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BGO: Politicians, police and happy faces

Wed 11 Feb 2004 In: New Zealand Daily News

The presence of the Prime Minister and gay MPs, police recruiting on site and “happy faces” are aspects which the organisers of the Weekend's Ansell Big Gay Out event say made all the work worthwhile. An estimated 10,000 people attended the Auckland Hero Festival event which was hosted by the NZ AIDS Foundation. Prime Minister Helen Clark spoke to the crowd at 2.30pm, emphasising the upcomming introduction into Parliament of the civil union bill and her support for the GLBT community. Designed as a family picnic and entertainment day, co-organiser Jonathan Smith says he was thrilled by the number of families attending and the “happy faces everywhere.” Amongst the stalls and marquees was one for the NZ Police force, staffed by oficers recruiting for the force in line with a policy of attracting more officers from minority groups, including racial and sexual minorities. The officers were seen regularly circulating through the crowd chatting with people. Smith says the crowd was a “true mix of people from the GLBT communities and our families both straight and queer… enjoying themselves in a safe and friendly environment. The BGO host organisation, the NZ AIDS Foundation, says it is very pleased with the event as a whole.”It is an important contribution to the vitality and wellbeing of our communities, says spokesperson Kevin Baker. He says the NZAF is “proud” to sponsor the Ansell Big Gay Out as part of the Hero Festival.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 11th February 2004 - 12:00pm

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