A dawn karakia marked the beginning of the annual Auckland Pride Festival yesterday morning.

The traditional dawn ceremony was where Māori and Pasifika people blessed the way, kicking off the celebrations.

According to Adrian Noda of Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara, it highlighted the issues that are still prevalent amongst the rainbow community.

“Te mea pai o tēnei ka puta tātou katoa nō reira ko taku whakaaro ā he aha ngā kōrero mai tēnā momo mai tēnā momo, mai tēnā momo. Nā te mea he rerekē ngā kōrero engari kātahi noa iho te kaupapa hei whakakotahi tātou ko tēnā, ko tō tātou ngākau takatāpui.”

It is the acceptance that Cook Islander Sonya Apa Te Mata is calling for and the greater support to amend the decriminalisation of the homosexual legislation that is placed in the Cook Islands, Kingdom of Tonga and many other Pacific Island nations.

“We are looking at a piece of legislation that was thrown out, that was decriminalised here in Aotearoa 20-30 plus years ago. And when we look at it today a lot of the whānau and a lot of our people say really?”

Apa Te Mata says by working together we can combat these issues.

“It is about succession planning, it is bringing in our rangatira it is about our rangatahi, it is about bridging those gaps also when we see it not just in our communities but across the board.”

Noda also says that it’s about reflecting and remembering for those that came before.

“I tēnei wā kua hokihoki ngā mahara ki te tini te mano e whakangaro atu, rātou e noho wahangū, rātou hei hanga tēnei huarahi mō tātou ngā takatāpui mō ēnei rā.”

No doubt the colours of the rainbow community will stand out brightly and issues heard over the coming weeks.

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