Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is proudly supporting 2023 Auckland Pride Festival with a series of free events designed to cater to the diversity of Rainbow audiences. These events will be held on 11 February and 19 February.

As a safe and inclusive place, Auckland Art Gallery welcomes all through its doors and is somewhere for everyone to celebrate the richness of the society. The Gallery’s involvement with Pride Month is part of its commitment to developing programmatic activity that celebrates Rainbow communities.

Pride Poetry Slam


On Saturday 11 February, JAFA Poetry, Auckland Pride and Auckland Art Gallery presented the first-ever Pride Poetry Slam in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Queer poets gathered from across Auckland at the Gallery to compete for a crown and bragging rights, as well as a cash prize to a charity of their choice. The free event was teeming with talent and spectators with ticket registrations reaching max capacity.
Shania Pablo and Ngaio Simmons equally took out the top prize donating their charity prize to Rainbow Path and Outline respectfully. In third place was Marcus Mackenzie, allocating their prize to the Bruce Burnett Foundation

Pride Poetry Slam Jessie Fenton - Courtesy of JAFA
Pride Poetry Slam Jessie Fenton – Courtesy of JAFA

Dan Goodwin, JAFA Poetry Slam board member said it was exceptionally moving to experience so many poets at the top of their game in one event.

‘These poets are always consistent and top-form, but to see them all break the boundaries of their own queer artistry was enlivening and uplifting for everyone in the room.’

‘There were countless moments, standing at the back of the auditorium, where we would catch the eyes of audience or community members with a look of amazement on their faces. That familiar “this was life changing” expression, open-mouthed and wide-eyed, that every artist dreams of. I’m so happy our queer poets got to bask in that feeling.’

Ngaio Simmons shared an excerpt from her poem:

“How do I explain

that I am proof

that with enough effort


can also have a chance

at becoming prodigal sons?”

Goodwin said JAFA Poetry has always intended to create a safe space for writers and poets to share their work, and to celebrate the art of poetry in an enthusiastic setting.

‘Creating dedicated spaces in partnership with new organisations, is as much a privilege as it is an opportunity.’

Ellie Lim, Programme Producer at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is thrilled by the success of the event and to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Auckland Pride and JAFA Poetry Slam.

‘Poetry is the voice of the people. Succinct messages of lived experience delivered in proud and powerful ways…It was pure and delicious magic.’

If you missed the Pride Poetry Slam, the Gallery has programmed two other Pride events, to be held on Sunday 19 February.

Queer Yarns

Rainbow flags with hands- Photo credit Meaghan Fisher
Rainbow flags with hands- Photo credit Meaghan Fisher

Pride flags are important symbols for the Queer community. That’s why in collaboration with Queer Yarns, the Gallery is hosting an event to crochet your own Rainbow or allies flag. All abilities welcome. Instructions and all necessary supplies will be provided. 

This event is supported by the Pride & Spark Empowerment Initiative.

Event details: Sunday 19 February, drop-in between 11am–4pm at Auckland Art Gallery Mezzanine. Free, allow 30 minutes for experienced crocheters or up to 3 hours if you have never picked up a hook.

GALS – Singing with PRIDE

GALS Auckland Rainbow Choir returns to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki for an uplifting afternoon concert. Now in its 30th year, the outstanding community choir will share its musical highlights in the Gallery.

GALS close up North Atrium - Photo credit Courtesy of GALS (1)
GALS close up North Atrium – Photo credit Courtesy of GALS

A performance by GALS never fails to fill the Gallery and lift the roof, so come early to get a good seat! It’s a great chance to celebrate community, voice, music, and choir. For more information about GALS, head to their website

Event details: Sunday 19 February, 2–3pm at Auckland Art Gallery North Atrium. Entry is free; however visitor capacity is limited with seating on a first-come-first-served basis.

These three events are programmed as part of the 2023 Auckland Pride Festival.