Panel-beater's Pride Parade float

CATHERINE HEALY
Last updated 12:08 14/02/2013

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Peter Davey has always loved the vibrant nightlife on K Road.

"Me and my partner would go out and end up in the gay bars and always had a lot of fun."

The 54-year-old heterosexual grandfather of two is a panel-beater, so his skill working with metal and fibreglass came in handy when he started making outfits to wear to clubs.

Once his creative talent was unleashed there was no stopping him, and the costumes became more and more elaborate. These days his Mt Wellington home is full of them.

Each one takes about 300 hours and a lot of money to complete, but Davey would never sell them.

"No-one would ever appreciate the amount of time that goes into them. So they just get stored in a cupboard or under the bed.

"It's easy enough to design a sculpture to hang on the wall, but making something to fit someone takes time because everyone is different. It has to look good and be practical."

Davey will have a float in the Auckland Pride parade with a group of straight and gay friends on February 16. Until then his free time will be taken up with putting the finishing touches on his creations.

His eight-year-old granddaughter will probably be involved too.

"She loves it when we put her in little costumes."

Davey is pleased the parade is back this year as part of the Auckland Pride Festival that runs from February 8 to 23.

"Auckland needs this sort of thing - a bit of fun and excitement.

"When they had the last one we just put some costumes on and jumped in - we weren't really supposed to be there. But it was great."

He's been helping out in the gay community for about 10 years with decorations and costumes for events, because it's a good opportunity to show off his work.

"It's always much appreciated," he says.

"My panel-beating mates used to give me a bit of a hard time about it but they're just so used to me now."

The Auckland Pride Parade begins at 4pm this Saturday and runs the length of Ponsonby Rd.

It is free for spectators to attend.

See aucklandpridefestival.org.nz for more information.

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