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Queenstown’s Winter Pride revamped under Covid-19 pandemic restrictions

Winter Pride has come to Queenstown this weekend in a celebration of the Rainbow community, resuscitated in a new form because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Covid restrictions have meant the organisers have had to redesign the event. Source: 1 NEWS

Alert Level 2 restrictions have meant the 10-day festival has had to shrink. Many festival-goers are also still stuck in Auckland, including its main organiser, until after the weekend when Alert Level 2 kicks in. 

Festival director Martin King was looking to cancel the event after the country’s first lockdown. But he’s now adapted the event.

“We rebuilt the festival on a Level 2 platform, and what we mean by that is we built seated events with less than 100 people,” he said.

Mr King said it was still important that the Rainbow community had a chance to express their identity with the festival. 

“LGBT people don't necessarily live in the same family kinda bubbles that people live in.”

So, he said it was more important than ever that people were able to travel and get together with their friends, especially after the isolation of lockdown. 

Mr King said as Winter Pride was one of the biggest pride festivals in New Zealand, they wanted to play a part in aiding Queenstown’s recovery by bringing people together in the city. 

Winter Pride ambassador Andy Vause said their opening weekend had shrunk to about a quarter of its usual size because of the lack of Australians and Aucklanders. 

Remarkables Ski Area manager Ross Lawrence is looking forward to the extra visitors. The venue hosted the festival's opening today.

“There have been a lot of events that have been cancelled,” he said.

“So to be able to hold this and get people on board is really exciting.”