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Thursday 10 November 2016

The Auckland Pride Parade Pt2

Posted in: Events
By Daily News staff - 21st February 2016

You can read Part One of our Daily News team's impressions of the Auckland Parade, gathered as they walked the entire route to soak up the atmosphere, here.

Air New Zealand, along with most of the corporate floats still looked more like a mobile billboard/branding exercise than an affirmation of sexual and gender diversity, but the frock made of enough oxygen masks to save a Dreamliner-full of gasping passengers was kind of campy, even draggy.

Given all the controversy, and the controversy about the controversy, about their appearing in the parade you'd think the Department of Corrections contingent would have stood out but somehow they didn't. And come to think of it, was it significant that the Police and Corrections Minister threw her lot in, and marched with, the Police and not Corrections? There's always a reason behind everything in politics.


The Pasefika Pride float is always a celebration of traditional Island cultures with an overlay of fa'afafine glam and this year was no exception. Tapa cloth couture, drumming, and gleaming coconut oil on bare chests... Polynesian magic.

Hunky surfers and farmers represented various aspects of life in the Raglan area and clearly they weren't happy with TPPA... their hand-painted sign was understated but clear.

At this point the No Pride In Prisons protest ground the parade to a halt, though blocks back from the action it wasn't immediately clear what was happening. The uncharitable, in retrospect, moaned about yet another Pride Pride being slow and gappy - but given the fracas happening way up front it wasn't surprising. But as we all waited it was interesting to note the crowd, three deep in places, was also three high occasionally too. The security guys were warning folks drinking on the footpath to take it back inside and a burger fuel mascot was working it's way through the crowd side of the barricades handing out leaflets.

We do hope the most wonderful looking couple, two senior-aged women from the Auckland Rainbow Community Church surrounded by red and white balloons and hearts, were an actual couple, they seemed just so right for each other!

The AIDS Remembrance float made its way down the route giving everyone pause for thought... so many gay and bi men dead, but already it seems a generation ago and is fading from memory. Let's never forget the personal, cultural and community catastrophe it really was at its deadliest height during the mid to late 1980s.

And a quick glance  at the feet of the National Party (plus ACT) contingent revealed that Nikki Kaye MP was making a strong and principled stand against the sensible footwear choices of her fellow marchers. And the booing which accompanied her leader's appearance at the Big Gay Out a week earlier was nowhere to be heard.

Body Positive marched with pride again, reminding us that there are several thousand men who have sex with men living with the disease. It's no fun having HIV in your life day after day, year after year, but these guys, and a few women too, were determined that the epidemic in our midst should not be invisible.

Biggest political party cheers of the parade were directed at the high-powered Labour group, including Jacinda Ardern, David Cunliffe, leader Andrew Little, Louisa Wall and Phil Goff.

We'll reflect on the final stages of the parade sometime tomorrow (Monday)! Daily News staff - 21st February 2016

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