Wellington Pride Festival has today announced that next year’s Pride celebration will be postponed due to the ongoing community outbreak of COVID-19 in Aotearoa.
The 2022 festival will now be planned for September, six months after the Festival was originally scheduled to run in March.
Wellington Pride Festival co-chairs Vivian Lyngdoh (Khasi, Bengali) and Tahlia Aupapa-Martin (Ngāti Maniapoto, Kāti Māmoe, Kai Tahu, me te Vaimaanga, Titikaveka ki Rarotonga) say that the decision to postpone will mean a more equitable and safe Pride Festival for attendees.
“We’re yet to see vaccine equity across vulnerable groups, and for this reason, we’re delaying Pride until later in 2022. Due to inadequacies in the vaccine rollout, vaccination rates for Māori are disproportionately low compared to the rest of the population,” says Aupapa-Martin.
Wellington Pride Co-Chairs: Tahlia Aupapa-Martin & Vivian Lyngdoh
“Delaying the Festival wasn’t an easy decision, nor was it one we made lightly. If Pride had gone ahead in March using vaccine certificates, we would be excluding Māori and takatāpui, and potentially endangering our community.”
Last year, over 7,000 people attended Wellington Pride’s Out in the City event at the Michael Fowler Centre. The current community outbreak of COVID-19 in Aotearoa means that large events are potential risks in spreader events for the virus.
“The safety and wellbeing of our communities and whānau is the priority,” says Aupapa-Martin.
“Wellington Pride Festival will take place when we are confident that the vaccination rates are at a level where people can enjoy the festival safely and experience pride, joy and mauri ora.”
Lyngdoh says the postponement means there is a better chance for Wellington Pride Festival to run smoothly and without restrictions.
“Although we’re used to seeing Pride Festivals happen in March, holding the Pride Festival in September offers more security for attendees, performers, venues, stallholders, and the wider community,” they say.
“We want the rainbow community to experience the best Pride Festival we can offer in 2022.”
“For us, Pride is about creating a safe, affirming celebration for the rainbow community in Te Whanganui-a-Tara,” they say.
“The kaupapa of Wellington Pride is to uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the mana of marginalised communities. This decision is about putting their wellbeing first.”