Are you ready to be part of a sporting event like no other? One that celebrates diversity, inclusion, and empowerment? The Rainbow Games Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland 2024 is here to unite the rainbow community and their allies in a vibrant celebration of acceptance.
From 4-8 April 2024, the inaugural Rainbow Games will bring together rainbow communities and their allies to celebrate sports, recreation, and culture in a way that promotes the wellbeing and interests of the Rainbow peoples of Aotearoa, New Zealand and the wider Oceania region. More than just a multi-sport event, the Games will be a beacon of hope and inclusion. From our first event in 2024, the Games will be held every two years, with the sports and festivities growing as we go.
How did the Rainbow Games 2024 come about?
The journey of the Rainbow Games began with an ambitious dream. After an unsuccessful bid to host the World Gay Games in Auckland in 2026, the feedback from the Gay Games Federation was that the foundations of rainbow sporting events in New Zealand needed to be tested to support a future bid. Similar concept sports events are relatively common in Europe and the Americas but aren’t common in the southern hemisphere.
So, the Pacific Rainbow Games Charitable Trust and the Rainbow Games 2024 were established with support from Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, the New Zealand government’s Major Events Fund, Foundation North, The Lion Foundation, The Trusts Community Foundation and Lottery Community Grants. Moreover, the Trust has proudly forged partnerships with PURE Athletic (Official Merchandise and Apparel Partner), Russell McVeagh (Official Legal Partner), and MediaWorks (Official Radio and Out-Of-Home Partner.
By developing a homegrown event, a successful bid to host a World Gay Games in the future is a realistic prospect. The Games also offer the opportunity to bring Aotearoa, New Zealand’s sport sector onboard to deliver important benefits for the wellbeing of our rainbow communities.
The participation of people like you is the most crucial factor in the success and longevity of the Games. Be part of this extraordinary journey to the inaugural Rainbow Games and help us break down barriers and create a more inclusive world in sports and beyond.
The Rainbow Games are for everyone.
Participants can sign up for the 15 sports on offer: badminton, basketball 3×3, diving, football 5-a-side, lawn bowls (bowls3five), netball, roller derby, rugby 7s, running (5k, 10k, half), softball, swimming, ten-pin bowling, tennis, touch and volleyball 4s. Each sport offers a way for all to participate, with different grades or social and competitive divisions. No matter your involvement in sport, there’s a place in the Rainbow Games for you.
The player category model for the Rainbow Games 2024 is rooted in commitment to diversity, inclusion, and safety, inspired by other rainbow sports events and consultation with our communities. Fourteen of the fifteen sports offer an Open (all gender and identity expressions) category and a female-identifying category. The use of ‘female-identifying’ aims to create an inclusive sporting space for cisgender women, transgender women, and non-binary assigned female at birth.
The one exception to our player categories is the Rugby 7s competition, where consultation with Rugby NZ and Auckland Rugby led to the formation of male-identifying and female-identifying categories, with additional questions around participant’s playing experience to inform a bespoke health and safety plan to ensure the safety of all participants – a step in the right direction for inclusion in one of New Zealand’s most popular sports. These categories mark our journey toward inclusivity, and we look to learn from participants’ experiences and feedback at the inaugural Games.
We have also developed a player code of conduct ensuring a safe and inclusive space for all, which must be accepted by all attendees when signing up for the Games, alongside a gender diversity and health and wellbeing policy.
The mission, vision and kaupapa of the Games
The Pacific Rainbow Games Trust’s mission is clear – to create inclusive and empowering sports and recreation events that promote participation, Turangawaewae, Manamotuhake, Hauora, and Manaakitanga.
The Rainbow Games’ vision aims for transformation. We envision a future of fully inclusive sports and recreation, where our communities feel safe and welcome to participate. By participating in these sports, the Games aim to create a society that supports and embraces the diverse identities and expressions of our communities.
At the core of the Rainbow Games’ kaupapa is the promotion of recreational and competitive sporting activities for the rainbow community. The Games provide a safe space for athletes and their supporters visiting Aotearoa, New Zealand. The Rainbow Games uphold the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, emphasising partnership, protection, and participation. This commitment aligns perfectly with the concept of manaakitanga, welcoming and celebrating people of all cultures.
The importance of social connection
The Rainbow Games recognise the vital importance of social connection for the wellbeing of rainbow individuals. These games provide a unique opportunity to decrease the marginalisation and exclusion often felt by members of the rainbow community in sports, providing opportunities to make new friends, rekindle old friendships and enjoy valuable time with your teammates – on and off the field.
What players can expect in the first year?
The journey begins with registration and the opening ceremony on Thursday, April 4th – a warm welcome to Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, which celebrates the competing nations and showcases queer sports, arts and culture. Over the next four days, you will engage in your selected sport, all while having the opportunity to explore arts, culture, and social activities at the Trusts Arena, Henderson. Festivities end with a Closing Ceremony on Monday, 8 April, to celebrate the achievements of all participants and set our sights on the future.
Two remarkable legacies are set to emerge from the Rainbow Games 2024, each carrying the promise of lasting impact. The first is our commitment to the rainbow rangatahi of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Collaborating with School Sport New Zealand, we’re dedicated to delivering a unique rainbow youth component, providing teenagers within the community the opportunity to participate in recreation and movement. A portion of the registration fees directly contributes to making this vision a reality, paving the way for a more inclusive and vibrant future for our rangatahi.
The second legacy focuses on enduring engagement with New Zealand’s sport sector. At the Rainbow Games, we’re proud to work alongside regional and national sport organisations, pooling their expertise to deliver sporting events with passion and precision. Beyond the games themselves, we’re committed to upskilling these organisations, ensuring that their newfound knowledge and experiences inform greater engagement and understanding of our diverse communities. Together, we’re cultivating a dynamic and inclusive environment that transcends the boundaries of the Games, enriching the world of sports and recreation across Aotearoa, New Zealand.
The Rainbow Games 2024 are not just a sporting event; they are a movement, a chance to break barriers and celebrate the diversity and strength of rainbow communities. Join us in making history and creating a world where everyone feels safe, accepted, and valued. It’s time to celebrate unity and diversity at the Rainbow Games 2024!
We’re delighted to offer an exclusive $20 discount code for YOUREX readers, available until the end of November 2023. Register for your sport at www.rainbowgames.co.nz/register and type in ‘YOUREX’ in the promo code section.