Edward Connolly |

Hato Hone St John’s first drag queen will be joining colleagues from other emergency services in her first local Pride event.

After taking part in his second Auckland Pride Parade last month, Cantabrian Josh Collinson will be representing Hato Hone St John in Christchurch’s Pride Walk on Friday 10 March as Miss Shaniqua – his alter-ego for 10 years.

Now 27 years old, Josh supports his local Ashburton community as an emergency medical assistant when on duty but all communities when Miss Shaniqua.

“When I was 17, my drag mother gave me my drag name as she did my makeup: Miss Shaniqua. It means ‘a gift from God’.

“I suffered childhood trauma and was in a dark place in my life. That’s when I found out I could be a different person in drag. It was a gift to be someone for a small amount of time and helped me out of my depression as a teenager. Being Miss Shaniqua let me focus on making others laugh, which made me happy and took away all the hurt and pain I was going through at that moment.

“I now continue to do drag to help others forget what is happening in their day-to-day life and put a smile on their faces. I love helping people and seeing people happy. Drag allows me to do that alongside my day job.”

Josh has been with Hato Hone St John for two years – first as a volunteer, before becoming an emergency medical assistant and St John Youth leader.

“Every one of my colleagues has been very supportive. Hato Hone St John is definitely open-minded, which is very positive.

“Pride means so much to so many people. You don’t have to be LGBTQ+ to understand and support Pride. We don’t live in a black-and-white world. We live in a world of high-definition colour. It’s why my outfits are so colourful. They’re a source of pride for me.”




Notes to editor:

  • The ‘Pride Walk’ takes place on Cashel Mall (Christchurch CBD) at 5pm on Friday 10 March, from Ballantynes to the Bridge of Remembrance. Police, NZ Army, and the New Zealand Defence Force Army Band are set to join Hato Hone St John
  • Josh will be present at the event as Miss Shaniqua and is available for interviews and photos. Please contact the Hato Hone St John media team for Josh’s contact information
  • For further information, please contact media@stjohn.org.nz
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