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Wednesday 08 April 2009

Former Dot's bar owner joins NZAF staff

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News, HIV
By Daily News Staff - 23rd January 2009

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The former owner of much-missed Ponsonby Road bar Surrender Dorothy - and the alter ego of drag diva Onya Nees - has started work at the NZ AIDS Foundation.

New NZAF recruit: Robert Street

"It feels great joining the team at the NZAF – they are a great group of people who are all passionate about what they do," Robert Street tells

Street began as NZAF Executive Assistant this Monday, and says his newly-created role is designed to make access to Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier, Director HIV Prevention and Communications Simon Harger-Forde and Director Positive Health Services Eamonn Smythe easier.

"I'll be supporting the three directors by improving scheduling, correspondence and providing administrative support.

"Some people may remember me from my five years as the owner of Surrender Dorothy. I made some great friends and met lots of people in the community during those years, and after three years with Kim Crawford Wines as Logistics Manager, Export Manager and the last year as Executive Assistant to the fabulous Erica Crawford, it is great to be back serving the community again – only this time, I won't be serving them drinks," Street laughs.

He says he's maintained his connections with the LGBT communities over the last few years as the Co-founder and Co-host of Drag Bingo, co-hosted by Onya Nees. "It's a bi-monthly fundraiser held at Caluzzi to raise money for the Cartier Bereavement Trust which provides end-of-life care for people who lived with AIDS and have passed on."

Street sees his position with the NZAF as an opportunity to extend that commitment by supporting the mission of preventing the transmission of HIV and supporting those affected by HIV and AIDS to maximise their health and well-being.

"Growing up and coming out in the 80's - I can't believe I've admitted that! - I saw so many living and dying of AIDS, we lost so many great people, so I really believe in the NZAF's work – I hope that one day, we won't need the NZAF anymore.

"Of course, that would mean I'd have to look for another job… hmmm, maybe I could be New Zealand's next Top Model!"