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The (gay) call of the wild

Thu 17 Mar 2016 In: Our Communities View at Wayback View at NDHA

LGBTI rights activist, Desmond Smith decided to think outside of the box for this year’s Wellington Pride Festival | Tū whakahīhī e Te Whanganui-ā-Tara and treated the public to a gay tour of Wellington’s must-see eco-attraction, Zealandia. Not your average Pride event, Des’ tour was definitely a talking point, we asked Des; what exactly is a gay tour of Zealandia? Wearing a rainbow scarf to greet guests, Des says, “The tour started with a handout of snippets of the book Biological Exuberance (Animal Homosexuality and natural Diversity ) by Bruce Bagemihl. “An amazing large book with many animals and birds, so selected a few out of interest , Elephants Kangaroos etc and then as we went up the valley I mentioned the homosexual behaviour of some of birds within the sanctuary.” Starting with his usual mihi and a visit to the exhibition hall, Des shared with visitors the evolution of species and the arrival of humans to New Zealand, occasionally throwing in some gay expressions. From there the groups walked into the valley and Des talked about various plants and their structure as either male, female or intersex.   Des at Zealandia. Photo: Lauren Schaer “It seemed a good idea to increase variety of things to do in pride week,” says Des. He says there a gay cormorants, lesbian mallard ducks , gay black swans all to be found in Zealandia and he couldn’t go past the sex life of ferns. “What I Love about Zealandia, is it is about conservation, restoration and education,” he says. “The people you meet also volunteering or working are into this so you really do have a common bond.” Des says he received a lot of positive feedback following his Pride tours and his research for the event has only added to his repertoire. Incase you’re wondering, Des’ favourite bird is the tieke, he says there’s just something about it’s call and the way it moves. - 17th March 2016    


First published: Thursday, 17th March 2016 - 12:02pm

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