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Parade of nations leaves bystanders stunned

Sat 12 Mar 2011 In: Out Games News View at NDHA

New Zealand athletes marching to Te Papa Onlookers have been stopped in their tracks on the Wellington waterfront as a queer parade of nations passed before them. Many people asked supporters and bystanders “excuse me what is this?” as glbt athletes proudly trod from Civic Square to Te Papa behind a troupe of samba musicians, chiefly on drums, from Wellington Batacuda. It was a sight to behold as the sportsmen and women marched in their team colours under the signs of their nations, with even a wedding party on a balcony and drinkers at Shed 22 Brewbar gathering to watch the procession. The massive Australian and New Zealand contingents have already sparked playful trans-Tasman bragging, with the competition between the two nations in the pool set to be a particularly tough-fought battle. There were also representatives of nations with far fewer competitors, such as Nepal, whose sign was proudly held aloft by runner Roshan Mahato who is also in Wellington for the Human Rights Conference which begins next week. Samba drummers led the parade Upon arrival at Te Papa the hundreds of athletes were greeted by museum marae manager Hema Taumara who filled the time as the crowd waited for Governor-General Anand Satyanand to arrive. “We are waiting for the GG to arrive at the back there,” she explained. “That’s the Governor General, well call him GG.” Other dignitaries at the powhiri and opening ceremony were representatives from the Dutch embassy and out US Ambassador David Huebner, who joined both USA and American Samoa during the parade. “You will get an experience of some sort,” Temara further explained to the foreigners. “Because the calling is quite traditional.” The mass of athletes was then invited up to the marae and called into the meeting house for the official opening ceremony, which was standing room only. Daily News staff - 12th March 2011

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Saturday, 12th March 2011 - 7:08pm

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