As the story goes, Gay Liberation kicked off in New Zealand after lesbian activist Ngahuia Te Awekotuku was denied a visa into the United States. A following TV interview in which she described herself as a ‘sapphic woman’ and the following organizing she instigated helped propel the movement forward. Following that line of activism, Te Awekotuku pursued a career as an academic, obtaining a PhD in Psychology with a thesis on the socio-cultural effects of tourism on the Te Arawa people. Since then she has continued to write, curate, research, and advocate for queer and Māori rights. At the time of this writing she holds a professorship with the School of Māori and Pacific Development, at the University of Waikato, centered around Māori conceptions of death and dying. She has contributed to an award-winning book on moko (Māori tattoo).
A longer bio, complete with a list of Te Awekotuku’s academic works, can be found here.