About 5000 protesters left Wellington's Civic Square this morning on a Destiny Church-organised march against proposed legislation giving gay relationships legal recognition.
The number was well below the estimated 10,000 protesters signalled by the church last week.
Two counter-protests organised by Victoria University's UniQ gay group and the Against Conservative Fundamentalism group planned to reach Parliament around the same time as the church group.
The church group is protesting the Civil Union and Relationships (Statutory References) bills aimed at removing discrimination from the law based on marital status and sexual orientation.
Richard Lewis, leader of the church's political party, Destiny NZ, maintains the bills would undermine family values.
Police have warned motorists to stay away from the route of the marchers along Lambton Quay to Parliament grounds.
Marchers, led by a group of Maori warriors, continually chanted "Enough is enough".
A woman selling black Destiny Church T-shirts said she had run out of stock.
There were many schoolchildren and babies in prams in the crowd. One mother, Claire Story, with a five-month-old baby, said she felt compelled to take part in the rally.
"I'm just really here to support families and to support life."
She was against the Civil Union Bill. "I just really believe in the sanctity of marriage between a husband and a wife."
Associate Justice Minister David Benson-Pope, who is piloting the bills through Parliament, has criticised the church for having children participate at a similar rally in Auckland on August 7.
Another protester Joseph Kotuku, 67, from Auckland, said homosexuality was immoral and gays should not be allowed to marry.
He was confident the bill would not go ahead.
"We're positive about this message. It's for the nation, it's for the next generation."
A youth Destiny Church band from Otara, South Auckland, entertained and pumped up the crowd before the departure from Civic Square.
Herald Feature: Civil Unions