'Gay bashing still exists in New Zealand' says LGBT+ activist after violent attack at pride

This weekend was Auckland's Pride march and festival event the 'Big Gay Out', both celebrating the diversity of New Zealand's LGBT+ population.

But it seems not everyone was in the pride spirit, after The AM Show reporter Aziz Al Sa'afin and his friend were violently attacked walking along Auckland's Karangahape Road.

Al-Sa'afin told The AM Show on Tuesday that three men walked up to him and his friend and begun hurling verbal abuse, before the situation quickly turned physical.

"Before I knew it, my friend was on the ground getting decked… as I was walking towards him I got decked in my left eye."

Rāwā Karetai is an LGBTI+ activist, and told Newshub that ufortunately, gay hate crime still happen in New Zealand.

"New Zealand is still not safe for LGBTI folk," he explained.

He said much more often the attacks don't escalate to physical violence, but even verbal abuse is not okay.

"It is rare that something of this scale happens, but about once a year we hear another story and it gets media coverage. It's not a safe environment.

Mr Karetai said it's especially sad this attack happened during pride, a time where the rainbow community should be celebrated.

"Pride is the most exciting time to be up in Auckland with the LGBTI community, it was a fantastic time, but we are still vulnerable to attacks."

"People may not realise, but gay bashing still happens in this country."

Al-Sa'afin said he was physically okay after the incident, but that it would take a while to get over the shock of the ordeal.

Mr Karetai said there is almost certainly a percentage of people who never report incidents like this for fear over their safety.

"There is a fear for safety and it's a complex process that can take up to two years, two years of dragging up all the memories and trauma.

"Fear of life is not okay. We want to be able to live."