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Kōrero: Rupe, Carmen Tione

Whārangi 1: Haurongo

Ngā whakaahua me ngā rauemi katoa o tēnei kōrero

Rupe, Carmen Tione

1936–2011

Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Heke-a-Wai; kaiwhakangahau kuīni whakarākei, kaimahi kairau, rakahinonga, tipua o te hunga LGBTIQ+

I tuhia tēnei haurongo e Lynette Townsend, ā, i tāngia tuatahitia ki Ngā Tāngata Taumata Rau i te 2018. He mea whakamāori nā Te Haumihiata Mason.

He wahine irawhiti, he kaiwhakangahau para huarahi hou a Carmen Rupe, he tuakiri tōna i aro nuitia, he kaimahi kairau, he tipua araara ia nō te hunga LGBTIQ+. Ko ia te rangatira o ētahi karapu pō mōiriiri maha i Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara, me tana whai kotahi i te tūranga kahika o reira. I whakawhānuitia e ia ngā ripa tauārai o te whakangahau pō i Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara, i whakangahau, i whakatūpehupehu anō i a ngāi Aotearoa i ngā tau o te 1960 me te 1970. Ko ia te tangata irawhiti i tino kitea ki Aotearoa i tōna wā, i whakamahia e ia tōna rongonui ki te kōkiri i ngā mōtika o te hunga LGBTIQ+. I hau tōna rongo mōna i āwhina i te hunga kāinga-kore me ētahi atu e raru ana.

Tau tōmua

Ko Trevor David Rupe te ingoa o Carmen i tōna whānautanga mai i te 10 o Oketopa 1936 ki  Waimiha, kei waenga o Taumarunui me Te Kūiti, hei tama mā Elsie Tekahukete Wilson (Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Heke-a-Wai) rāua ko tana tāne, a John Edward Rupe (Ngāti Maniapoto). I ōna tau tōmua i noho ia ki te pāmu o ngā Rupe i Waimiha i te taha o tana tuakana, ana tēina tokorua me ana tuāhine tokotoru. I te whakamomoritanga o John Rupe i te takiwā ki te tau 1941, ka mārena a Elsie i a Inuhaere Rupe (Te Rupe), te teina o John. Tokoono atu anō ā rāua tamariki i mua i te matenga o Te Rupe i te tau 1947.

Ko te aronga nui o te whānau ko te pāmu me tō rātou marae, i reira te whānau nui tonu i ngā wā katoa, ka mutu, i te kōrero tonuhia te reo Māori. Ko te koroheke o ngā tamariki he tohunga i kauanuanutia, he kauae tehe tō rātou kuia, he tohunga whatu korowai hoki. I rumakina te kai e ai ki te maramataka Māori, ko te nuinga o ā rātou kai nō te māra, i haere anō ki te patu mīti me te hopu ika. Kāore he hiko, he pouaka mātao i tō rātou koroua whare, ka mutu, i waho kē te whareiti. 

I moemoeā tonu a Carmen kia wahine ia i te roanga atu o tōna ohinga, i kōingo hoki ia ki te tāne; i hinga atu ia ki tāna i kōingo ai, kāore ōna māharahara ki tērā. I pārekareka ki a ia te mau kākahu wahine, me te whakataruna he whetū kiriata ia i Hollywood. Ka 15 ōna tau ka tū ia ki te hurahura me te mau kākahu wahine i tētahi konohete Anzac Day i Taumarunui. I a ia e tamariki ana ka tāhaetia e ia ētahi hanga iti noa nei, ka mutu, ahakoa te mutu o tēnei mahi i a ia ka pakeke haere, i mau tonu te hiahia ki te hanga mōkaikai me te noho o tēnei āhua hei tohu i tōna āhua i ōna rā tōmuri. 

Tau huringa kē  

I mutu te kura a Carmen i a ia ka 15 tau, ka tīmata tana mahi ki tētahi mira kani rākau. Kātahi ia ka haere ki te Poutāpeta o Taumarunui mahi ai, i mua i tana whai tūranga ki te Mira Wūru i Mosgiel, pātata ki Ōtepoti.  I reira tana whakaipotanga tuatahi ki te tāne, me tana pārekareka ki te tū ki te hurahura i ngā pātī a te RNZAF i te taunga rererangi o Taieri. I te takiwā ki te tau 1953, ka hūnuku ia mō tētahi wā poto ki Tāmakimakaurau, ka tūpono atu ki tētahi hapori takatāpui mātātoa, me tana pārekareka ki te ngahau tahi ki ngā ‘kuīni whakarākei’. I reira hoki ōna anō tūraru i ara ake ai te ririhau; i tētahi wā ka pāwheratia i a ia e tūāmoe ana.  

I mahi a Carmen i ngā hōtēra i Ōtepoti me Te Anau kia 21 ōna tau, ka tahuri ia ki te whai i tāna i wawata nui ai, kia haere hei tapuhi. I te tau 1956, ka mate tana haere mō te 10 wiki kia whakangungua hei hōia ki Tāmakimakaurau me Ōtautahi, mō tētahi wā anō ki ngā Medical Corps kia koke tonu ai tana whai i ngā mahi a te tapuhi. I reira tonu te hiahia kia tū ki te whakaari ki tā te wahine, ehara i te mea me whakatenatena rawa. I te mutunga o te CMT, ka tū a Carmen me te mau kākahu wahine i tētahi mahi whakangahau i kīia ko te ‘Ballet Latrines Les Girls’.

I te takiwā ki te tau 1957, ka tīmata te mahi a Carmen hei kaiāwhina ki te Hōhipere o Cornwall ki Tāmakimakaurau. Ka 21 ōna tau, ka neke atu ia i te tū noa ki te hurahura, ka tīmata tana mau kākahu wahine ki waenga i te marea. I tīmata anō tana whakamātau kia utua ia mō ngā mahi kairau i te tūponotanga ki tētahi kaipakihi tāne Ingarihi, nāna nei i whakarite ētahi kiritaki utu e rua, e toru i te wiki. Ka haere a Carmen i waenga o Tāmakimakaurau me Poihākena mā runga kaipuke i te taha o ngā tāne nei, āhuareka ana ki a ia te noho i tā te whai rawa, me te pārekareka o ēnei haerenga ki a ia. I te pātaihia o tōna ingoa e tētahi kiritaki, ka kī atu ia ko ‘Carmen’ – tētahi ingoa i whakaawetia e ngā wāhine tipua o te mata-hiriwa mai i tōna ohinga, pērā i a Carmen Miranda me Rita Hayworth o The Loves of Carmen. I pārekareka ki a ia te tū ko ‘Trevor Rupe ātaahua, te taitama huatau ngā kākahu o te puku o te taone’, engari ko te mahi kairau i ngā tiriti pōuri o Tāmakimakaurau te mahi i kaha kukume i a Carmen. I reira a ‘Carmen’ e āta maea ake ana. 1

I te noho pōuri o Carmen i te matenga o tana whaea, me te kupukupu a rāua ko tana rangatira mō tōna taeratanga me tana rikarika ki ngā mahi mātātoa, ka hūnuku ia ki Poihākena i te tau 1959. Ka mahi ia mō tētahi wā poto hei tapuhi i mua i te whakawhiti atu ki te whakarato tēpu i ngā whare kai. I taua wā anō, i tū ia ki ngā karapu kuīni whakarākei, me te whai i ngā mahi a te kairau i ngā pō ki Darlinghurst Rd, Kings Cross. I konei ia e whakakoi ana i ōna pūmanawa kaiwhakangahau, pūmanawa kairau anō – ahakoa te muia, te tūkinohia, te whakahē tonuhia e te pirihimana, me te whakaweti tonuhia e ngā rangatira māhie o te takiwā. 

I tana hokinga mai ki Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara i te tīmatanga o ngā tau 1960, ka mahi a Carmen ki te Hōhipere o Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara, ā, mauhere rawatia mō te ono marama i te Tīhema 1962 mōna ‘i whakaae kia kāinga kairau tētahi whare’ (he whakapae i whakahēngia e ia). I tana putanga mai i te whare herehere ka hoki ia ki Tāmakimakaurau, ā, nā tētahi pūtea whakarere iho ka āhei ia ki te whakatuwhera i tētahi kāinga rīhi rūma, me te noho i tā te wahine noho. I ngā pō ka tū ia ki te kanikani i ngā kanikani o whenua kē ki Strip-A-Rama i Karangahape Road me ētahi pātī tūmataiti. Ko ētahi o ana mahi ngahau ko te hurahura, ko te kani-puku me te whakaata. I te mutunga o āna mahi whakangahau, ka wetekina ana makawe horihori kia kitea a ‘Trevor’ i raro i ngā kākahu – he mahi hei whakaohorere māna i te whakaminenga.

I te Hānuere 1966, ka hopukina a Carmen e te ture i a ia e hoki haere ana ki te kāinga i tētahi whakaaturanga wewete kākahu, ka hāmenetia mō te ‘whanonga maninohea i te wāhi tūmatanui’ i te mea e mau kākahu wahine ana. Ka whakatau a Justice McCarthy kāore e takahia ana te ture e te tāne mau kākahu wahine, ka rukea atu te whakapae. Ka toa i konei te katoa o ngā wāhine kahuwhiti, mutu tonu atu te mau kākahu tāne a Carmen. Ka hurihia e ia tana ingoa ā-ture ki a Carmen Tione Rupe i te 2 o Hepetema 1968. Kua tīmata kē tana huri i tōna tinana ki tō te wahine i ngā tau 1950 ki te taiaki whakatupu, i ngā tau o te 1970 ka purua atu he ū mōna, ka whakakorea ngā huruhuru o ētahi wāhi o tōna tinana ki te hiko. Ko te mahi whakamutunga i toa ai ia, ko te whakauru atu i te tohuwhai ki te wāhanga ira o tana uruwhenua i te tau 1982, nō muri mai ka kīia ia he wahine. Kāore a Carmen i whai kia wahine ōna taihemahema; i whakaarohia e ia engari kāore i āta whāia. 

I hoki a Carmen ki Poihākena i muri tata tonu iho o tana tū ki te aroaro o te kōti i te tau 1966, ka rēhita hei kaiwhakangahau karapu pō takitahi ki te umanga a Keith Crockett. Ka tahuri anō ia ki te mahi i te takiwā ki Kings Cross, me te whakawhanake i ngā kanikani tohu i a ia, arā, te kani-puku me te kani-nākahi o whenua kē (e rua mita te roa o ngā nākahi). I arotahi ia ki te kounga o te whakangahau me te kākahu huatau, ko te nuinga nāna tonu i tui. I te mea he kaimahi kairau a Carmen, ka mate tana mahi ki ētahi wāhi kua tohua motuhaketia mā te hunga irawhiti, ka mutu, he maha ngā wā i mauheretia ai ia. He mahi uaua e rauhītia ai rātou e ngā pirihimana, ina tūtaki ki te pirihimana, noho pārurenga ana mā rātou. I rite tonu te rurea, te whānakohia o te kaimahi kairau, i ōna wā, te pāwheratia anō.

Kuīni o Pōneke

Ka hoki mai a Carmen ki Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara i te tau 1967 me te whakatau kia tuwhera i a ia he Whare Inu Kawhe, he whare moepuku anō. I runga i te whakamahi i ana wheako o te ao mahi hōtēra me te whakarato tangata, te whakangahau i te karapu pō me te mahi kairau, ka whakatūria e ia te Carmen’s International Coffee Lounge ki 86 Vivian St. Ko ngā whakapaipai o roto he kīnakitanga rerekē nō Āhia, nō Īhipa, nō Arāpia me Āwherika. Rangatira ana ngā ārai wereweti wherowhero, ko ngā whāriki nō Āhia ki te Rāwhiti, ko ngā paetara i whakarākeitia ki ngā tāruatanga peita tūroa o Ūropi, me te noho tahi mai a te taonga tuauki ki te kura ika pārū, te piana, te pouaka whakatangi puoro, te hanga o te pīkake me te pātītī tūwā. Ko Kahurangi Carmen te rangatira, ko te taera o ōna kākahu ko ō te gypsy, te bohemian – haupū ana ngā makawe, ko ngā whakapaipai kanohi ehara i te hanga noa, i āta pania atu.

I tuwhera te Whare Inu Kawhe i te 6 i te ahiahi ki te 6 i te ata mō te inu tī, te inu kawhe, te inu waireka, te henuwiti tōhi, te keke, te pōhā me te takakau. Kāore te wharekai i whai raihana hoko waipiro, ahakoa te noho mai o te parani ki raro i te pae hei riringi atu ki te kawhe ina inoihia. Ko ngā rūma moe o te papa o runga he rūma mō ngā mahi kairau, ko tā ngā kiritaki he tohu i tō rātou hiahia mā te āhua o tā rātou waiho mai i te kapu me te hoeha. Ko te tohu o te kapu kua huripokina, he wahine te hiahia; ko te kapu ki te taha, he irawhiti te hiahia; ko te hoeha runga kapu, ko te tāne moe tāne te hiahia. Ko ngā kaimahi he kuīni whakarākei, he tāne tāwhai wahine, he tangata kahuwhiti, he taihemawhiti, he tāne moe tāne, he tāne moe wahine, he wahine moe wahine. Ko ētahi o ngā kaimanaaki he kaimahi kairau, ko ētahi kāo. Ko te mea nui kē, ko te manaaki a ngā kaimahi i te katoa. Ko ētahi kiritaki auau te taetae atu he kaipakihi, he kaumoana me te hunga tāne whakanui i te moe wahine a tētahi hoa i mua i te mārenatanga. 

Kāore i roa ka muia te whare inu kawhe, ka tīmata te aro nui atu a te ao pāpāho o te motu ki te International Coffee Lounge, ki a Carmen tonu anō. Ka taetae atu ētahi tāngata rongonui o tēnei whenua, o te ao anō. Ka tupu te rongonui o te whare, ka kawea mai ko te raruraru me te painga. I rite tonu te muia o te Whare, pakaru mai ana te whawhai i te hunga e kaikā ana ki te tomo atu. Ka mate a Carmen ki te whakautu i te ngutu takutaku e waea atu ana, i tētahi wā ka paratī katoa ngā matapihi o mua ki te peita. I rite tonu te whai a ngā pirihimana kia hāmenetia a Carmen mō tana whakahaere whare kairau, engari i rite tonu tāna whakaoho i ngā kaimahi kairau mā tana pēhi whewheo huna i te taenga mai o te ture. I mahara tonu a Carmen, me ētahi atu irawhiti i whakahoahoa atu ia, ki te rite tonu o tō rātou tūkinohia e te pirihimana i taua wā. I noho a Carmen hei kaitiaki mō ngā tauhou ki te ao kairau, me tana āwhina anō i te hunga e whakawhiti ira ana.

I te angitu o Carmen ka tuwhera i a ia ētahi atu whare inu kawhe, tae atu ki Te Peacocktētahi ‘whare puhake’ mō te Coffee Lounge, Te Egyptian Tearoom i 287 Cuba St, a Carmen’s Down Town i Cuba St, me Cleopatra’s Coffee Lounge i 144 Vivian St. I hokona atu e Carmen’s Curios te taonga tuauki me te hanga ringa-rua, ko Te Cottage he whare kairau tekau ngā rūma moe i te tapa taone o Hātaitai. He whakarākeitanga kē tō ia rūma o Te Cottage: nō Īhipa, nō Āwherika, nō Ingarangi, nō Āhia, he akomanga kura, he rūma herehere tangata.

I te mutunga o ngā tau 1960 ka huakina e Carmen tētahi karapu-pō, Te Balcony, i 57A Victoria St, kāore i roa ka noho te wāhi nei ko tōna whare tino mōiriiri katoa. Ka tekau tau e whakahaeretia ana, ka mutu, ahurei ana ngā whakarākeitanga o Te Balcony, ko te nuinga he wherowhero. He maha ngā momo whakaaritanga pērā i te wewete kākahu a te wahine, a te tāne me te irawhiti, te whakangahau a te kuīni whakarākei me te tangata kahuwhiti, te kaikani-ahi, te kanikani Pāniora, te tū a te pukuhohe, me te kani-puku. Āhua 400 te nui ka taea te whakanohonoho ki roto. Nā Carmen, ko ia nei hoki te rangatira, i whakatuwhera ngā pō, nāna anō i kati, me tana tū ki te whakangahau i ōna wā anō. 

Heitara MP me te whai i te tūranga kahika

Tae rawa ki waenga o ngā tau 1970, kua hau te rongo mōiriiri o Carmen ki te takiwā. I pai ki a ia te aro a te iwi ki a ia, te hau o tōna rongo me te whakaohorere i te iwi. Ara ake ana te heitara o te motu i te tau 1975 i tana kī ake i tētahi uiuinga pouaka whakaata he tāne moe tāne tētahi mema Pāremata (kāore i whakaingoatia), ko ētahi anō he taharua. Ka kīia e te Kōti Pāremata he takahi mana pāremata ngā kōrero a Carmen mō ngā hara o ētahi o te pāremata me ā rātou mahi whakareka takahi i te ture, ka tonoa rāua ko te kaiuiui, a Spencer Jolly, kia tae ake ki tōna aroaro. Kauawhitia ana e Carmen te aro ake a te ao pāpāho me te iwi tūmatanui ki a ia, ka tae ake ki te Pāremata i runa waka roroa whai taraiwa, rangatira ana ōna kākahu pango, muia ana e tana apataki me te ao pāpāho. Ka kitea tōna hē ki te takahi mana pāremata, ka tuhi reta whakapāha atu ia, mutu tonu atu te take i konei.

Ka keka anō te ao pāpāho i te haere ū tautau haere a Carmen i ngā tauomaoma hōiho i Trentham i muri tata mai. Nāna tonu i whakarite kia pēnei, e mau kākahu ana i te taenga atu, ka wetekina tana tarapouahi huruhuru kia kitea mai ai ana ū. Kua oti kē te whakarite ringa kāmera, me te aha, ko Carmen tērā kei te whārangi tuatahi tonu o ngā nūpepa Rātapu.

I waenga o ngā tau 1970 ka tīmata te whakamahi a Carmen i tōna rongonui ki te tautoko i ētahi kaupapa hapori. Ka pānuitia e ia tana wātea ki te kōrero tūmatanui mō ngā kaupapa aroha, ka mutu, nā te nui o ngā uruparenga, ka 25 ngā huihuinga i whakaritea. Ko ētahi o ēnei ko tana hono atu ki a Whina Cooper i ngā tepe o Pāremata i te mutunga o te hīkoi mō te whenua i te tau 1975. I rite hoki tana noho hei kaiwhakawā mō te Miss New Zealand Drag Queen ki Tāmakimakaurau, e toru tāima anō ia e noho mai ana ki ngā Telethon mahi moni.

Ko te tūnga tūmatanui hautupua katoa a Carmen ko tana tū mō te tūranga kahika o Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara i te tau 1977, i runga i te whakahau a te kaitauhoko whare, a Bob Jones. Ko tana tūnga – ko tōna kōrero matarua nei ko te, ‘Get in behind!’ – i whakawhānui noa ake i ngā pae i whakaaetia mō te pōtitanga tōrangapū ā-rohe. Ko ētahi o ngā kaupapa here a Carmen ko te whakaroa ake i ngā haora e tuwhera ai te wāhi inuinu, ko te whakaheke i ngā tau e whakaaetia ai te inuinu, me te whakamana i te mahi kairau i raro i te ture. Ko ētahi atu ko te whakahou i te ture mō te hunga takāpui, kia kaua hoki e kīia te whakatahe he takahi i te ture. Pārekareka katoa ki a Carmen te aro nuitia ōna, rangatira ana ōna kākahu roroa i te roanga atu o ngā pōtitanga. I rite tonu tana huri haere i Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara me te pōwhirihiri ki te iwi mai i te tūru o muri o tana waka roroa. Ko Michael Fowler i toa i ngā pōtitanga; i tuawhā a Carmen, 1,686 ngā pōtitanga mōna, engari angitu ana tana whakakorikori i ngā mahi pōti.

I te paunga o te tau 1979, i te ekenga o te rīhi o te whare i reira Te Balcony, ka whakatau a Carmen kia katia ana pakihi katoa, ka hūnuku tūturu ai ki Poihākena. Whakahaeretia ana e ōna hoa tētahi pō poroporoaki whakairaira mōna ki te Majestic Cabaret i Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara, i āhua 300 te hunga i tae atu. Ka karaunatia a Carmen ko te Kuīni o Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara, ka kohaina ki a ia he korowai i whatua motuhaketia mōna.  

Tau tōmuri me ngā mahuetanga iho

I whai wāhi tonu a Carmen ki te takiwā rama whero o Kings Cross i Poihākena; i ōna wā i tū ia i tā te manuwhiri tū ki Les Girls me ētahi atu karapu, me tana hoki anō ki ngā mahi kairau ina āhei ia. I mau tonu ana here ki Aotearoa, me te rite tonu o tana pōwhiritia kia hoki mai hei tangata hau tōna rongo, hei whaea e kauanuanutia ana, ka noho ia hei manuwhiri ki te Mardi Gras o Tāmakimakaurau i te tau 1989, me tana tae atu ki te hui nui tuatahi o Aotearoa mō te irawhiti i te tīmatanga o ngā tau 2000.

I mau tonu ana hononga ki ngā mahi tautoko pāpori i Poihākena. I whakahaeretia e ia tētahi pokapū hapori iti, me tana āwhina atu i te hunga kāinga kore me te hunga noho whakarae. He kaitaunaki ia mō te ai haumaru, mō te mātauranga HIV/AIDS me ngā mōtika o te hunga LGBTIQ+. I te kauanuanutia ōna me tana noho hei mema kakama o te kapa haka o Te Rau Aroha ki Poihākena, ka mahi moni ia mā te hunga i raru ki Kings Cross.

I tohua a Carmen ko tētahi o te Diva Hall of Fame i te tau 1996, me te whakawhiwhia ōna ki te Hero (NZ) Lifetime Achievement Award i te tau 2003. I te 2002 ka tū ia ki te whakangahau ki te Taumāhekeheke Takatāpui o Poihākena – tētahi tauwhāinga o te ao mō te hākinakina me te ahurea mā ngā kaiwhakataetae hākinakina me te hunga toi LGBT. I te tau 2008 ka eke ia i tana kutarere hiko, he koha ki a ia nā te hapori o te rohe, ki mua tonu o te kahupapa taiopenga ‘Decade of the Divas’ i te Mardi Gras a te hunga tāne moe tāne me te hunga wahine moe wahine ki Poihākena. Ka mutu, haere ū tautau ana anō ia.  

I mate a Carmen ki Poihākena i te 15 o Tīhema 2011 i te hē o ngā tākihi, e 75 ōna tau. E haere tonu ana tāna i whakarere iho ai: ko Carmen kei ngā rama whakawhiti huarahi i Cuba Street i Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara, i whakatūria i te 2016 kia orua atu ai ki te huritau 30 o te Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986.

Ko te kōrero a Carmen mōna anō he 'tri-sexual' ia, he pai nōna ki te  ‘tarai i te aha noa iho’. 2 Ko te mātāpono o tana whānau kia waiho noa te tangata ki tāna i pai ai, i whakarite i a ia mō ōna rā ki te pei atu i te pae e whakaaetia ana, me te mahi i te mahi e ai ki ētahi, kāore e taea. Nā tana waiaro o te puta i te kāpata me te whakahī ki tōna āhua, i para te huarahi mō te kitea o te irawhiti e haere noa ana me ngā mōtika a ngā hunga LGBTIQ+ i Aotearoa me Ahitereiria.

Kupu tāpiri
  1. Carmen Rupe and Paul Martin. Carmen: my life: as told to Paul Martin. Auckland, 1988, p.69. Back
  2. Ibid, p.75. Back
Me pēnei te tohu i te whārangi:

Lynette Townsend. 'Rupe, Carmen Tione', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 2018. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, https://teara.govt.nz/mi/biographies/6r6/rupe-carmen-tione (accessed 17 October 2021)