The KG Club (Karangahape Road Girls' Club or Kamp Girls' Club) was a prominent community centre in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand. It was known as one of New Zealand's first lesbian clubs.[1]

KG Club
Promotional poster for an event hosted by the KG Club
Address200 Karangahape Road
TypeLesbian club
Opened1972 (1972)

History edit

The KG Club was founded in 1972 by a group of women including Raukura Te Aroha "Bubs" Hetet. In a later interview, Hetet noted that there was a prominent lesbian community in Auckland at the time, but they lacked a space to congregate. Consequently, the KG Club was formed.[2]

The KG Club was originally located on Karangahape Road in a building previously used as a hair salon. However, the club subsequently relocated multiple times due to ongoing financial and liquor licensing issues.[3] After vacating 200 Karangahape Road, the KG club moved to various sites including Saint Kevin's Arcade, Beach Road and Albert Street.[4]

At the time, New Zealand law prevented women from obtaining liquor licenses. This meant that much of the trading carried out by the KG Club was illegal and the premises were subject to several police raids.[5] One particular raid in 1978 led to the closure of the Beach Road site. Viot notes that restrictive licensing policies such as these were partially responsible for the club nearing liquidation in 1979.[3]

The KG Club was generally volunteer-operated and hosted a range of community events and workshops. These included training classes for women, unofficial weddings, film and music events, as well as discussions on important matters such as racism, parenting and issues faced by Māori and Pacific people.[3][4] Despite being a supportive founding member, Hetet expressed disappointment in the strict 'women-only' policy adopted at times by the KG Club, and its subsequent exclusion of many of her queer friends who were not women.[2]

The club closed in 1985.[1] The Charlotte Museum Te Whare Takatāpuhi-Wāhine o Aotearoa, a lesbian history museum in Auckland, takes its name from two former members of the KG Club, Charlotte Prime and Charlotte Smith.[6]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Laurie, Alison (5 May 2011). "Lesbian lives - Early meeting places". Te Ara. Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  2. ^ a b Laurie, Alison (2010). ""We Were the Town's Tomboys": An Interview with Raukura: "Bubs" Hetet". Journal of Lesbian Studies. 14 (4): 381–400. doi:10.1080/10894161003677091.
  3. ^ a b c Voit, Frederike (30 April 2023). ""This was Paradise": The Rise of Queer Public Spaces in Central Auckland". Auckland History Initiative. Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  4. ^ a b McCabe, Micheal (2017). Tracing steps on an empty dance floor, or, nightclubs as queer spaces (Thesis thesis). University of Auckland. Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  5. ^ Buxton, Sarah (2020). "That was then, this is now: Identity in the Auckland lesbian community" (PDF). Women's Studies Journal. 34 (1): 59–67.
  6. ^ Saphira, Miriam. "Charlotte Museum Trust". NZHistory. Retrieved 11 December 2023.

External links edit