Pride Whanganui Chair Christina Emery spills all the tea on what we can expect from Whanganui Pride 2023, running from Saturday, 4 to Saturday, 11 March.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE EVOLUTION OF WHANGANUI PRIDE WEEK OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS?
I can’t quite believe the evolution of Pride Week in Whanganui. Our first Pride in 2019 saw us run just two events in one day, and now, in 2023, we have 15 events over eight days. The reason we started so small is because we had no idea how the wider Whanganui community would react. Would we be supported? Would we be safe? We needn’t have worried.
Not only have we had incredible support from our local and national Rainbow community, but also from our wider local and national allies. The reason I think it has grown so rapidly is that we are a central location to catch all the smaller, more isolated communities around us – where being yourself is not always safe. Such as Manawatu, South Taranaki, Kapiti & Ruapehu District. We’ve also had people come to our Pride Week from as far away as Greymouth and Paihia.
WHY SHOULD EXPRESS READERS BE JOINING WHANGANUI PRIDE WEEK?
Take away the Pride Festival, and Whanganui already has an incredible, eclectic mix of people. Include Pride, and it just adds so much more flavour! We don’t delve into politics, we don’t try and compete with anyone – it’s done by the people for the people.
WHICH PRIDE EVENT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR?
I can’t pick just one! I love that we have an entire day dedicated to our Rangitahi (young people) so I can’t wait to launch the festival with our Youth Fest and Youth Ball. I similarly love our Long Lunch on the Dublin Street Bridge. But probably I am most looking forward to our Pride Walk. The feeling you get when you look across the Awa and see hundreds of Rainbow dressed people loudly and proudly walking their way around the bridges – is like no other feeling in the world. Seeing the young walk with the old, employers supporting their workers, families pushing their kids in strollers or parents representing their kids who aren’t in town – I get goosebumps just thinking about how amazing that event is to be a part of.
WHAT MAKES WHANGANUI’S QUEER COMMUNITY UNIQUE?
Our local community has the biggest heart and will do anything to help anyone. Being in a provincial town, resources and support is often limited – but what our local community doesn’t know or can’t do – isn’t worth knowing about. If you’re new to town, you’ll instantly find a buddy. If you haven’t been out in a while, there’s always someone to meet. If you’re struggling with your journey, there’s always support just a phone call away.
YOU MUST BE EXCITED ABOUT THE PRIDE PARTY – THE LINEUP IS EPIC. WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU TO END THE FESTIVAL WITH A BANG?
We are already counting down the days. This year we have a huge lineup including a 40-strong queer choir from Wellington, local gals Kerry Berry and Pinkie Promise, plus the diva of drag herself – Miss Ribena! How else would you end a Pride Week than with a massive celebration! Seeing all walks of life come together and celebrate without fear of judgement – who wouldn’t want that?!
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WHANGANUI PRIDE WEEK FESTIVAL INCLUDE:
Opening Saturday | 4 March 23
YOUTH FEST + PRIDE MARKETS – Majestic Square | 10am-2pm | FREE
Hosted by Erika + Coco Flash – this is a safe space for our Youth/ Rangatahi to hang out. Find out about support services available + pick up some awesome products made with PRIDE! Live entertainment, music and giveaways throughout the day.
PRIDE YOUTH BALL – Musicians Club | 7pm-11pm | $25
For ages 15-21. Hosted by Whanganui’s own Ardon England and featuring a line-up of Youth performers plus DJs.
Sunday | 5 March 23
LONG LUNCH – Dublin St Bridge | 11:45am | $50
Be waited on hand and foot for two glorious hours as you take in the beauty of your surroundings. Seated in pairs on the Dublin Street Bridge Footpath, catered by Mischief Cafe.
GENDER & ME – Community House | 5pm-7pm | $5
Join our guest speakers as we explore what role Gender has played in their lives.
Monday | 6 March 23
AUTHENTIC YOU EVENING – Women’s Network | 4pm-7pm | FREE
Browse quality second-hand clothing, learn tips from our make-up artists, and talk looks with hair stylists.
Tuesday | 7 March 23
GAMES NIGHT – Mad Loot Games | 4pm-8pm | FREE
Be introduced to the world of Dungeons & Dragons, or pull the family together for a round of Exploding Kittens. Beginner D&D sessions are at 4pm & 6pm. Pride Battle commences at 6pm.
Wednesday | 8 March 23
UKULELE ORCHESTRA – 64 St Hill Street | 6pm-7pm | Koha Entry
Spend an evening listening to the upbeat sounds of the Whanganui Ukulele Orchestra. Entry is by koha donation on the night. BYO nibbles + picnic blanket.
Closing Saturday | 11 March 23
PRIDE + HOPE WALK – River Markets | 10:45am | Koha
Dress loud, dress proud! We are hitting the streets and doing what we do best – having fun! Bring the family and join us on this annual hikoi around the bridges.
PRIDE PARTY – Springvale Stadium | 6:30pm | $25
The event of the week! Hosted by the one and only – Miss Ribena and featuring a 40-strong Queer Choir from Wellington – The Glamaphones!