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Television (Full Length) – 1989

In more repressed times, Carmen was one of NZ's most colourful and controversial figures. Geoff Steven's doco traces the life story of the transgender icon who was born Trevor Rupe in Taumarunui in 1936 and went on to be a dancer, sex worker, madam, cafe owner — and one of the few non-MPs to appear before the Privileges Committee. Steven shines a light on a bygone era of gay culture but avoids the temptation to focus on the seedy — opting, instead, for extended fantasy sequences (featuring Neil Gudsell aka Mika) to illustrate key moments in Carmen's life.

She used to come down Cuba Street looking like a Spanish galleon in full flight. Carmen always remained the most exotic thing in Wellington.
– Artist Graham Smith

Key Cast & Crew

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Geoff Steven

Director, Producer

Generic Profile image for Mika (Neil Gudsell)

Mika (Neil Gudsell)


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Maureen Price


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Chrissy Stevens


Generic Profile image for Ricca Lam

Ricca Lam


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Ned Ngatai


See all 14 credits


Music by Dalvanius