Gisborne mayor Rehette Stoltz condemns protesters painting over Gisborne rainbow crossing

  • 26/03/2024
A photo of the vandalism shared by Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki.
A photo of the vandalism shared by Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki. Photo credit: Brian Tamaki / X

A rainbow-painted crossing in Gisborne's CBD has been painted over in what the mayor describes as an act of hatred and division.

Mayor Rehette Stoltz said the crossing, which was painted on December 20, 2021, was painted over with white on Monday night.

She added that reinstating the rainbow crossing will be done "as quickly as we can".

"Gisborne District Council strongly condemns the vandalism done last night.

"We accept that people hold different views however there is no place for hate or bigotry in Tairāwhiti."

Stolz said the rainbow crossing had been a "solid message that we are an inclusive region".

Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki shared a photo to X, formerly Twitter, saying protesters "have had enough and they are painting over the rainbow crossing". 

The group of protestors held up traffic while the vandalism took place.

"They created a safety issue last night," Stolz said.

"We absolutely object to individuals interfering with our road markings and the safety of people on our roads.

"We will be working with the police to make those involved accountable and seeking reparations for the cost of the work."

Social media posts suggest the protest action is linked to a Rainbow Storytime show at HB Williams Memorial Library on Tuesday.

But Stolz said despite the action, the event was going ahead. She said a full risk assessment of the venue had been done.

"Police will be present at the event and protesters have been warned they are not to prevent anyone entering the library," she said.

"I would like to clarify that the library's programming decisions are made with the intent to provide a wide range of educational and cultural opportunities that reflect the diversity of our community.

"The event in question was designed to offer perspectives on gender diversity and inclusion, topics that are increasingly being recognised as important areas of public discourse."

Stolz said the aim was to offer a space for open dialogue, learning and understanding.

"It's also important to note that the day-to-day operations and event programming at the library do not fall under the direct purview of governance or involve voting by councillors or the public," she said.

"Our staff are committed to selecting programmes that educate, inform, and entertain while respecting the broad spectrum of views held by our patrons.

"We recognise that not every programme will align with the personal values of every community member, but we strive to maintain a balanced and inclusive calendar of events that serve the varied interests of our community as a whole."

However, Stolz said council stands in solidarity with the rainbow community and strongly supports the message of the rainbow crossing, as well as the kaupapa of the library event.

"This kind of visibility of acceptance saves lives. We are very mindful of the struggle some of our young people face when there is no recognition for them as they explore their identities. 

"Rainbows are representative of joy for everyone."

Police have been contacted for comment.