Pride festival 'for everyone'

ABBIE NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 13/03/2014
Christchurch Pride Week
KIRK HARGREAVES/
CELEBRATE: Christchurch Pride Week organisers Henriette Nass, left, and Jill Stevens prepare for the opening night.

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Starting tonight, the city will be treated to a week of flamboyant carnivals and political debates as Christchurch Pride celebrates in style.

This is only the second Pride Week in Christchurch since the earthquakes, due to a lack of funding and available venues.

Chairwoman Henriette Nass said this week's events were all about promoting understanding and raising community awareness. Christchurch Pride was a festival for the whole community, regardless of sexual preference.

Tonight, the week would be launched with an outdoor screening of Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Pallet Pavilion. "This is a movie everyone loves," she said.

"Whether you're gay, straight or whatever. Everyone is welcome."

Nass said Mayor Lianne Dalziel, singer Anika Moa and Student Volunteer Army founder Sam Johnson would speak at the opening night.

The week of events included a family carnival, poetry readings, walking groups and tenpin bowling.

A political debate would also be held at the University of Canterbury about the state of gay rights in New Zealand.

Nass said the persecution of Ugandan gays was a stark comparison for those living in more forward-thinking countries.

The shortage of venues and funding meant the festival wouldn't be as big as some seen in other cities. It was hoped this year's event would draw enough interest to ensure next year's event would have a bigger budget.

There would be no Pride Parade this year as the city was not equipped for it, she said.

The gay community had diminished in Christchurch as people left the city for a more stable life or struggled with insurance and red-zone problems.

Part of the Pride Week celebrations would be helping people deal with the problems they faced, and helping them connect with others to encourage a better support network.

The closing night party would be held at the CPIT student association building on March 22.

Celebrations would include a DJ from Melbourne and local and international acts.

See chchpride.com

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- The Press

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