Under an almost full moon and with a hint of overnight rain in the air, almost two hundred people gathered at inner-city Okahu Bay for the ceremony, organised by the Mika Haka Foundation and held in association with Youthline.
Stevie Sikuea of Youthline spoke of New Zealand's high rates of youth suicide, particularly amongst glbti youth. She said that we need to reassure young people, and Maori youth in particular, that asking for help isn't a sign of weakness. "We must protect and foster the new generation," she said.
Pride co-chair Megan Cunningham-Adams reinforced the theme, highlighting that bullying of "kids who are a little bit different" must stop and she reminded the crowd that bullying also takes place in workplaces and homes.
Lavender balloons were released into the dawn sky in remembrance of glbti people lost due to suicide, HIV and other causes.
The first performance event of the Auckland Pride Festival will be the Gala opening show tomorrow evening featuring a sampling of performances scheduled throughout the next three weeks. While a number of visual art exhibitions are already open, others begin tomorrow, when there will also be film screenings. The iconic Big Gay Out picnic day at Coyle Park dominates Sunday activities. The coming three weeks will see a multitude of parties, forums, performances and other events celebrating and involving the lives and lifestyles of Auckland's glbti communities.
Find full event information here