20 Jan 2022

Auckland's Rainbow Parade cancelled due to Omicron risk

12:51 pm on 20 January 2022

Auckland's Rainbow Parade has been cancelled, with organisers citing the potential health risk of Omicron cases in the community.

Rainbow Pride Auckland has held two parades down Ponsonby Road.

Rainbow Pride Auckland has held two parades down Ponsonby Road. Photo: Facebook / Rainbow Pride Auckland

Organised by Rainbow Pride Auckland, the parade runs separately to the Auckland Pride Festival, which holds its own march each year.

Rainbow Pride Auckland was formed after a decision by Auckland Pride Festival to ask police not to walk in its parade in uniform sparked a split in festival supporters.

Auckland Pride Festival yesterday said it was constantly reviewing the status of its festival, however if there was to be an outbreak of Omicron in the community, the festival would not go ahead.

Rainbow Pride Auckland had hoped to hold a motorised parade this year, after holding walking parades down Ponsonby Road for the past two years alongside the Ponsonby Street Festival.

"Months of planning goes into being able to deliver an event for Auckland and the rainbow communities and while we're disappointed, health and safety is paramount for everyone participating and supporting the parade," event manager Shaughan Woodcock said.

Co-chairs Trevor Easton and Matt Bagshaw said it was important organisers showed support and practice safety during a time of vulnerability.

"Considering the 'case of when, not if' there was an Omicron outbreak, we believe that we need to give our partners joining the parade enough notice before incurring cost and unnecessary work. Whilst we don't have a crystal ball - we are taking a proactive step here based on the information we have to hand today."

The Rainbow Parade was scheduled to be held on 19 February.

Yesterday, one of the largest events during Auckland's pride month, Big Gay Out, was cancelled. Organisers said safety and equity were at the heart of the decision.

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