Thousands of people lined Ponsonby Road tonight for the third and largest Auckland Pride Parade.

The parade is seen as the high point of the Auckland Pride Festival and was the first year police staff were given permission to march in uniform.

They were led by Assistant Police Commissioner Alan Boreham, riding police horse Captain, and followed the Defence Force's Overwatch float.

Policeman Matthew Putt, 22, was one of around 70 officers who marched in the parade.


Being able to march in uniform was "just another step forward for police in general," Putt said.

"Not a lot of people here are gay. It's really just about valuing diversity and supporting it."

He said he had never had a problem being openly gay in the police.

"It's probably been better for me just in terms of breaking down barriers.

"I've never found that it's affected me negatively at all."

Putt said he also marched last year, in a t-shirt.

This year's parade theme was Gods & Monsters and featured 58 floats led by the Dykes on Bikes.

The "divine procession" began at Western Park and travelled the length of Ponsonby Rd, finishing at Three Lamps.

The Dykes on Bikes contingent were led by veteran parade attendee and Pride Festival board member Julie Swift on her Honda CBR 600.

"We've got nine this year, which is our biggest yet.

"We've got three scooters, two 250s, a Harley Davidson and a Honda Shadow."

Swift said she was a member during the parade's Hero iteration 10 years ago and founded the Dykes on Bikes in Auckland's Pride Parade.

The parade for her was about "being gay and being able to come out and enjoy it with the community".

"It's just mind blowing.

"The times have changed so the number of floats in the parade have increased."

The Rotorua Chamber of Pride float paid homage to the tale Hatupatu and the Birdwoman - who was played by Rotorua local and TV personality Tamati Coffey.

Untitec's float featured 'music god' Elton John, while another paid homage to New Zealand-Australian drag artist Carmen Rupe who passed away in 2011 and transgender youth worker Mama Tere Strickland who died in 2012.

The Green Party's float featured MP Jan Logie dressed as goddess of the rainbow Uenuku, while fellow MP Kevin Kague dressed as god of the forest Tane.

National MPs Nikki kaye and Maggie Barry also took part.

Other floats showcased gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, takatapui, fa'afafine, intersex and queer staff and their supporters from Air New Zealand, Corrections, radio station ZM, Auckland Council and Waiheke Island residents.

Labour MPs Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern described the Labour float as "more of a tricycle than a float" but said it would led by Marriage Amendment Bill champion Louisa Wall.

Robertson said he was proud to be a gay MP and progress for gay rights was exemplified by the fact that 30 years ago homosexuality was illegal, while now parades where held to celebrate such diversity.

The parade largely went off without a hitch.

The only disruption to the parade was a vocal group of three who protested the police contingent.

Protestors disrupt the 2015 Pride Parade

Protester Tim Lamusse said police had a history of targeting queer communities, "particularly in the 60s, 70s and 80s, they would turn up to gay clubs, make everyone come outside and shame them in front of everybody".

The protest was poorly received by the crowd, which responded with calls of "you're ruining the parade!".

Lamusse said police never apologised for their past prejudices and "they continue to beat up queer kids".

One of the protesters was arrested and later treated by St John staff for injuries she suffered during the arrest.