This year’s Pride Festival is in full swing, and this evening the Pride Parade will take over Auckland’s Ponsonby Road. In honour of the event, NZ On Screen’s Nicky Harrop looks back at some classic LGBT moments on screen.

New Zealand's LGBT screen history is undoubtedly one of pride, but not without some struggle. The journey to Shortland Street civil unions and mainstream exposure has been one of courage, stories shared, and celebration, creating some world-class film and television along the way.

1998 Hero Parade

Before the Pride Parade, there was the Hero Parade, a (nearly) annual event through the 1990s. This broadcast from 1998 shows highlights from the 70 floats, and footage of the estimated crowd of 200,000. Among those in attendance are Julian Clary and Shona Laing, while Colin Mathura-Jeffree channels his inner goddess atop a giant lotus flower.

Kylie on Queer Nation

Made by, for and about LGBT New Zealanders, magazine series Queer Nation screened for 11 seasons on TVNZ. This 1997 episode centres on a visit from Kylie Minogue, in town to promote her Impossible Princess album. Interview topics range from what it's like to snog Jason Donovan, to needing to wear heels at Sydney's Mardi Gras ("Most of the Kylies here are about seven feet tall!"), followed by an impromptu attempt at coming out of the closet (well, hotel wardrobe).

Desperate Remedies

Released in 1993, Desperate Remedies paired high-camp melodrama with a stellar cast, including Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Kevin Smith, Lisa Chappell and Cliff Curtis. The film, directed by Stewart Main and Peter Wells, was selected for Cannes and dubbed "a glittery triumph" by the Los Angeles Times.



Upon its 1995 release, local short Peach was selected for gay and lesbian film festivals in San Francisco, London and Honolulu. The film stars Lucy Lawless as a saucy tow truck driver, sharing a steamy scene or two with Tania Simon, and offering the sage advice "Watch it rot, or taste it when it's ripe."


Drag artist Carmen is considered a trailblazer by many in the NZ transgender community. Born Trevor Rupe in 1936, she went on to be a dancer, madam, café owner, and anti-discrimination activist - once summoned to appear before the Privileges Committee for suggesting some MPs were gay or bisexual. This documentary illustrates both key moments in Carmen's life, and a bygone era of gay culture in Aotearoa.

Georgie Girl

Georgina Beyer is among those who have cited Carmen as a role model. The first transgendered person in the world to be elected to national office, Beyer has a long history in NZ politics. Award-winning documentary Georgie Girl, charts her journey from sex worker to Member of Parliament.

You can see more LGBT on screen here, in NZ On Screen's LGBT Collection.