuring Neil Gudsell aka Mika) to illustrate key moments in Carmen's life'. (NZ On Screen Iwi Whitiāhua)

1989-08-21 13:45:25

NZ sex work film: The Night Workers 1989

'Director Dave Gibson heads to Wellington's red light district on Vivian Street to interview strippers and prostitutes for this TV One documentary. Night workers ply their trade on the busy street, and inside late night venues like Tiffany's strip club. The nearby Evergreen cafe is also used as a drop-in centre by the city's gay community. Prostitute Kayla talks about AIDS reducing client numbers, while stripper Crystal Lee is nervous before her first dance. Police mention an improved relationship with prostitutes; Tiffany's owner Brian Le Gros claims men visit his club for fun not nudity'. (NZ On Screen Iwi Whitiāhua)

1992-10-22 05:03:00

MP's back NZPC in attempt at law reform

NZ's Associate Health Minister calls for a departmental report on prostitution with the support of NZPC. Listen to NZPC's Catherine Healy here.

1993-05-01 00:00:00

Calls for decriminalisation

Associate Health Minister Maurice Williamson and NZPC's, Catherine Healy call for decriminalisation of sex work so that sex workers can carry condoms without fear of them being used as evidence if arrested.

The History of the New Zealand Prostitute's Collective

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