Described by its official site as “New Zealand’s largest and loudest social and cultural programme of events for our rainbow communities”, the Auckland Pride Festival is now in full swing, having kicked off with a Maori dawn ceremony on the 2nd of February. This year’s festival features no fewer than 80 varied events, such as dance, music, poetry, debates, theatre, comedy and cabaret, workshops, sports, gardening, group dog walks, and fabulous parties.

The festival is running until Sunday 18th February, when it wraps up on the morning following it’s biggest event, the Auckland Pride Parade.

I’ve spoken about some of the high profile parts of the festival like the Pride Parade and Big Gay Out before, and now with all kinds of awesome events coming up around Auckland, I’ve decided to focus on some of the cool ones aimed towards rangatahi (youth) which have the added bonus of all being pretty affordable, if not free.

Some of these events are directed specifically toward queer youth. However, if you’re not a member of the Rainbow Community and are keen to get involved and show your support, do not worry! A lot of the Pride Festival events encourage allies to be involved as well.

Shout Out

If you’re someone who enjoys performing and showcasing your talent, or whether you just want to sit back and enjoy a show, Shout Out could be for you. It’s a chill open-mic night for young queer performers, and whether your talent is poetry, singing, comedy, rap, acting, or something wildly different, there’s the opportunity to show it off in a judgement-free zone. Your entry fee is a just a donation (you choose how much!) so this one won’t break the bank. If you’re keen to get involved with this, it’s taking place at Studio One on Ponsonby Road, on Monday 5th February between 6-8pm.

The Aroha Project

If you’re into crafting, design, construction or costume making, look no further for a good time. The Aroha Project is a three-weekend workshop focusing on the Auckland Pride Parade, “incorporating float design and construction, costume-making, choreographed movement and digital activations”. It’s essentially a free workshop where you can go and work on the technical, arty side of the parade while having fun and meeting new people.

Making Space
If you’re keen to create or be part of a queer youth group but haven’t had the opportunity yet, Rainbow Youth have got your back. You can rock on down to the Rainbow Youth Drop-in Centre at 10 Abbey Street, Newton, between 11-2pm on Saturday the 10th, and explore all the existing groups at Rainbow Youth, or get information on how to create your own.

Board Games
This one’s great because pretty much anyone can get involved. Queer creative arts organisation Breaking Boundaries have organised a night of coffee and various board games, ranging from classic games such as chess to party games like Cards Against Humanity. Feel free to bring a friend and a game of your own (though plenty will be provided). There’s no entrance fee aside from a charitable donation. This is taking place from 7 pm on Waitangi Day, at GridAKL Tech Cafe in the city centre.

Legacy Project 5

This is a compilation of six short plays from Auckland’s new writing talent, Legacy Project 5 is a “celebration of the wonderful, wilful and downright weird tales from our local queer community.” If you’re keen for some theatre, this takes place at the Q Theatre on Queen Street between Thursday 8th-Wednesday 14th February, at 6:30 pm, and Thursday 15th-16th February at 8 pm. Tickets cost $20.00 or $18.00 concession for students and seniors.

Rainbow Youth Ribbon Making

Whether you’re a crafty person or just someone who wants to give it a go and have a great time, Rainbow Youth have organised a fun activity at their drop-in centre in Newton, teaching people how to make the rainbow ribbons they sell to raise funds at Big Gay Out. This is another free event and lollies and pizza will be provided. What more could you want? It takes place on Tuesday 13th February between 6-8pm.

Pride Surf Lesson

Finally to round off the list, if you’re interested in surfing or bodyboarding, feel free to join the Gay Surfers for a recreational surf session in Piha, followed by a shared lunch at a local beach house, and then back to more surfing. This is taking place between 10am-5pm on Saturday 10th February.

For more information about the Pride Festival, check out the Auckland Pride Festival website!

SOPHIE STONE is a geeky 19-year-old who loves Doctor Who and has been writing for TEARAWAY for two years. Currently trying to navigate her gap year, wishing she could pursue a degree in chicken nugget tasting. Check out more of Sophie’s work:

What It’s Like To Be Intersex

These Videos Will Turn Learning About Sexuality Inside Out

Overwatch: Rainbow Support For Our Armed Forces

6 Ways Hetero/Cis-Normativity Is Engrained In Our Society