Auckland Pride Parade 2019 still on, but will be radically different

The Auckland Pride Parade will go ahead next year - but it will look radically different.

In the wake of the conflict between the Pride Board and NZ Police over officers marching in uniform, there were reports earlier on Wednesday that the entire parade had been scrapped.

The Board now says the iconic annual event is still on following Tuesday evening's community hui involving 100 members of the LGBT community.

"Participants strongly emphasised that they wanted a Pride that was about visibility, engagement with communities that haven't always felt represented by the event, as well as celebration," the Board said in a statement.

"The Pride Parade's shape and form will not be like in previous years. With a more community-based funding model, we have the challenge and opportunity to be creative on what the actual proceeding will look like."

This statement seems to confirm earlier reports that the 2019 Parade would involve no corporate sponsors, a major shift from previous years which featured floats from the likes of BNZ and SkyCity.

The Board emphasises that the Pride Festival, including the Ending HIV Big Gay Out, is very much going ahead, with details to be finalised in the coming weeks. 

"The Auckland Pride Board will put all of its efforts in ensuring that there is a space for our community to march and be visible during the Pride season - a community led vision for a re-launched Parade."

A new role of Festival Coordinator has been created to replace the existing role of Festival Director. That role will be filled by Joel Walsham, a local artist who voted against a motion of no confidence in the Board at a meeting earlier in December.

"We are excited for Joel to work alongside our community to put together a vibrant festival and work towards a grassroots-led Parade," says the Board. The new role will be re-evaluated in March 2019.

The Board thanked the LGBT community for their "revitalised engagement" in the debate that has seen unprecedented uproar from those on both sides of the argument.

"Our commitment to ensuring that we are able to celebrate our gender and sexual identities, whilst highlighting the pressing issues our community faces, is stronger than ever. We know that a renewed vision of Pride can see us celebrate while leaving no one behind."