Mangaweka artist Richard Aslett is the winner of a competition to design a Rainbow T-Shirt for police personnel.

Aslett, who owns the Yellow Church Gallery in Mangaweka, entered the competition after seeing it announced on the NZ Police Facebook page.

"I actually entered a few proposals, a Koru Rainbow, a 'Respect' design, inspired by Aretha Franklin, and some more formal styles," he said.

Aslett's winning design with squares of rainbow colours was selected by public vote as the winner out of five finalists.

The winning 2019 Police Rainbow T-Shirt design by Mangaweka Artist Richard Aslett.
The winning 2019 Police Rainbow T-Shirt design by Mangaweka Artist Richard Aslett.

The printed T-Shirts were intended for non-uniform police staff and family and friends to wear for the 2019 Pride Festivals.

"Around the same time, the Auckland Pride Board announced it would not allow police to march in uniform at their parade, insisting they wear T-shirts instead.

"It caused the defence forces and others to pull out and many groups suspended their funding," said Aslett.

"The whole scenario seemed a shame and I think most folks hope Auckland can sort it out for next year".

The T-shirts, with a small motif on the front and a large image across the back, were revealed by NZ Police diversity liaison officer, Inspector Tracy Phillips, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in attendance at Auckland's Big Gay Out festival.

Police officers were expected to march in full uniform in the Wellington Pride Parade which was scheduled for March 16.

The Wellington Pride Board announced the postponement of the parade after the mosque shootings in Christchurch, saying they did not wish to divert crucial emergency services away from their duty.

"We stand with all New Zealanders who are appalled by the attack on our liberty and we will be back; taller, stronger and with resolve."


The parade has now been rescheduled for May 11 and police staff, family and friends will be wearing the Aslett-designed T-shirts.

As the creator of the winning design, he has been invited to join the police contingent on their float on the parade route.

"Should be a lot of fun, I'm really looking forward to it," he says.

Right now he is busy hosting Artists Open Studio weekends at the Yellow Church Gallery.