Thousands support gay pride parade

ADAM DUDDING
Last updated 18:32 16/02/2013
SEAN WILLIS/Fairfax NZ

Ponsonby Road was all glitter and glamour this afternoon as the Pride Parade hit Auckland

Auckland Pride Parade
Fairfax NZ Zoom
Auckland celebrates its first gay pride parade since 2001.

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Men in precarious heels, generously-girthed women on growling motorbikes and a showing from the Gay Wakeboarding Association – it could only be the return of Auckland’s Pride Parade.

Thousands of people lined Ponsonby Rd this afternoon to see the event which has been absent from the city since 2001.

In the sweltering sun dozens of groups walked, danced, rollerskated and, in one case, were borne in a Roman chariot, from Western Park to Three Lamps.

On Twitter, one person wrote: “All of the homosexuals in the world are in ponsonby right now. ALL OF THEM [sic].”

There were drag queens and dancers in body paint, a flatbed truck bearing a 30-piece choir, many rainbow flags and the occasional nipple tassel. But among them were some conservatively dressed folk too.

David Shearer and Jacinda Ardern led a red-shirted Labour Party contingent, and a group of Greens wheeled about on bicycles.

The final floats pushed the message for marriage equality. One was a giant cake bearing two brides and a child, and another was vintage car carrying two snogging bridegrooms.

But the biggest cheer of the day was reserved for the 30 or so members of the Defence Force.

For the first time, members of the NZDF’s peer support group Overwatch were given permission to parade in their uniforms, and they demonstrated their military training with the best-maintained formation marching of the day.

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