Green Party MP and Gisborne resident Dr Elizabeth Kerekere
An LGBTQ+ and rainbow flag was raised at the Gisborne District Council headquarters for the first time, kicking off a month of Pride celebrations around the country.
Green Party MP and local resident Dr Elizabeth Kerekere was proud to be at the event: "As we are the first city to see the sun, as is it that we open Pride for our country, I'm very proud to be here myself."
Three rainbow groups operate in Te Tairāwhiti, one for those in school, one for older rangatahi and one that focuses on actions that uplift the mana of those in the community.
"If people want to help, part of it is finding out what's going on, if you've got young people or children that you want advice for, link into one of these groups," Kerekere says.
Speaking at the event was Henarata Kohere Pishief, who is a leader at Community Youth Gisborne.
"It's very easy in schools to feel like you are alone, and that you don't have people who are like you ... so you can feel quite isolated. Having these groups like this, it showed when I got there that were so many people like me, likeminded, who were there to support you and get to know you," Pishief said
In terms of what the wider community can do, Kerekere had some suggestions, "I think it's always important that our whānau make all of our spaces welcoming, to anybody, regardless of their gender identity and their gender expression."
The town clock will be a backdrop for lights in the colours of the rainbow tonight from 9pm.