The New Zealand AIDS Foundation have announced that their annual BIG GAY OUT for 2022 has been cancelled due to concerns around “the safety of the communities and organisations” that attend the event. 

The free event, which attracts 15,000 to 20,000 people, has become one of the ket events in Auckland Pride, however with developments around Covid-19 in Aotearoa, the NZAF say they “don’t feel it’s safe to deliver the event with Aotearoa about to enter what experts predict to be, a very difficult time for New Zealanders and our public health system.⁠“

“Above all, NZAF is a public health organisation, and we exist to promote and preserve the public health of our communities, this means the Ending HIV Big Gay Out shares these same goals,” explains the NZAF. 

“With the level of disruption seen overseas by the rapid spread of omicron and knowing the role that large and outdoor gatherings have played in recent outbreaks, we feel it was a necessary decision. Just this week, the Prime Minister said that we should assume that omicron is in the community ’at any time’ and that people should ‘prepare now,’” the organisation adds.

Regarding the cancellation, the NZAF says that as the event attracts families with small children and the massive efforts to ensure Māori and Pasifika communities feel welcome at the event, there was “little room to justify proceeding when we placed equity at the heart of this decision.⁠“

“Our team is, of course, extremely disappointed. The Ending HIV Big Gay Out takes considerable capacity to deliver, with many people involved in putting on an incredible event each year. We acknowledge the disappointment that will be felt by all those involved as well as all those that were planning to attend⁠.”

The NZAF says that anyone who has already registered for bus tickets or donated towards Big Gay Out should have received an email with further information about refunds.