Our 30th Anniversary


Charmaine and Tanya thirty years on...

Charmaine and Tanya thirty years on…

In 1985…

30 years ago, Tanya rang Charmaine, then principal of AGGS,  to book a room at the school for a “Lesbians Opposed to Waitangi Celebrations” meeting on Waitangi Day.  After a chat we made a date for dinner on Friday 8 February “to share our  experiences as women in leadership positions in “the system”.”   And the rest is herstory- actually, ourstory, thirty years of it- much to the surprise of some!

We discovered many similarities in values and commitments to social justice and change, as well as vast differences in personality and lifestyle .  Our shared values are among the strongest strands of our relationship.  Some differences still drive us crazy at times.  Others are very useful complementary skills. And being able to talk frankly with each other, and laugh at our idiosyncrasies, helps to keep us going.  Plus warmth and support (and challenges!) from our friends.

We also love exploring new places together , and especially enjoy using bikes and public transport. So for our 30th anniversary, Sunday 8 February 2015,  we caught a train into Auckland  city, stayed at a waterfront hotel, and explored our changing city centre for two days.

We visited the Auckland  Art Gallery (to catch the Light Show – clever, but only a couple of the light sculptures entranced or moved us), went to a film (Selma– reminding us of the horrors of racial bigotry and the fight for justice in the USA in the 1960s).

Westhaven promenadeA highlight was using the free public bikes from the Wynyard Quarter and riding the length of the new Westhaven boardwalk to the Harbour Bridge and back.

From a 7th floor room we looked out onto the middle decks of two different cruise ship berthed at Queen’s Wharf on two consecutive days.

We felt deep concern at the impact of these huge ocean liners on the city waterfront, and feel appalled at the Port Company proposal to reclaim more of the seabed to make wharves bigger to bring in even bigger luxury liners, and more second-hand cars.

Sadly, many of our city leaders are too stuck in the past to see the potential for alternatives which will enhance our beautiful Waitemata harbour.  And they appear oblivious to how the cruise ships and second-hand cars use up  oil resources, and contribute to climate change and pollution.





  1. Happy Anniversary you two! Sending you love and celebration from sunny springtime California!

  2. Libby & Nettie says

    Congratulations! Thirty years! What a fantastic milestone. We just celebrated 18 years on Valentine’s Day (cheesy huh) so we’ll try and catch up to you…! Lovely to catch sight of you at Heroes Out West 🙂

  3. Congratulations on your 30 years together. Arohanui

  4. So that’s how it all began! Congratulations on making it to 30 years. That’s so inspiring.

  5. Cynthia Roberts says

    Warmest congratulations! Your ‘together strength’ has been passed on to others so lovingly.
    I being one of the recipients – I have felt warmly loved and embraced by both your together and separate energies. All my love for the next decades.

  6. I love this story and this site Charmaine and Tanya. Barry and I also started going out 30 years ago this year and our first real date was marching for homosexual law reform. Relationships forged in struggle probably bring plenty of the struggle inside too! Lots of love from a student.

    • Charmaine and Tanya says

      Congratulations to you and Barry for your 30 years together – and , of course, for your commitment to social justice since you were very young, Laila! It’s a pleasure to be in touch again.
      Arohanui, Charmaine

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