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Pride Parade: Live updates

Sat 16 Feb 2013 In: Events View at NDHA Daily News reporters and photographers in the Glamstand and embedded in the parade are reporting live throughout this afternoon as the parade builds to a climax this evening. And the parade has opened with glitter cannons!!! (Hint: Scroll to the bottom of the page and work your way up to see our posted updates in time order!) 5.00PM: With the rhythmic thumping of music, a flash of glitter and sequins and the sway of the last rainbow coloured balloons the first Pride Parade has passed by. Ponsonby Road is partially open to traffic and the crowd is wending its way home. Mayor Len Brown reckons the official estimate is 30,000 watched the parade but it looked and felt like a whole lot more than that. Spectators are left with memories of drag queens on Segways, body painted women, Queens in Bambinas, lesbian mothers and beaming children, Egyptian goddesses, brutish minotaurs and happy cheering people which will remain for a long time. As will the image of am uncomprehending Asian lady, unaware the parade was on and, unable to cross the road for over an hour, had to stand and watch hundreds of cavorting homosexuals file by. Lol. The street cleaners are doing their thing and the after-parties beckon, especially a do at Caluzzi for those who put time and effort into making the parade a reality. It's been quite a day. 4.40PM: Applause that swelled into a standing ovation has greeted the uniformed gay members of the army, navy and airforce as they marched down Ponsonby Road. Muscled marching boys have been one of the highlights of the parade and one of the most colourful floats has been the Love Your Condom float from the NZ AIDS Foundation's Get It On initiative. The Marriage Equality float featuring same-sex couples has roused the crowd and a dignified lone marcher bearing a placard of trans goddess Carmen Rupe have touched the crowd. The Family float seems to have everyone in it... drag queens, Polynesian princesses, Brazilian dancers and statuesque drag queens. 4.20pm:  A full choir singing You'll Never Walk Alone, glistening oiled and wet bodies of the Gay Wakeboard Association and a Keith Haring-inspired float of HIV Positive gay and bi men have passed by. The crowd is cheering and occasionally screaming with delight and there are wild waves and air kisses bouncing backwards from parade participants and spectators as they recognise each other. 4.00PM: Bubbles, balloons and a riot of coloured floats and bodies are marching down Ponsonby Road. Themes include baroque Boadiceas, a romanesque bachanalia, and in your face gay youth activism. Parade entries from gay church groups and political parties mingle with musclebears and polka-dotted drag divas. Labour leader David Shearer is on the Labour float. 3.57PM: "We've brought the light and the sun back to this city," Auckland Mayor Len Brown has added. "This is a historic occasion." 3.55PM: "We have the heart of our community back again," says Gresham Bradley - Pride Festival Co-Chair. 3.50PM: The VIPs are now cutting ribbons, flanked by members of the lead float carrying rainbow flags. The length of Ponsonby Rd is lined both sides with people of all ages and, presumably, sexualities. 3.40PM: Maryan Street tells “It’s been a long time coming but it’s wonderful to be out here, proud and colourful, in the streets of Auckland. Congratulations to the Mayor and council of Auckland, this is just truly wonderful.” 3.30PM: A sneak preview of the Parade line-up shows there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony (soon) outside the GlamStand involving the aforementioned VIPs (National MPs Nikki Kaye and Paul Hutchison will also take part and various civic dignitaries). The opening float will be based on the Parade’s theme of One Community, and will carry VIPs along the route. It will be followed by a NZ Body Art Showcase group and Bear New Zealand. Rainbow Youth, UniQ the Charlotte Museum Trust and OUTLine are among the community groups taking part, as well as the Campaign for Marriage Equality. K Rd’s Family Bar will finish things off with a float involving a bus.   3.25PM: Queerlesque performers are heading onto the VIP stage for a performance, as some of the VIP guests arrive. Green MP Kevin Hague is sporting a green singlet and Labour MP Maryan Street is sporting a rainbow lei. Marriage Equality MP Louisa Wall and US Ambassador David Hueber have also arrived. As has Mayor Len Brown - in chains even! 3.20PM: Just confirmed: the rainbow lights will be on Auckland Museum until Thursday night!!! 3.00PM: The street is getting busier and busier ahead of the parade. The GlamStand and VIP area are in full party mode, with MC Steven Oates warming up the punters. Edwina Thorne and Pollyfilla have performed on a special stage. Restaurants and cafes are selling food innn stalls outside. In the float assembly areaq marching boys, muscle men, lavender dykes, body painted beauties and volunteers from community organisations are making last minute preparations. 1.44PM: Ponsonby Road is completely closed to traffic and people are starting to circle the side streets looking for parking. There are plenty of parks available at the Cross St Car Park, just off K' Rd, which is just a 10 minute walk to Ponsonby Rd. At the Crummer St float assembly area, garlands of rainbow balloons are bobbing in a gentle breeze. 12.30PM: It's warm and bright and occasionally sunny on Ponsonby Road. Barriers are everywhere and side streets are blocked off, though the main thoroughfare of Ponsonby Road itself is still open to through-traffic. In Western Park facilities such as the Glamstand, for which there are still a few seats available, and the media centre have spring up. Men and women in flouro vests are everywhere and a remarkable number of specialists in crowd control, traffic management and other even t specialties are working hard to get things ready. In the side streets around Crummer Road, the parade assembly point, more and more floats are arriving, mostly pre-fabbed and just needing their components to be hoisted or slid into position. The Dot's Family float looks to be a visual overload which is what we would hope for. The Outline Float is a hive of activity as hundreds of pink balloons are blown up by glbti people and their kids. The Charlotte Museum has commandeered the golden chariot seen on stage at the Gala and is otherwise about as lavender as it is possible to get. Daily News staff - 16th February 2013    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Saturday, 16th February 2013 - 12:53pm

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