Partner Charlie Haigh

Queer Places:
Seatoun, Wellington 6022 New Zealand

Robert Gant (April 2, 1854 - July 5, 1936), a Londoner, Gant emigrated to New Zealand in 1876, when he was 21, and settled in the small town of Masterton near Wellington. By profession he was a chemist, but his passions were amateur dramatics and photography. Charlie Haigh (1888-1941) was his longterm partner, they lived together for more than 25 years, until Gant’s death in 1936.

Robert Gant was born in Kent, England and moved to New Zealand in 1876. He lived in Wellington and was apprenticed to a chemist, H. Brittain, who had a business in Manners Street for about fifty years. He joined the local theatre where he specialised in female roles. He was a member of the Patchwork Company and was a valued member of the old Wellington Amateur Dramatic Club, with whom he made many appearances. In the 1880s Gant moved over to the Wairarapa where he continued his career as a chemist as well as acting in, and directing, local theatrical groups. After leaving the service of Brittain, Gant went into business on his own account in Greytown, and later retired to Seatoun, where he resided for ten years. From 1908 until Gant’s death in 1936, he had also shared the Seatoun residence with Charlie Haigh (1888-1941), a man 33 years his junior. Gant’s photographs and life have been documented in Chris Brickell’s 2012 book Manly Affections.

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