Auckland Pride kicked off this week and there is so much going on all over the city, from Māngere Arts Centre to Takapuna Beach, with online and interactive events in between.
From literary to sporting events, parades to picnics, film and debates, makeup classes and mechanics tutorials, stand-up comedy and of course a pool party, this month-long celebration has more than 200 events to choose from. Here are just some of the highlights in the weeks ahead.
The Samesame But Different Literary Festival is the only of its kind in Australasia. It runs next week at the Ellen Melville Centre in Freyberg Place in the city. There are poetry, panels and playwrights to enjoy and writing workshops. Go to samesamebutdifferent.co.nz to see the schedule and register.
From February 15-19, Atamira Dance Company will be inviting us behind the scenes of their creative process. This Māori dance company will be working live onsite at the Auckland Art Gallery. It's free to attend - there'll be dance classes, talks with the choreographers, and live rehearsals. aucklandartgallery.com
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For the next two Sundays, learn how to apply your makeup like a pro with drag queen Medulla Oblongata. The classes are free - just register and head to Onehunga Whānau Day next Sunday, or the Ellen Melville Centre the Sunday after. Learn all the tricks of stage makeup, and pick up some tips on how to perform your best lip-synch.
On Saturday, February 13, join the Herstory History walking tour of K Road presented by the Charlotte Museum in New Lynn, which works to preserve lesbian history. Register online at aucklandpride.org.nz
On Sunday 14, the Ending HIV Big Gay Out in Coyle Park is always a riot. This year, the event kicks off at midday - expect music, food, competitions and performances. More than 10,000 people are expected, so register at biggayout.co.nz for your (free) ticket. Parking is a nightmare down there on busy days, so skip the car and catch the Big Gay Bus from K Road and Britomart from 11.30 till 3pm. Or join the Ride with Pride, and cycle from the Auckland War Memorial Museum, where the group will meet at 11am.
The Auckland Pride Festival runs until February 28. See aucklandpride.org.nz for more details.