Zenith Campbell (“Zena”)Age 21
11 Feb 2018
Wellington (New Zealand)
TDoR list ref: tgeu/11-Feb-2018/Zena Campbell
Zena was strangled by her boyfriend. Her body was found in a car in the central suburb of Aro Valley at about 1pm on Sunday 11th February. Paddy Jonathan Woods, 30, has been arrested and charged with her murder. He had met her on a dating website a couple of months before. Her aunt told the media that the family had comforted the killer after her death, not knowing police suspected he was responsible for killing her.
Zena had been turning her life around before she died, her aunt Carol Campbell said.
She had struggled with addiction, but had just gotten onto a methadone programme two weeks before her death. Campbell, who Zena lived with for more than five years as a child, said she had only ever known her as a boy, one she described as a “lovable ratbag” with a troubled past.
“[She] overcame a lot. [Her] life was a struggle. It was a struggle, especially, with ADHD. But [she] muddled through. [She] had a struggle with drugs, with injecting. [She] had just decided ‘that’s it, I’m going to get clean’, and he got on the methadone programme and two weeks later [she] was dead. “[She] was starting to become happy, starting to get [her] life together.”
Campbell hadn’t yet met with Zena since she began living as a woman, and is deeply sad she never will. She missed a birthday phone call from Zena on February 8. Zena was dead by February 11.
A candlelight vigil was held for Zena in Wellington on 20th March.
Organiser Bella Simpson said it was important to acknowledge Campbell’s death, “that we say her name and give our community an opportunity to mourn together and to come together and remind each other how beautiful our transwhanau are”.
“We’re not America where trans women are consistently getting murdered and everyone’s turning a blind eye. This is Wellington. “This is not something that we stand for. It’s not something that I’d say is within our values of who we are as a cultural, diverse city.”
Simpson said the vigil was also about moving forward and showing members of the transgender community they were supported and loved. “We’ve lost someone from our family, we’re going to come together and we’re going to take over some space and we’re going to hold that space for each other.”
Artwork commissioned for the vigil. Illustration / Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho Instagram @hurianakt.a
NZHerald and Otago Daily Times, 17.03.2018