Drag brunches, pool parties and marches with "glamaphones" are some of the events to look forward to over the next two weeks as the capital turns rainbow for the Wellington Pride Festival.
In spite of the uncertainty of Covid alert levels in 2021, the event will host more than 80 events this month, following on from last year's record-breaking festival.
The event has been on the city's calendar since the first Newtown Lesbian and Gay Fair in 1986, which was organised as part of the campaign for the Homosexual Law Reform Bill, which passed later that year.
The full schedule of events caters to all ages and interests, but here are some of the festival's flagship affairs to put in your calendar.
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Saturday March 13
The festival kicks off at 7pm on Saturday with He Tangata, the opening gala at the Wellington Opera House and a first for the Wellington Pride Festival. Described as a cross-section between queer and indigenous culture, He Tangata is an unveiling of takatāpuitanga: a search for the forgotten taonga of Te Ao Māori. As it recreates the lives of takatāpui through dance, the choreography explores themes of creation, acceptance, death and remembrance. Tickets to the all-ages event are $36 and can be found on Moshtix.
Sunday March 14
For those needing a pick-me-up after a big Saturday night, a drag brunch at Eva Beva features a special menu and entertainment. Hosted by New Zealand drag king Hugo Grrrl, the brunch kicks off at midday, with tickets available for $40 from Eventbrite. The brunch will also take place every month throughout the year.
Later in the day, Out in the Pool party is an event exclusively open to transgender, gender diverse and non-binary people and their friends. Hosted at Thorndon pool from 7–9, the evening of swimming, music and food costs only the regular pool entry, and attendees can pay at the door.
Saturday March 20
An annual event for younger members of the Queer community, the Youth Ball on March 20 is an event run by youth, for youth in the Hunter Lounge of Victoria University. The ball offers a safe and diverse space for people aged 13–18 who don't conform to gender or sexuality norms, and may have felt unwelcome at usual school dances. The theme Intergalactic encourages attendees to get creative in celebrating their identity. Tickets are available through Eventbrite, with an option to "pay if forward" to sponsor a ticket for a young person to attend.
Saturday March 27
The festival's final day kicks off with the annual Pride Hīkoi, where rainbow youth march alongside Māori wardens and glamaphones through Wellington's streets. Assembling at 9am at Frank Kitts Park, the community will march to the Michael Fowler Centre for the opening pōwhiri of Out in the City. The Hīkoi is also wheelchair-accessible.
Formally known as Out in the Park, Out in the City was the newest reincarnation of one of the festival's most beloved events. A free day out, Out in the City encompasses dance, drag, music and stalls, running from 11-5 at Frank Kitts Park.