27 Mar 2024

Gisborne's rainbow crossing restored after protest

8:40 pm on 27 March 2024
The rainbow pedestrian crossing on Gisborne's main street has been reinstated after it was painted over in protest by Destiny Church members.


Five people have been arrested after a group of protesters returned to Gisborne's rainbow crossing with paint cans this afternoon.

Gisborne's rainbow crossing had been repainted, after a protest group linked with Destiny Church covered it over in white in protest of a drag event.

The crossing on the city's main street was painted white on Monday night, with the group of church members stopping traffic to do so.

The council said it would be repainting it as soon as possible - and now, less than two days later, it has been.

More than 100 people gathered outside the town's library on Tuesday afternoon, where drag queen performers Erika and CoCo Flash hosted an R16 event which included storytelling, lip synching, singing and an interactive performance.

Protesters carried signs and chanted in protest of what they called the "sexualisation of children". Counter-protesters waved rainbow flags in solidarity for the performers and the LGBTQIA+ community.

Police said the protesters were back at the crossing at about 4pm and blocked the road.

The five people arrested had been preparing to commit a crime, they said.

The rainbow crossing was painted on 20 December 2021, championed by the Tairāwhiti Rainbow Collective.

Mayor Rehette Stoltz came in in vehement support of the event, the crossing, and the rainbow community.

"We recognise that not every programme will align with the personal values of every community member," she said on Tueday, "but we strive to maintain a balanced and inclusive calendar of events that serve the varied interests of our community as a whole."

"We accept that people hold different views however there is no place for hate or bigotry in Tai Rāwhiti."

She said the council would be working with the police to hold those responsible accountable and recoup the cost of the damage.

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