Ardern first PM to walk in Pride Parade

Jacinda Ardern (centre) waves to the crowd lining Ponsonby Rd. Photo: Getty Images
Jacinda Ardern (centre) waves to the crowd lining Ponsonby Rd. Photo: Getty Images

Thousands of people have taken part in Auckland's annual Pride Parade - including Jacinda Ardern, the first Prime Minister to walk in the event.

Ponsonby Rd was lit up in every colour of the rainbow last night.

More than 3500 people took part, while tens of thousands of people lined the street to watch the action.

Ardern launched the parade by cutting the last of several rainbow ribbons shortly before 7.30pm before marching alongside the Labour Party's red caravan.

Onlookers were treated to a series of colourful floats – some pumping out classic disco tracks.

Among those taking in the action was Aucklander Jan Hannah who described the event as "fun ... it's full of colour".

A one-of-a-kind, rainbow-coloured police patrol car made its debut, flanked by Police Commissioner Mike Bush. Police dogs, horses and motorbikes also featured.

Bush posted on social media before the parade started: "Great to see the turnout for the 2018 pride parade, we are really appreciating the community support."

The Pride Festival promotes awareness of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues and themes...
The Pride Festival promotes awareness of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues and themes. Photo: Getty Images

New Zealand Rugby also had its own float for the first time.

The theme for this year's Pride Parade was peace, love and unity and the event came at a time of escalate global unrest and human rights breaches, organisers said before the event.

Parade producer Shaughan Woodcock also said it was "very exciting" to have Ardern taking part.

"The overall message is that we are being led by a progressive government, a government that stands for all groups not just some," Woodcock said.

Ardern earlier said she couldn't remember how many times she had walked in the parade before becoming Prime Minister but that it had been enough "to know I feel enormously proud that it's an annual event".

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