There’s Nothing Like a Dame

And we can’t write about women’s issues without noticing that this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list pays tribute to women in an unexpected way…for the first time ever, there are more Dames than Knights at the top of the list- and what an interesting group, and we all know “there’s nothing like a dame!”….

…except two Dames!


Dame Linda and Dame Jules (the Topp Twins, of course) have made a huge contribution to Aotearoa for more than forty years now.    We’ve been to many concerts over the years, from one at the rual Waiuku Cosmopolitan Club to the most recent one at the prestigious ASB Waterfront Theatre.  Their unique blend of fun, satire, country music, original feminist songs, yodelling and social commentary  draws large and diverse audiences wherever they perform.

Their 60th birthday celebration concert – on the night before the Queen’s Birthday Honours List was announced- included an impassioned plea for townies to understand the grief of farmers having to kill their herds because of Mycoplasma bovis, and their mother joining them on stage to sing one  of her early country songs with them..

We awoke the next morning to the news.  Congratulations to Jules and Linda, and to the whole Topp family for nurturing and supporting one another so steadfastly.  And to Arani Cuthbert for managing the twins’ careers so lovingly for so long…

…plus another  three

… and these  three were also very special choices:

  • Catherine Healy, the founder of the NZ Prostitutes’ Collective
  • The Honourable Luamanuvao Winnifred Laban, leading educator and first Samoan woman to be honoured at this level
  • Charmian O’Connor,  leading scientist  and academic, and passionate supporter of tertiary education for women

Read about all these inspiring Dames at :

(We were also delighted to see that Hilary King was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit – MNZM – for her services to special education – she has done such amazing work for children using her musical and teaching skills. Hilz is definitely a Dame in our eyes too)


…or four Dames (on film, from another world…)

Four British Dames, acting royalty  – Judy Dench, Joan Plowright, Eileen Atkins, Maggie Smith-  in Tea with the Dames, filmed live at one of their occasional reunions. Life and lines, lovers and others…four strikingly beautiful faces…Judi Dench’s amazing memory for Shakespeare quotations and many others… wry comments from each on husbands, producers, roles…and acknowledgement of  the dwindling number of functional eyes, ears and legs shared by the four today…

Not feminist icons, any of them- but wonderful actresses to be admired, nevertheless…




  1. Liz LaSorsa says

    Love those twins.

    It’s always nice to read your blog and catch up on where you two are and what you are doing. So many fond memories of you both at Awhitu. ?

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