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Wednesday 08 October 2008

Tall 20-year-old takes Mr. Gay Auckland

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News Staff - 29th September 2008

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The competition was tough last night at Family nightclub for the Mr. Gay Auckland 2008 pageant – but after much discussion, the judging team decided towering 20-year-old Aku Hammond should take the title and prize package.

Winner: Aku Hammond

Hammond, who moved to Auckland's Devonport from Palmerston North earlier this year, impressed the judges with his confidence and ability to 'work the crowd' leading to loud applause and cheering for him from the audience.

"I can't get over it, it's so exciting," Hammond told backstage after the pageant. "It hasn't sunk in yet. Family is one of the first gay bars I've been to since I came out, and I'm so grateful to them for such a great experience."

Hammond, who works as a clothing store manager, looked handsome in the casualwear round, was dapper in his suit and tie in the formalwear round, and showed off well in the underwear round – but he got the biggest cheers in the swimwear round, when he appeared on stage wearing nothing but a big beach ball held at waist height.

Having a ball: Aku wows the crowd in the beachwear round

Hostess Miss Ribena said it was wonderful to see so many contestants enter this year – many of them were aged 18-22 and new to the gay scene. "Some of them were a little shy to start with, but they all did a wonderful job and were very well prepared.

"I know they all had fun and enjoyed it as much as we did. The judges made a great decision but there were many more who could have easily taken away the title."

Family bar owner Wayne Clark says he'll take all the contestants out for a big group dinner soon, and every contestant also receives Macpherson Men underwear and a bottle of 42Below vodka.

Hammond, who receives a prize package worth over $2,500, will make appearances alongside Family's drag hostesses at various gay events in the next few months, and will also fly on the Pink Flight to Sydney Mardi Gras next March.