More than 100 redheads flock to 'Gingas in the Stings' festival in Hastings

More than 100 redheads celebrated their uniqueness in Hawke's Bay on Thursday night at a festival created just for them. 

Only about 1 to 2 percent of the world's population has red hair, which means it can be a tough experience. To make life a bit easier, Neill Gordon and Jill MacDonald dreamed up a 'Gingas in the Stings' bonanza at the Common Room in Hastings.

The bar filled with luscious locks in all forms - some curly, some straight, some fading - and even some red-haired babies were spotted. 

It's an event the red-haired reverend MacDonald has been planning in her mind for years. 

"I've had a dream for at least 30 years, probably longer, of walking into a cafe where everyone has red hair," she said.

That dream turning into a reality on February 1 - with red-themed decorations, drinks, food, memes and music. 

"I just know so many great gingas, we were sitting around talking about this for long time - it was like, 'Hey can we fill the place with gingas'," said Common Room owner Gerard Barron. 

Some people even drove from the Bay of Plenty for the inaugural event - like Autumn Kempe from Whakatāne, who didn't want to miss it. 

"I came to feel like I belong somewhere, growing up in the '80s there was a lot of teasing and stuff," she said.

That's something others there agreed with. One mother said that luckily, her daughter wasn't bullied as badly as her.

"I don't think she's had what I had growing up - it was quite hard having red hair. I'd come home from school saying, 'I want to dye my hair, mum'."

It's why Bianca Duimel launched the Red Matters Project, an anti-bullying campaign. 

"I first realised about nine years ago that bullying people with red hair is actually a thing," said Duimel.

She's since photographed more than 600 red-haired kiwis to showcase their uniqueness and highlight the beauty of the hair colour - and the person behind it.