Pride parade loud, proud – and short
‘‘It was just way beyond our expectations.’’
The Parade in Paeka¯ka¯riki was lit up on a rainy afternoon on Saturday as 200 rainbow-clad people marched for queer pride.
It was an impressive turnout for a town of only 1600 people, and with the official parade only lasting the distance across a 10-metre pedestrian crossing on the town’s main drag, the organisers are hoping to lodge an application with the Guinness World Records to claim the title of world’s shortest pride parade.
If they are successful, coorganiser Val Little said there were plans to lobby the council to turn the pedestrian crossing on Beach Rd permanently rainbow coloured. Little said she was thrilled with the turnout.
‘‘It was just way beyond our expectations, it was an incredibly, heart-warming, beautiful moment,’’ she said. ‘‘It was intergenerational, it was interracial, it was everything.’’
The parade was part of the Rainbow in the Village Paeka¯ka¯riki Pride Festival, which started on Friday with drinks at a local hotel, and will end with a screening of the movie Pride on Sunday afternoon.
The warm-up to the official parade began at Paeka¯ka¯riki Memorial Hall and travelled down The Parade, up Beach Rd, and ended at St Peter’s Hall.
The festival was dedicated to Virginia Rose Burns, an LGBT events organiser and campaigner who spent years raising awareness.
Despite the growing acceptance, Little said there were still young people bullied at schools, and adults who could not come out in their workplaces.
‘‘There’s still a long way to go, but I think the model we have in our community is that we celebrate our pride rather than being beaten down by that.’’
Many of the marchers wore rainbow hats knitted by a local woman.