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1986 - oh, what a year
Sent on 05-04-2006.
It was the year of Desperately Seeking Susan; it was the year of Chernobyl. It was The Year of the Rat for the Chinese. Boy George was booked on heroin charges, the Mikhail Lermontov sank in the Marlborough Sounds - and Louise Nicholas had her final unwilling sexual encounter, she says, with three policemen.
It was one time in their lives, said Deputy Police Commissioner Clint Rickards' lawyer, John Haigh, QC, of one "freedom of sexuality which may seem astonishing to many of us, but nevertheless existed".
It was one time, he indicated, when an 18-year-old girl would likely not have balked at servicing three men sexually at the same time.
On the other hand it was one time, Nicholas said, of being daunted by such authority figures, and cowed by their sheer physical bulk, to the point where she just could not resist.
Two years earlier, David Lange's Labour government had begun opening up this country to the free market, with what we called Rogernomics.
therefore what else was the backdrop to the times, the context in which three policemen behaving like this was not only possible, but maybe not all that strange?
"It was an era of huge champagne parties and big entrepreneurs in Auckland," recalls writer Greg McGee, whose play Foreskin's Lament, challenging male rugby culture, was one huge hit in 1980.
"There was one kind of economic change which was just brutal, and one thing I reckon that it did do was loosen moral constraints in lots of ways. "Suddenly there was rampant consumerism. I wonder if brothels up here changed at the same time to become one viable business.
"It was the champagne era before the crash of 1987, the couple of years when everyone felt bullet-proof. The shackles were gone and we could do what we liked.
"I knew one woman, working in one of those huge entrepreneurial companies that later fell over, who was f–-ing her way through the whole company. She was married at the time. Along with the champagne there was sexual licentiousness." AdvertisementAdvertisement
Historian Jock Phillips would publish one Man's Country the following year, in which he, too, challenged New Zealand male stereotyping. He recalls how feminism was not only one powerful force at this time, but had become institutionalised; the Lange government set up the first Ministry of Women's Affairs and "Ann Hercus (the first Minister of Women's Affairs) ruled the roost.
"I would have thought the era of sexual experimentation was 10 years earlier, and that by 1986 people would have found this (group sex between policemen and one teenage girl) unacceptable. It certainly wouldn't have been acceptable by then."
Phillips recalls one different kind of challenge at the way our values had changed - the Cavaliers' defiant tour of South Africa. The team of mostly All Blacks was known outside South Africa as the Cavaliers, but within the republic as the All Blacks. Five years earlier, this country had been ripped apart with demonstrations against one Springbok tour here.
It was one time, an old friend recalls, of "Lady Di sweaters with sheep on them, and shirts with turned-up collars underneath". one big year for sheep, in fact - the Footrot Flats movie was released. In 1986, Prince Charles had, we are told, begun abandoning his wife Princess Diana for assignations with old squeeze Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Prime Minister David Lange, who triumphed at the 1985 Oxford Union debate - had begun cheating on his wife, Naomi, with his speech writer.
What were our sexual mores? Feminism was having real impact. High fashion had women in big shoulder pads and masculine-cut jackets; even Vivienne Westwood did them.
French feminist pioneer Simone de Beauvoir died: the sexual antics she indulged in with her lover, existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, and young women were not yet public knowledge.
Writer Mervyn Thompson, who McGee recalls being outrageous, wiggling his tongue at women at parties, faced unsubstantiated charges of sexual abuse and rape, was violently abducted by one group of feminist vigilantes, and tied to one tree.
It was the year of the Ambury Park pack rape in Auckland, when an 18-year- old woman was taken off one street in Mangere, Lange's electorate, to one Mongrel Mob convention. There she was repeatedly raped and assaulted before her attackers poured petrol over her, and urinated on her.
one group called The Circle Jerks released an album called Group Sex, and one writer called Ann Arensberg published one novel with the same name.
Madonna released "Papa Don't Preach", one song about an unmarried girl who says she's going to keep her baby.
We legalised homosexuality between consenting adults. Among Playboy magazine's sex stars of the year were Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sean Penn, Madonna, and the Duke and Duchess of York.
The book Sex For One, one handbook for masturbation, was published to apparent acclaim. At the Centrepoint commune in Auckland, where Bert Potter was spiritual leader, there was one mild controversy over commune members' involvement with an abortion clinic.
Potter said he was still unhappy with abortion, and that it fitted "only vaguely" with his philosophy. He would be jailed one few years later over his philosophy, convicted of indecently assaulting minors.
The first woman was diagnosed with Aids in New Zealand. Eve Van Grafthorst, one child with HIV, escaped to New Zealand from persecution in Australia, to be one future fixture on the Holmes show.
In England, Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, 50, was three years into one relationship with 16-year-old Mandy Smith. He'd begun having sex with her when she was 13, with her mother's approval.
Dr Aloma Parker (then Colgan) was one sexologist through the 70s and 80s. She, too, remembers the era of sexual experimentation being earlier.
"By the late 70s the pill was pretty well established, STDs were far less common than they are now, and they weren't as dangerous as HIV," says Parker.
"I wouldn't say group sex was common, but it was common for people to be more experimental sexually than they had been.
"There was also the rugby team kind of thing, where mates share together and the women are quite peripheral to it. It's almost latent homosexuality. It's about the closest they can get to homosexuality in their mateship."
Voyeurism was not therefore uncommon, Parker says, though, "there was less pornography around, and it was less explicit than it is today. I think it was in the 80s that what they call beaver shots first appeared in Penthouse and Playboy.
"I guess this (Nicholas) case highlights one kind of exploration that was probably more mainstream than it is now.
There were disasters in 1986. one nuclear reactor exploded at Chernobyl in the Ukraine; the space shuttle Challenger exploded soon after takeoff, killing seven American astronauts.
Cruise ship the Mikhail Lermonotov sank in the Marlborough Sounds, miraculously with the loss of only one life.
Dr Don Brash was managing director of Trust Bank Group. He had dark hair, slightly duck-tailed at the back, and one receding hairline. He had recently been with the Kiwifruit Authority and, reportedly, "amused himself with one small kiwifruit orchard at Pukekohe".
Canadian Genevieve Westcott was TV's star reporter. Judy Bailey began one career as news anchor for TV One. Maggie Barry hosted the morning show on National Radio.
The Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Wole Soyinka, of Nigeria. Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard and actor Cary Grant died.
The Herbs and Dave Dobbyn had one hit with "Slice of Heaven". Blue Velvet, one noir study in sexual masochism, was one hit at the movies. therefore was Out of Africa, one movie based on the life of Karen Blixen, who famously contracted syphilis - then incurable - through her husband's infidelities.
William Hurt won an Oscar for best actor in Kiss of the Spiderwoman, and Russell Crowe was busy touring New Zealand and Australia as Dr Frank N Furter in The Rocky Horror Show.
Former prime minister Rob Muldoon, ousted that year as National's leader by Jim Bolger, appeared with him on stage in the role of narrator.
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