It's Auckland Pride, a month-long celebration of Tāmaki Makaurau’s diverse LGBTQ+ and rainbow communities. With a calendar of events throughout February, the festival offers everything from vogue balls to movie screenings, art exhibitions to a queer-focused literary festival.
Singularly and as a whole, each event and the wider festival are reminders of all that the queer community bring to the city - as well as the challenges the community continues to face today (looking at you Judith Collins and Simon Bridges).
Co-chair of Auckland Pride and multi-disciplinary designer Kaan Hiini shares some of his favourite local queer businesses - to support this month and beyond.
A queer collective with a mission to provide a local, safe, and informative space for gender-affirming practices. After running into difficulties sourcing affordable products for Aotearoa, they set out to create an Aotearoa run and owned one-stop-shop for gender-affirming and queer-centric products, for queers run by queers. They also have an excellent range of queer lit to browse, and a huge range of Pride Merch, accessories and clothing to choose from.
I can't help but live/scream/support this unapologetic plus size fashion brand. Their shoots are instantly iconic (featuring the wonderful Tangaroa Paul), and their kaupapa of decolonising our bodies is something I can fully get behind. I also love the work they're doing with FATFEB, calling for Aotearoa "to destigmatise the fat experience, confront the intersectional systems of fatphobia, and divest from the perceived morality of fat."
Capping off a month of celebrations, this year Auckland Pride Festival closes with the fabulous combo of the Pride March and Pride Party. The introduction of the Auckland Pride March and the open invitation to all queer communities to participate was a huge shift for the festival. From my experience, it's such a beautiful energy, feeling this support and community, to see this mass of people walking alongside you, smiling, singing chanting is a truly special experience. A huge part of the March and Party experience includes waving signs, banners, T-shirts and flags. Loyola is a locally owned and operated supplier of queer apparel, flags and gifts and provides a great range to help prep for the march and party.
These markets provide plenty of opportunities to support queer creatives. Grab your Pride flags, outfits and merch for the festival, March and Party, with many of the stalls selling handmade and lovingly crafted work. Many of the stallholders are active on Instagram so you can check out their wares before the market. I love Radish Dad's flags, I'm obsessed with Creepy Cuties lace and chain chokers and harnesses, Sybs Supplies candles give all the relaxation vibes, Tempests Corner has the cutest earrings.
An institution, and a haven of calm, this queer-owned and with a reliable queer selection to choose from.
Zines are such a huge part of our queer history, reflecting our creativity, ambitions and desire to challenge the status quo, and take control of our own narratives. These pop-up Zine collectives regularly present a wide array of beautiful zines to peruse and enjoy, often featuring many of our best queer illustrators, artists, poets and writers, and mediations on queer identities in a contemporary setting, featuring designers and illustrators.
Moana Fresh in Auckland's Avondale represents and stocks over 20 Pacific and Maori artists with a goal to make collecting and supporting local art and artists affordable and accessible. Their shop includes so many beautiful works by queer creatives like Sione Monu, Manuha'apai Vaeatangitau, Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho. It's honestly a danger for my savings.
William Wright sprung up during lockdown in 2020, started and run by a local queer couple. Their drop for Auckland Pride Month includes a collection of socks integrating the colours of the progress Pride Flag, with part proceeds from the sale of each pair going towards supporting the work of RainbowYOUTH.
Where would we be without our op shops - how else am I going to get fierce fashion for the Vogue Balls? Karangahape Rd has so many but I've had most of my success with Tatty's, and their fabulous range, and if I happen to be nearby one of their stores I often find myself browsing their racks.
I feel like it'd be rude not to hype our young queer club nights - these nights are energetic, youthful and joyous, an incubator for queer talent, I'm probably too old to attend now but love love love everything about it.