A group of Whangārei queer teens has formed a safe space to support each other in the face of constant bullying and harassment.
The Library Gays - made of, for, and by Whangārei teenagers - meet every Saturday to share stories, meet more interesting people they can relate to, and paint the town with rainbow colours.
However, there is one rule - stick to a group of four, at least, or you might get bullied just for walking the streets of Whangārei.
Phoebe Sephton started the group in May last year, and said there was still a lack of queer education and a lot of homophobia in the region.
"We repeatedly hear people yelling 'Burn the gays, kill the gays, 'Suicide Squad', the 'F' word' at us."
Sephton said whilst many older people complimented their dyed hair and sense of fashion, there were others who would harass them and give them death stares, without caring about their age.
"So we started walking in groups for the safety of all of us. There is a rule - if there are less than four people, we cancel the meet-up. It is just not safe.
"We have seen parents with young children moving the stroller to the other side of the road or swapping the toddler's hand when we walk past.
"They will have one glance at us and will change direction or cross the road.
"There is a huge lack of education here, especially among adults."
Twig Matiu, who's a part of the group, had a milkshake thrown at him last year.
"It was getting dark; I was just walking down the road, then someone yelled 'faggot' and threw a milkshake at me."
Matiu said they also had a lot of people screaming at them from their cars.
"I was riding my skateboard and they screamed at me from behind, making me fall over.
"Fortunately, I fell to the inside, because if I had fallen on the other side or was skating the other way, I could have been easily crushed on the highway."
The group was traumatised last year after a man with boxing gloves tried to fight with them when they sat at their usual spot.
Moss Marshall said they started freaking out when, after the group tried unsuccessfully to reason with him, the man put his gloves on.
"I box too, but not to a full-grown adult man.
"Then he started hitting the tree and we were all petrified."
The teens reflected that the lack of teaching around the pride community was one of the reasons behind the bullying, and "normalised" harassment.
"It should be part of becoming a teacher – learning about the pride community. It is inevitable you are going to have LGBTQ+ students in the class, whether they are out or not.
"They should be aware of that and use more gender-neutral terms in class."