What to expect from 'An evening with Chelsea Manning'

Now that Chelsea Manning has been granted a work visa to speak in New Zealand, the question is, what will she talk about?

Whether you classify her as a hero or traitor, there's no denying US whistleblower Chelsea Manning has plenty to talk about. She's due to speak at Auckland's Q Theatre on Saturday and at Wellington's Embassy Theatre on Sunday.

After a tumultuous application process, the former US Army intelligence analyst had her entry clearance confirmed on Wednesday, with tour promoter Think INC saying her visa was received from Immigration New Zealand overnight.

Ms Manning has been banned from entering Australia because of her previous convictions, and there were calls to block her from entering New Zealand too, with National MP Judith Collins labelling her a "traitor" for leaking classified information to Wikileaks.

Nevertheless, the transgender rights activist will be speaking to Kiwis this weekend at an event called 'An Evening With Chelsea Manning'.

Here's what to expect:

Life in prison

Ms Manning came to fame after she was sentenced to 35 years in prison and spent seven years behind bars for leaking military files to Wikileaks in 2010, which included sensitive information about US airstrikes in the Middle East.

According to a statement by Think INC, Ms Manning will be discussing her time in prison at her New Zealand speaking events.

At the time of the leaks, Ms Manning described the data as "one of the most significant documents of our time removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare".

Her sentence was commuted by former US President Barack Obama, and she was released from prison in May 2017 after a tumultuous incarceration period which included two suicide attempts and a hunger strike.

Ms Manning needed a special direction to apply for her New Zealand visa as she is subject to character provisions in section 15 of the Immigration Act 2009.

The assessment of Ms Manning noted that she has not reoffended since her release from prison and the likelihood of her offending while in New Zealand is considered low.

Transgender issues

Ms Manning is a trans-woman who, in a statement the day after her sentencing, said she had a female gender identity since childhood, and wanted to be known as Chelsea. That's when she said she wanted to begin hormone replacement therapy.

Ms Manning, born Bradley Manning, will be speaking about transgender issues at her speaking events, Think INC confirmed.

Encouraged to join the Army by her father while living as an openly gay man, Ms Manning began training for the Army in 2007. She was deployed to Iraq in 2009 where she went on to access the information, which she then leaked.

Running for Congress

Another fascinating aspect of Ms Manning's life is that she has run for office in the United States since her release from prison - another topic which she will discuss at her speaking events.

In January 2018, she announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the US Senate election in her home state of Maryland. But she only received 5.7 percent of the votes, compared to her opponent, Ben Cardin, who received 80.5 percent.

Despite being banned from entering Australia, Ms Manning spoke as scheduled at the Sydney Opera House, except that she appeared onscreen live via satellite from Los Angeles.

Ticket details for her New Zealand speaking events can be found here