Hamilton Pride Week Festival is in full motion throughout the city with hundreds of people coming together to celebrate the diverse LGBTQIA and queer communities in the Hamilton and Waikato area.

The good thing is the week isn't over yet and the party is definitely still going.
Hamilton Pride Incorporated, the group responsible for co-ordinating the festival, is celebrating its 10th anniversary and the theme of the week has been '10 years on, Finding our History'.

Festivities kicked off with a Pride Preview in Garden Place and an opening birthday party last Saturday that marked the beginning of week-long events and activities.

Hamilton Pride Week chairperson Rhiannon Bond says she is really proud that the group has thrived for 10 years.


"We're a relatively small community group so for us to make it to 10 years is very special, and a testament to the hard work people have put in over the years," said Bond.

The group was started in 2008 by Geoff Rua'ine who called a hui to address the problem of increasing transmission rates of HIV in Hamilton, which was approaching crisis point at the time.

It was decided a major barrier to addressing the problem was the lack of visibility of the LGBTQIA community. From this hui, the idea for a festival and Hamilton Pride Incorporated was born.

While the group was started because of growing concerns around HIV transmission, the focus has grown significantly. Today the Hamilton Pride community is all about bringing people together to bring to light the conversations and issues that matter.

"When you're a part of a marginalised group it can be difficult to meet people with similar experiences and have discussions," said Bond.

"This group is about people being out and proud and also talking about those issues that matter to us and we are still struggling with."

The biggest event of the week is happening tonight which sees the group bringing back a favourite drag competition.

For the first time in years the group will again be hosting its very own version of the old Mr Gay and Miss Fountain City Waikato pageant.


Moving with the times though, the pageant is now a gender neutral competition and is titled as the Mx Fountain City pageant which will cater to all gender identities.

"The pageant is a way that we can embrace our past but we've also decided to modernise it as we are moving into a period where the LGBTQIA community is recognising both gender and sexuality are on a spectrum," said Bond.

The festival continues right throughout the weekend and activities and events include a symposium on gender and sexuality diversity, a lip sync competition, a masquerade youth ball, a picnic in the park and it all finishes up with Pink Drinks at the Cook St Social on Sunday night.