Aunty Dana’s Op Shop is named after our patron saint, Dana de Milo.
Dana was a wonderful woman, born in the 1940’s or 50’s (we won’t tell!), who passed away February 12th 2018, just 4 months after the shop was opened.
Dana was always active in supporting transgender communities, and donated many amazing outfits from her estate, instructing us to “get those young queens wearing my dresses!”.
You can watch a one minute clip of Dana talking about supporting each other “in the old days” on the Te Ara website.
Dana first moved to Wellington in the 1960’s, and took a job as a sex worker. She was one of the first trans women in Aotearoa to receive gender-affirming hormone treatments, and helped to pave the way for those of us who came later. She lived a colorful life and had many friends and loved ones all around the world.
Dana has been interviewed by Pride NZ, and you can listen to her interviews on their website.
She was also interviewed by historian and author Caren Wilton, for an oral history project looking at the history of sex work in Aotearoa, on which the book My body, my business is based.
She was an active member of the Māori Women’s Welfare League, and in her later years, she worked as a receptionist at the NZPC sex worker collective and at the DHDP needle exchange.
Dana was a wonderful woman, and we miss her. Rest in peace girl.