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BGO reports: Knockout performances, food and rainbow everything

Sun 14 Feb 2016 In: Events View at Wayback View at NDHA

5.00PM: The most respectful and enthusiastic reception of the afternoon has been dished up to the Ahakoa Te Aha takataapui cultural group, their tight traditional performances wowed the crowd and were acknowledged by an impromptu haka in reply from within the main stage crowd. The long-awaited Annie Crummer is belting out high energy and sassy rock as the sun lowers. The longest queues are now for the drink and dance areas and for the ASB's special limited-edition rainbow eftpos cards. The stalls are doing a roaring trade still, especially a Pride/Ateed tent selling rainbow flags and other paraphernalia. Food stalls are still dishing up heaps of fruit lassis, Japanese octopus, Hawaiian pineapple, superfood smoothies and heaps more. Mis Ribena now reckons the crowd reached 15,000-strong but, honestly, how would she know??? Dogs, and there are heaps of those here today too, are getting their evening walks and surely the sound system can be heard in Manukau. The entertainment is running waaaay behind time, with a showcase from the new trans-musical People Like Us, Fine Fatale, headliner Samantha Jade, the irrepressible and happily inevitable Cindy of Samoa and several other acts still waiting in the wings. 4.30PM: Throughout what has been the afternoon's shortest political stage appearance the National Party MPs and Prime Minister John Key have been shouted down by a crowd which surged toward the main Big Gay Out stage booing and waving with thumbs down gestures. A significant source of the discontent appeared to be related to opposition to the TPPA trade treaty and it seemed some of the protesters were in the park to make their opposition to the treaty known rather than attend the BGO as a glbti picnic day. John Key spoke for less than 30 seconds, reiterating his line from previous BGOs that the party continues to support gay people. Ak Central MP Nikki Kaye's even shorter speech was drowned out completely. The National folk were sneaked up to the main stage using a non-public route outside the park security barriers and immediately after they'd said their piece they were spirited away via the same route with no opportunity for crowd interaction. Inspector Tracey Phillips has confirmed that a man was arrested in connection with Key's visit to the BGO but didn't have any further details to hand. It's understood through back-channels that it related to verbal abuse of the PM. Phillips says there has been only one other arrest: "A guy who was drinking too much, basically he was being a bit of an egg," she says. Otherwise the crowd has been well-behaved with only one dancing, and perhaps drunk, woman having to be restrained from trying to climb the barrier in front of the stage. As is usual at the BGO, as the afternoon turned into evening the music gets a little rockier and all-women band Valkyrie have been pounding the park with rock and rap beats. 3.30PM: Miss Ribena has taken to the stage as the next MC, claiming there are 10,000 people in the park. Does she really know? But Coyle Park is very busy with heaps of people surging around the main stage, the hospitality and dance tents and the market area. Sally Whitewoods of Queenstown is handing out leaflets for this year's GaySkiWeekQT and having a ball, no sign of those Aussie interlopers. The Labour politicians have had their 5 mins on stage, with leader Andrew Little asking the crowd to acknowledge the frayed nerves of Christchurch people after this afternoon's severe 5.7 magnitude earthquake. He repeated the Greens' earlier call for the government to get behind the NZAF's hope to eradicate HIV. "This country could wipe out HIV if he government had the political will," he said, adding that he looked forward to supporting gay community initiatives as the Government after the next election. The Mr Gay NZ contestants have been put through their question and answer section by Tamati Coffey and Medulla Oblongata, the answers were pretty repetitious. Annie Crummer is due to perform and the National Party is about to take the stage. Wild and suggestive behaviour is being captured on the giant kiss cam screen by the main stage. 2.30PM: The Bear Garden bar is doing a roaring trade, the gorgeous Chris Olwage has been spotted queueing at a health supplements tent (as if he needed them), Buckwheat has introduced the Mr Gay NZ contestants to the crowd and the GayNZ.com award for the biggest rainbow flag goes to the AUT tent. St John Ambulance staff say there have been no injury problems and the crowd is good-natured and, thanks to the semi-overcast skies, not over-heating. American international-level women's soccer player Lori Lindsey has been introduced on the main stage, she'll be a featured speaker at tomorrow's Proud to Play Youth Hui, as will Kiwi Olympic skater Blake Skjellerup. P2P organiser Craig Watson said it was important that New Zealand sports organisations paid more attention to wiping out homophobia in their sports codes. Labour Party leader Andrew Little is amongst the crowd and will speak later. The biggest queue at the BGO is people wanting to spin the prize wheel at the ASB Bank tent. Performers on the main stage have included Lady, Alex Farrel-Davy and Emily Kopp. 1.30PM: Greens co-leader Metiria Turei has urged the crowd to tell the government to change policies which she says are stopping the NZ AIDS Foundation from achieving its goal of eliminating HIV in New Zealand. She said TPPA will make access to "the right medications" more difficult. And she stressed her party's "proven commitment" to parliamentary activism for the right of glbti peoples' "dignity and human rights." Turei is present with fellow Greens MPs Kevin Hague and Jan Logie. The Drag Kings have performed and the crowd is swelling. Amongst the picnickers at the south end of the park are a loved-up couple of one-year's standing, Amanda Moir and Natasha Watts, with pooch Eddie (above). Hailing from Papatoetoe they're celebrating Valentine's Day as well at the BGO, enjoying meeting friends and looking forward to Cindy of Samoa's performance later in the day on the main stage. Whilst Aucklanders are in the absolute majority this afternoon contingents from Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton, Rotorua, Australia and Cambodia have been spotted. 12.30PM: The main stage has come alive at the Big Gay Out and under a hot Auckland sun stalls and food trucks are hawking their wares. Richard Ording has his arm painted in NZAF style by MAC cosmetics expert Jun Chen Unions, political parties, tertiary education providers and social services agencies have colourful stands and political leaders are expected to arrive and speak throughout the afternoon. Already Labour Party heavyweight and Auckland mayoral hopeful Phil Goff has arrived by motorcycle and is working the crowd. Current mayor Len Brown was scheduled to speak about now but has sent his apologies. Parking is at a premium, family groups are setting up picnic-style under pergolas and drag divas Anita Wiglet and Kita Mean are MCing the entertainment. The stage items began with a Maori welcome and an acknowledgement of all those glbti people who have died due to HIV and the tragedy of suicide. The hospitality tents are filling up and relaxed and chatty police are strolling the Pt Chevalier site. GayNZ.com will update you approximately hourly throughout the afternoon. GayNZ.com Daily News staff - 14th February 2016    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Sunday, 14th February 2016 - 12:13pm

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