What’s On: A Guide To Pride 2023

Sam Te Kani, who will perform at Auckland Pride Festival 2023. Photo / Supplied

An annual, month-long celebration of the rainbow community, and time to amplify important discussions and issues, this year’s Auckland Pride Festival has kicked off in Tāmaki Makaurau, albeit with a few rainchecks and reschedules. After a tumultuous couple of weeks, what better way to support the city’s queer, creative communities than by getting involved? There’s a dynamic mix of events on the schedule, so we’ve outlined a few to add to your calendar below.

All month: Te Tīmatanga

Billed as a “kaupapa of gratitude and exploration” Auckland Pride Festival’s Takatāpui offering, the rangatahi-led community hub Te Tīmatanga will, significantly, occupy the historic Albert Park Caretakers Cottage for the duration of its run, which includes free events, workshops and activations — like the Huarahi Toi public art display, in partnership with Britomart and the Viaduct — alongside an accessible online offering. The cottage will be open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays from 10am to 3pm (excluding February 18), as well as some weekend hours.

Albert Park Caretaker’s Cottage. Photo / Supplied
Albert Park Caretaker’s Cottage. Photo / Supplied

February 10-May 6: Sentiment of Flowers at Gus Fisher Gallery

There’s romance blossoming at Gus Fisher Gallery, with its latest exhibition The Sentiment of Flowers. The group show is a coming together of artists from Aotearoa and abroad — including Richard Orjis, Ayesha Green, Laura Duffy and more — all exploring the theme of queer ecologies and a non-binary interpretation of the natural world, timely for Pride month. On show is a special new commission, Cupid’s Valentine by Arapeta Ashton (Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Whanaunga, Ngāti Porou, Muriwhenua) which sees the artist create a contemporary Māori cloak and makawe takatāpui (wigs) to explore queer love through the evolution of traditional fibre practices. Arapeta will also be part of an artist talk, alongside Laura, on Saturday at 2pm; part of an events programme that also includes a screening of Water Makes Us Wet by Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens (also in the show) on February 25, a curator tour on March 11. The Sentiment of Flowers runs from February 10 to May 6 May at Gus Fisher Gallery, 74 Shortland Street, Auckland Central.

Arapeta, Tāne, Makawe Takatāpui, Wig, 2022. Courtesy of the artist. Photo / Gus Fisher Gallery
Arapeta, Tāne, Makawe Takatāpui, Wig, 2022. Courtesy of the artist. Photo / Gus Fisher Gallery

February 12-25: Samesame but Different

This literary festival is set to be a powerful platform for voices and dialogue this Pride. Taking place at Ellen Melville Centre and Old Government House, this year’s event looks forward. The schedule spans six days, and includes several panel events with likes of Courtney Sina Meredith, Gina Cole, Aroha Awarau, Paul Diamond and poet laureate Chris Tse, as well as the launch of Joanne Drayton’s new book The Queen’s Wife, and ticketed pop-poetry performance Show Ponies.

February 14-19: F.O.L.A - [AKL]

Taking place at Basement Theatre, the inaugural festival of live art is a standout part of the month’s activities. Inspired by the cycles of the sun and moon, the festival will present a vibrant mix of subversion, boundary pushing and creativity across 18 events and activations — including Surviving the Necropolis by Sam Te Kani, Sadboi from Panos Malactos and Elias Adam, and FAFSWAG Arts Collective Diaspora Rendered, curated by Tanu Gago. “The art brats are out to play,” reads the show notes, and play they will.


Sadly, due to the cyclone and flooding, the venue for F.O.L.A. – [AKL], Basement Theatre, was compromised and some of the festival’s shows have been cancelled.

Into the Well: Sounds From the Deep, A Rain Walk and SADBOI are being rescheduled, with details still to be confirmed, and you can still purchase tickets for these events.

Free events — HULLA GULLA Chaos Party, Liquid Light, Diaspora Rendered, Flea Pit, and Surviving the Necropolis — will be going ahead on Saturday February 18 with a one-day only line up of live art events.

If you’d like to support the festival financially, Basement Theatre has set up a donations drive, running until Monday February 20.

Friday February 17: FAFAGANDA

A not-to-be missed vogue event presented by Coven Aucoin, this showdown of ballroom talent promises to “serve, strut and spin DIP you into our worlds.” They’ll start serving from 8.30pm Friday at Raynham Park. Tickets from $30.

Out Now: Calvin Klein’s Feel Pride campaign

Not one, but three faces of influence that have all previously graced the covers of Viva appear in Calvin Klein’s new Feel Pride campaign: leading models Mana Mackay and Nathan McGuire, and singer-songwriter/actor Troy Sivan. Celebrating the LGBTQIA+ communities for Pride Month and beyond, we’re admiring the brand’s commitment to our rainbow communities, along with the fresh collection of limited-edition underwear fits, t-shirts, and cool denim separates. Also special is the addition of a capsule of artful tees and accessories created with First Nations artist Jake Simon, a proud Worimi Biripi man, Jake Simon has lived on Gadigal lands of the Eora Nation since 2018 and draws on his experience as inspiration. With each Pride garment sold, Calvin Klein Australia will donate $0.30 AUD to BlaQ Aboriginal Corporation, supporting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQIA+ community.

Troy Sivan in Calvin Klein’s Feel Pride campaign. Photo / Supplied
Troy Sivan in Calvin Klein’s Feel Pride campaign. Photo / Supplied

February 17: Little Gay In

As its name suggests, this event is a musical bonanza — albeit on a smaller scale. Taking place at community minded new music venue Big Fan and hosted by drag star Pinkie Promise, the Little Gay In line up includes Jason Parker, Hybrid Rose, Skye Hine, VÏKÆ and Katie-Lee. Friday 7.30pm. Tickets from $20.

Out Now: Burberry’s B:Mine collection

Coinciding with Valentine’s Day and Pride month, Burberry’s latest campaign, B:Mine, puts the spotlight on all the lovers out there, showcasing a celebration of intimacy and expressions of affection. What’s this all got to do with bags and accessories? Well, it’s the brand’s way of reaffirming its commitment to its customer base, particularly its support of the large LGBTQ+ customer base.

Burberry’s B:Mine campaign. Photo / Supplied
Burberry’s B:Mine campaign. Photo / Supplied

February 18: Pride March

An annual event that leads little introduction, show your support for the queer community at this year’s Pride March, which has committed to holding space, uplifting and amplifying voices of Aotearoa’s intersex community. Saturday 2pm Queen St.

February 20: Levi’s Pride Collection

The denim brand does a special collection for Pride every year, and has a long history of supporting LGBTQIA+ communities. For 2023, it’s posing the question ‘How do you show up?’ with a campaign featuring a global cast of faces, highlighting the versatility and self-expression of the collection, as well as how its stars are showing up for their cause. The brand is also making a USD$100,000 donation to Outright International, which works to advance queer rights around the world. Levi’s Pride collection will be available for purchase on Levis.co.nz and in selected Levi’s stores from Monday February 20.

Cake and Britt, co-founders of New York-based creative collective Girls Only, are two of the stars of Levi's 2023 Pride campaign. Photo / Liam Woods
Cake and Britt, co-founders of New York-based creative collective Girls Only, are two of the stars of Levi's 2023 Pride campaign. Photo / Liam Woods

February 24: Pride Pottery Workshop

Getting crafty is a great way to express yourself, and this Studio One Toi Tu workshop is a great way to get a feel for Pride. It’s running a couple of free two-hour sessions, 10am and 1pm, where you can make a bodily inspired vessel of your very own. 1 Hopetoun St.

February 24 & 25: Pride in the Square

Always buzzy central city local Aotea Square plays host to this two-day extravaganza of queer joy as part of its Summer in the Square programme by Auckland Live. Free event Pride in the Square brings together a talented swathe of interdisciplinary creatives. It all kicks off on Friday night, with the Caribbeanz Southern Stars Steel Band, BabyFreekk’s Drag Hour of Power and more musical talent. On Saturday there’s screenings of the Whakaata Māori documentary series Queer and Here, followed by a poetry showcase that includes Takunda Muzondiwa, Manaia Tuwhare-Hoani, Eric Soakai and more, and then South Auckland rock band Valkyrie take the stage.

March 12: Big Gay Out

With a new date (rescheduled due to weather) popular festival the Big Gay Out is returning to Point Chevalier’s Coyle Park once more, promising a fabulous and family friendly day of music, markets and — hopefully — sunshine. Biggayout.co.nz

Big Gay Out. Photo / Supplied
Big Gay Out. Photo / Supplied

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