Article Title:Marching towards February
Author or Credit:Jacqui Stanford
Published on:12th December 2014 - 05:57 pm
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Story ID:16176
Text:Taki (right) with husband Shane at the 2014 Parade. February's Auckland Pride Parade is on track for a record number of entries. The event's Director Richard Taki has been out and about meeting some of those planning their floats and says a Tamati Coffey-led Rotorua entry and looming history-making march by police are just a couple of the works in progress which have him buzzing. Taki lives in Melbourne, but is now in Auckland getting ready for the Parade on Ponsonby Rd on 21 February. He's no stranger to running events, but says obviously having run his first Pride Parade this year has made things smoother, in planning for 2015. “It's all about polishing it now,” he says. “Working with what didn't work, that needed improving.” Taki's already acknowledged the timing between floats wasn't quite right in 2014, which didn't help with the gaps which emerged (nor did a medical emergency at the event start). Next year he says there'll also be a concerted effort to ensure the instructions at the set-up area are clearly understood. One of the other things he wants to keep working on is advising community groups on ways they can lift the standard of their Parade entries. “It does cost a lot for them to put a float together,” he says. “But also, one of my main aims is lifting the standard – because they can, and it doesn't always cost a lot of money.” The garment in 2014's winning Parade entry was painstakingly made. Picture by Adam Baines. More than a month out from registrations closing, confirmed entries are already nearly double what they were this time last year, at 59. Taki advises anyone who hasn't filled out their forms “better hurry up! It's gonna be a chocka-block parade.” He gushes that there are “many”, in fact “many, many, many” entries he is excited about, including one Tamati Coffey is organising from Rotorua, in an effort to mobilise lgbti locals. “One of their concerns has been youth not really feeling like they want to be part of something that's gay. And reading into that, it's that they're just not feeling safe in their environment. But they are quite interested in coming to the ‘big smoke' to partake in our festival, because there's a sense that they will be safe and it will be ok. What they take back to their home town is another story, but at least it's an outlet.” The police are set to make history by marching in full uniform for the first time, something which has happened under a new Police Commissioner who has made it clear he is pro-diversity. Taki says the contingent will also be bigger, and sounds very inspiring. “I'm sure it will be a bit of a moment for our audience on the day. But they are bringing quite an interesting and mixed group.” See: Police allowed to march in Pride in uniform Taki says Parade's marching team also has something special and non-traditional in the works, paying homage to the Aztecs. It's not yet clear if the Israeli Embassy, which was met by protestors on the parade route this year, will ask to march in 2015. It hasn't registered so far, and its public relations team is yet to respond to a question from on whether it will. Taki says the Parade entry rules are clear – quite simply, if you are in the community, or a supporter of the community, you can take part, but must communicate a clear, supportive and positive message relating to LGBTTIF people and entries must not be discriminatory, homophobic, racist or sexist. “We will accept anyone who adheres to those rules. But they haven't, as yet, made a submission to march,” Taki says. The NZDF entry was a crowd favourite this year. While the team is growing, Taki still needs volunteers. He had 100 this year and is hoping for around 130 next time. “The stationary marshals really get the best view of the whole parade!” he promises. Volunteer here As for just what that view might be, Taki says his gut feeling is “it will be inspirational, with a very Pacific feel, a higher standard and larger parade”. Key Auckland Pride Festival dates: The Auckland Pride Gala Q Theatre, Queen Street Saturday 7 February, 8pm LYC Big Gay Out Coyle Park, Point Chevalier Sunday 8 February, midday  Bear New Zealand Week Sunday 8 – Sunday 15 February Heroic Gardens Festival Saturday 14 – Sunday 15 February Auckland Pride Parade Ponsonby Road Saturday 21 February, 7.30pm PROUD Party Victoria Park Market Complex Saturday 28 February, 9pm   Jacqui Stanford - 12th December 2014    
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