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Tuesday 27 June 2017

Getting on with creating Auckland's LGBT Festival 2010

Posted in: Events
By Matt Akersten - 20th May 2009

Planning a new Auckland LGBT Festival: Kent Phillips
Born-and-bred Aucklander Kent Phillips doesn't want to see Auckland join the thinning ranks of major world cities that do not have some kind of LGBT Festival each year.

Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, and yes, even city of the future Hamilton has one – so let's get our act together Auckland!

Kent's name will be unfamiliar to many, but the 25-year-old brings several years of event experience with him, most recently working with the Langham Hotel last month to arrange Rainbow Youth's jubilant Dancing with the Stars final night party.

"The Hero Festival and Party in the early '90's were really something we could all be proud of," Kent says. But it's impossible to turn the clock back. It's not the '90's anymore and we need fresh thinking and exciting new ideas for events."

Since Auckland's public forum in March which effectively closed the Hero Festival, Kent says he's been throwing the idea about of setting up a community group of 5-8 people to begin organising a new festival. "I was advised to wait for a public meeting once Hero had been disbanded, however as Hero is being handled by lawyers, it is unclear to all parties as to how long this process could take," he explains, adding that he's been given the go-ahead by past Hero coordinators and several traditional LGBT event stakeholders around Auckland.

"With February only nine months away and Coyle Park being booked by the NZAF for mid-February 2010 (the usual Big Gay Day family picnic day), this does not leave much time to get started on planning for a successful festival Auckland can be proud of. With this in mind, there is no time like the present."


What might a new Festival look like? That's still up in the air, but Kent has some ideas. "It'll be a combination of new beginnings, new events, and the return of some favourites. Without giving too much away, the achievements of members in the GLBT Auckland community will be recognised in a returning event," he reveals.

"The festival will have an outlook of not for profit, the feel of a community event put together by the community and celebrating the past that gave us the chances we have today."

Chatting to, Kent threw around a few ideas he had for events, but says it's early days yet and that he would canvass support before plans advance. "I enjoy Gala dinners and Awards events. Something special that we haven't had before. And if we have a party, it doesn't necessarily have to be a dance party."

The as-yet unnamed Festival’s small organising party is now asking for expressions of interest from those in the community wishing to be involved. "There are many positions to fill to ensure the high calibre of events as asked for by the community," says Kent.

"A passion for events and a desire to do something new for Auckland is essential."

If you would like to express your interest, you can email with 'Organising Group' in the subject line, and include a brief profile on how you can help, by Friday 5 June 2009. "Please note that if you are not part of the organising group we will still need your help, all expressions will be kept and will be contacted when we require your expertise."

The organising party promise to keep up-to-date with the progress of the new festival, and if you'd like to sign up for updates in your email inbox, please email with 'Festival Updates' in the subject line to stay in the loop.

"I'm proud of who I am as a gay man in Auckland," says Kent. "I have a passion and a commitment to the community – and am in it for the long haul, to make Auckland's LGBT Festival a success."

Matt Akersten - 20th May 2009

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