In 2020, the Wellington International Pride Parade (WIPP) was New Zealand’s biggest rainbow event. Drawing 50,000 onlookers, it was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister, Governor General, and Police Commissioner, but is yet to happen again since. With its Co-Chair refusing to answer questions and a lack of communication and transparency from its board, some believe it’s time for the parade to be given back to the community.
WIPP 2021 was scheduled for Saturday 10 April of that year but was cancelled on 13 March after express had questioned WIPP’s board as to whether the event was viable amid funding shortfalls and pandemic safety measures.
In a statement, the board said that they would focus their efforts on a parade in March 2022, and that same day began promoting a series of fundraising events called Queens For A Cause, a drag dinner experience that was scheduled to be performed four times in March 2021, with further dates advertised for May, June, and July that same year.
Adam de Haar, AKA drag queen, Amanda La Whore, was listed as Co-Chair of WIPP as recently as 2021, but is now frequently labeled WIPP’s Founder and Creative Director. express asked De Haar, how much Queens For A Cause had raised? They chose not to answer the question but later stated, “I can also confirm that I have had no access to funds for the Wellington International Pride Parade from 2018 to present day.”
Former board members, who departed WIPP after the 2020 parade, have told express that the accounts were in good shape, as evidenced in WIPP’s 2020 annual report, which totals the year’s net profit at $16,038.
According to sources, 2020 was the last time WIPP produced an annual report or filed an annual financial statement as Wellington International Pride Incorporated.
express reached out to WIPP’s board in February 2022 to ask if the promised parade was happening next month and was met with silence. The 2022 parade never materialised.
On 26 May 2022, De Haar took to WIPP’s Facebook page, telling people to ‘save the date,’ stating that the parade would return on Saturday 11 March 2023, and for people to ‘watch this space.’ WIPP’s official Facebook page has made just two posts in the year since the announcement, neither relating to a 2023 parade.
11 March came and went with no sign of a parade, but a Freedom of Information request to Wellington City Council (WCC) highlighted that De Haar had asked the council for street closures so the parade could be held on that date, which WCC had agreed to. The request, however, revealed no correspondence around the cancellation of these closures.
On 18 May 2023, express asked De Haar a series of questions relating to WIPP and why the 2023 parade had not happened. De Haar refused to answer the questions and was unwilling to clarify the names or number of people that currently sit on WIPP’s board (the board’s web page still lists members who tell express that they resigned from the organisation in 2021).
De Haar, however, did state that WIPP will be having their 2023 AGM “before the end of July.”
“These questions will have to wait for the AGM. I understand the validity of these questions, and we’re working on making sure that there is a parade in 2024. That’s the most important thing,” they said.
As express goes to print, eight days on from De Haar’s reply, WIPP is yet to announce its 2023 AGM, and we can find no evidence of an AGM having taken place in 2022.
The Future Of The Wellington International Pride Parade:
Despite its success in 2020, some Wellington community groups rallied against WIPP, believing it needed to withdraw its support from government agencies like the Defence Force and put a greater focus on the Wellington-based rainbow groups that support marginalised communities.
Frustrated by WIPP’s lack of transparency, Chair of Rainbow Wellington (and former WIPP Board member) Craig Watson has called on Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau to find out what is going on so that a future for the parade can be established. He hopes that a new group can be appointed to run the parade, one “that works with the community, for the community.”
“I think that there is an appetite in Wellington for a parade to return that celebrates all of our community and makes it accessible for all minority groups to be visible and to celebrate.”