top of page
 KATAVICH -Ante Mate (Tony)    (B) 11.04.35 (D) 27.12.13

KATAVICH, Ante Mate (Tony). Peacefully on 27th December 2013 at St Patrick's Home and Hospital, Epsom, aged 78 years.

Loved son of the late Minnetta and George Katavich. Loved brother of George (deceased), Leonie (deceased), Beverley and Shirley, brother-in-law to Margaret. Beloved uncle to George, Diane, Carol, George, Guy, Suzanne, and Fiona. Great uncle to Lisa, Emily, Alexander, Billy, Stevie, Luke, Ryan, Matthew, Bridget, Cameron, Heather, Jesse, Milinda, Grace, Kayla, Hunter, Keira, Dijanne, and Benjamin.

A service will be held at Purewa All Saints Chapel (enter from St Johns Rd, Meadowbank) on Tuesday 31st December at 10.30am prior to cremation.

KATAVICH, Tony. A very private person in his professional and personal life. He was renowned, along with his late partner John, and the inimitable Brett Shepherd, in New Zealand's gay history, from the 1986 Law Reform Bill to the Out Empire . His generous donations helped fund the social changes we all enjoy so much today. I will miss Tony, I will now miss them all. R.I.P. Tony. With Love and Respect from Stephen Barbarich.

Published in The New Zealand Herald on Dec. 30, 2013


Major gay figure Tony Katavich buried today


Posted in: New Zealand Daily News By Daily News staff - 31st December 2013


One of the gay communities' historically most influential figures, businessman Tony Katavich, has died, bringing to a close one of the most colourful and dominant partnerships gay New Zealand has ever known.

Katavich (78) had been unwell, fighting cancer, in recent years and had at times rallied, but grew progressively weaker. In June last year he lost his partner, in life and in business, John Kiddie.

Katavich, Kiddie and the flamboyant Brett Sheppard formed a business grouping in the 1970s which saw them create a series of gay-focused businesses including a national magazine, saunas, nightclubs, a travel agency and gay male-oriented adult shops in the main centres.


Sheppard was a highly visible campaigner for Law Reform in the mid-1980's but behind the scenes Katavich funded many expenses associated with the long and at times arduous campaign which ultimately say the law criminalising sexual relations between gay men in New Zealand struck down.Tony Katavich was farewelled this morning at Auckland's Purewa All Saints Chapel. Daily News will publish more details as they become available.Tony Katavich: 11 April 1935 - 27 December 2013If you would like to pay tribute to Tony Katavich, please email


Obituary: Tony Katavich, 1935-2013

Posted in: Hall of Fame  Gay NZ
By Jay Bennie - 4th January 2014



Ante (Tony) Mate Katavich was born in Auckland on April 11th, 1935 to George and Minetta Katavich.

The family lived in what was still a semi-residential and semi-commercial downtown enclave on the site where the TVNZ headquarters building now stands. The adjacent billiard parlour was off grounds to the children of the staunchly Catholic Katavich family but the surviving girls, Beverly and Shirley remember a community served by small businesses such as fruiterers and liberally sprinkled with names ending in -ich. The family background was Dalmation and that ethnic and cultural heritage would remain a strong aspect of their entire lives.


The family was not wealthy, nor even especially financially comfortable, but the sisters don't remember ever feeling they were doing without.

Tony grew up an intelligent, articulate and sharp-witted young man with a slight athletic bent which saw him involved in harriers (running) with his friends. He loved the theatre and music and these would play an important part of his life. He also loved wrestling, which he described as "fine theatre."

bottom of page