New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt welcomed into national collection

30 April 2012

The poignant stories of 140 New Zealanders, whose lives were lost to HIV and AIDS related illnesses, will now be shared with visitors when the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt is welcomed to Te Papa in early May.

The Quilt is made up of 16 blocks of 8 panels, each unique panel representing a person who died of AIDS.

The first panel was made in 1988, in memory of Wellington man Peter Cuthbert by his partner as well as family and friends. Since then, the Quilt and its stories have been shared across New Zealand as part of the worldwide movement that began in 1987.

Among the panels is the story of Eve van Grafthorst, who contracted AIDS after a blood transfusion after being born premature. Her story captivated the hearts of New Zealanders after her family fled her native Australia where she was unable to find a supportive school and community environment. Eve died at the age of 11 in 1993.

“The Quilt panels are moving, creative and positive memorials to those who died and testaments to community love and support. All sorts of wonderful textiles and techniques have been used, and these help tell emotional and sometimes colourful stories”, says Stephanie Gibson, Curator History at Te Papa.

Members of the public will be able to see part of the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt when it is welcomed into the collection on 3 May, it will be on display on Te Marae at Te Papa from 10am to 2pm. Guardian of the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt, Michael Bancroft will be giving a talk at 12.15pm on the making and significance of AIDS quilts.


Media contact

Roxan Mathys, Manager Communications (Acting)
029 601 0180 or (04) 381 7083