Paekākāriki about to get its queer on with 'world's shortest' gay pride parade

Pride in Paekākāriki organisers Pat McIntosh, Val Little, and Danielle Burns, with Bucko the "gayhound" outside the ...
​JOEL MAXWELL/STUFF

Pride in Paekākāriki organisers Pat McIntosh, Val Little, and Danielle Burns, with Bucko the "gayhound" outside the town's St Peter's Hall, which will be the end (and virtual beginning) of the Pride Parade.

There's more to provincial life than Santa parades and A&P shows.

Smalltown New Zealand can now add another event to its list of annual staples with Paekākāriki - a village of 1600 people on the Kapiti Coast - set to host its own queer pride festival.

The Paekākāriki Pride Festival on Labour Weekend will include an attempt at the world record for shortest pride parade - a 10-metre skip across the pedestrian crossing on the town's main drag.

The main drag of Paekākāriki is set for a rainbow invasion on Labour weekend. The pedestrian crossing at the far end of ...
JOHN NICHOLSON/STUFF

The main drag of Paekākāriki is set for a rainbow invasion on Labour weekend. The pedestrian crossing at the far end of the street will be the route for, potentially, the world's shortest gay pride parade.

Co-organiser Val Little said the Kāpiti Coast village fitted the pride theme well, with an open minded and politically aware community.

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Paekākāriki was not a big place, so any parade would never be very long, and during planning of the event it occurred to her there could be a record in the offing, she said.

Wellington's Pride Parade -
 the big city equivalent of Paekākāriki.
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Wellington's Pride Parade - the big city equivalent of Paekākāriki.

With no apparent record in existence for the shortest pride parade in history, an application was lodged with Guinness World Records to create a new record. The attempt is still awaiting confirmation by Guinness.

Little said the parade participants would travel along The Parade on the waterfront to Beach Rd's pedestrian crossing near St Peter's Hall, which would serve as the official parade route.

"We'd clock it from across the pedestrian crossing into the hall."

Somewhere over the rainbow, on the Kāpiti Coast, there is a new smalltown pride festival.
JOHN NICHOLSON/STUFF

Somewhere over the rainbow, on the Kāpiti Coast, there is a new smalltown pride festival.

The festival idea started with a rainbow dance in the village last year, she said. 

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"We just thought, let's do this every year. Let's have our own pride event in Paekākāriki.."

Parade organiser Danielle Burns said participants did not have to be queer. "It's just about support and a celebration".

The event already included floats, music and Paekākāriki School, she said.

Co-organiser Pat McIntosh said there was "a lot of lesbian-only dances, or guys-only dances" at the rainbow dance last year, but one of the best aspects was that it was open to everybody. The entire festival this year will be the same, she said.

Paekākāriki Pride will also celebrate the life of Wellingtonian Virginia Burns, who organised events for the LGBT community for more than a decade, and died from breast cancer in June, aged 39.

"Her vision was to have a inclusive, unified queer community ... she was on the door for us last year," Little said.

As for those who opposed the likes of the pride festival, Little had a simple message: "Get with the programme. Human rights are for everybody."

Details of the Rainbow in the Village Paekākāriki Pride Festival can be found on Facebook. Money raised will go to Outerspaces, a group helping queer and trans youth.​

 - Stuff

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