Our big, lit­tle gay pa­rade

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE - JOEL MAXWELL

There’s more to provin­cial life than Santa pa­rades and A&P shows.

Small-town New Zealand can now add an­other event to its list of an­nual sta­ples with Paeka¯ka¯riki - a vil­lage of 1600 peo­ple - set to host its own queer pride fes­ti­val.

The Rain­bow in the Vil­lage Paeka¯ka¯riki Pride Fes­ti­val on Labour Week­end will in­clude an at­tempt at the world record for short­est pride pa­rade - a 10-me­tre skip across the pedes­trian cross­ing on the town’s main drag.

Co-or­gan­iser Val Lit­tle said the Ka¯piti Coast vil­lage fit­ted the pride theme well, with an open minded and po­lit­i­cally aware com­mu­nity.

Paeka¯ka¯riki was not a big place, so any pa­rade would never be very long, and dur­ing plan­ning of the event it oc­curred to her there could be a record in the off­ing, she said.

With no ap­par­ent record in ex­is­tence for the short­est pride pa­rade in his­tory, an ap­pli­ca­tion was lodged with Guin­ness World Records to cre­ate a new record as part of the fes­ti­val. The at­tempt is still await­ing con­fir­ma­tion by Guin­ness.

Lit­tle said the pa­rade par­tic­i­pants would travel along The Pa­rade on the water­front to Beach Rd’s pedes­trian cross­ing near St Peter’s Hall, which would serve as the of­fi­cial pa­rade route.

‘‘We’d clock it from across the pedes­trian cross­ing into the hall.’’

The fes­ti­val idea started with a rain­bow dance in the vil­lage last year, she said.

‘‘We just thought, let’s do this ev­ery year. Let’s have our own pride event in Paeka¯ka¯riki.

‘‘So we’ve been plan­ning it since last year.’’

Pa­rade or­gan­iser Danielle Burns said par­tic­i­pants did not have to be queer. ’’It’s just about sup­port and a cel­e­bra­tion’’.

The event al­ready in­cluded floats, mu­sic and Paeka¯ka¯riki School, she said.

Co-or­gan­iser Pat McIn­tosh said there was ‘‘a lot of les­bianonly dances, or guys-only dances’’ at the rain­bow dance last year, but one of the best as­pects was that it was open to ev­ery­body. The en­tire fes­ti­val this year will be the same, she said.

Paeka¯ka¯riki Pride will also cel­e­brate the life of Welling­to­nian Vir­ginia Burns, who or­gan­ised events for the LGBT com­mu­nity for more than a decade, and died from breast can­cer in June, aged 39.

‘‘Her vi­sion was to have a in­clu­sive, uni­fied queer com­mu­nity ... she was on the door for us last year,’’ Lit­tle said.

As for those who op­posed the likes of the pride fes­ti­val, Lit­tle had a sim­ple mes­sage: ‘‘Get with the pro­gramme. Hu­man rights are for ev­ery­body.’’

De­tails of the Rain­bow in the Vil­lage Paeka¯ka¯riki Pride Fes­ti­val can be found on Face­book.

Money raised will go to Outerspaces, a group help­ing queer and trans youth.

ROSS GIBLIN/FAIR­FAX NZ JOEL MAXWELL

Pride in Paeka¯ka¯riki or­gan­is­ers Pat McIn­tosh, Val Lit­tle, and Danielle Burns, with Bucko the ‘‘gay­hound’’ out­side the town’s St Peter’s Hall, which will be the end (and vir­tual be­gin­ning) of the Pride Pa­rade.

Welling­ton’s Pride Pa­rade - the big city equiv­a­lent of Paeka¯ka¯riki.

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