Auckland Pride Welcomes a Creative Director, Two New Team Members Ahead of 2022 Festival Celebrating 50 Years of Pride in Tāmaki Makaurau

Auckland Pride are delighted to welcome three new team members who join their whānau in the lead-up to the 2022 Auckland Pride Festival. Once again spanning the entire month of February, from February 1-27, Auckland Pride are incredibly proud of the calibre of the team working to bring the Festival together to mark 50 years of Pride in Tāmaki Makaurau.


Committed to their vision of making Auckland Pride the home of queer arts in Tāmaki Makaurau, the organisation is pleased to announce the appointment of Elyssia Wilson-Heti as Creative Director. Elyssia will join Executive Director Max Tweedie in a permanent role, leading the creative vision of the organisation. Named as an Arts Laureate in 2020 with FAFSWAG, the highly skilled producer is informed by her arts practice, and brings indigenous frameworks to help her lead and hold space. With intersectionality and accessibility at the core of all her projects, Elyssia (she/her) is committed to serving the communities she engages with as best she can. As part of her role, Elyssia will direct and produce the Pride Gala, which marks the start of the Festival and the Pride Party which closes festivities. She will also contribute throughout the year to the artistic vision and growth of Auckland Pride as an organisation, which will include establishing and developing an Artist In Residence programme. 

Speaking about the role, Elyssia was full of gratitude and incredibly excited by the opportunity, saying “It is an honour to be trusted to serve, collaborate, care for and celebrate our diverse rainbow communities in this way. I would like to acknowledge all of the support and encouragement given to me by my collaborators and community that have led me to this point. I acknowledge FAFSWAG, the Basement whānau, this stunning community of rainbow people and lastly, my whānau that have supported my growth and development to reach this huge milestone. I am forever grateful. It has taken a village for me to get here. I love this community and I am so proud to be serving you.” 

Joining Elyssia and Max will be two new team members, confirmed in contract roles for the 2022 Festival, acknowledging the continued growth and expansion of Aotearoa’s largest Pride Festival. 

A new position, Kaiwhakahaere Takatāpui, has been established to expand opportunities for Takatāpui within Pride, strengthen the vital role of Māori creatives across the Festival, and increase capacity to support and celebrate Takatāpuitanga. Hāmiora (Samuel) Bailey (Ngāti Porou Ki Harataunga, Ngāti Huarere) will be involved in creating and delivering three events within the 2022 programme. These include the official opening and closing events, and an inaugural one-day Festival within Auckland Pride centred in Te Ao Māori. Embracing the intersections of his identity as queer and Māori, Hāmiora (he/they) is the co-founder/operator of collaborative design practice Kōpū O Te Rangi, with his own artistic practice in photography and spatial design.

Hāmiora is honoured and excited to work with the Auckland Pride Festival to celebrate our takatāpui, tangata irawhiti, kahukura, and ūenuku whānau & allies. He looks forward to developing opportunities for whanaungatanga and highlighting the splendour and abundance of Te Ao Māori. He says, “This is an opportunity to bring together Tangata Whenua & Tauiwi alike to breathe in and understand the beauty of Ngākau Māori & the ngākau of our Kāhui Takatāpui. I can only speak intimately on my own experience as Takatāpui, but what I know of the hapori I belong to, is that each of us carry our whakapapa, and the nuances & intersections of being, with beauty & strength. I cannot wait to broadcast this to the city that holds us. In Te Ao Māori we know success is achieved through collective & holistic efforts, and so, I am buzzing to come together with the rest of Tāmaki Makaurau, to honour the land we are on and the haerenga ahead of us, towards a more equitable future.

Victoria Walsh joins the team as Major Events Producer, tasked with delivering the production and logistics of the largest events produced by Auckland Pride - the Pride March and Pride Party. A marketing professional with a background in the health promotion sector, Victoria (she/her) has worked in governmental and not-for-profit organisations in Canada and Aotearoa. She joins the Auckland Pride whānau from the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, where she is part of the team that deliver the Ending HIV Big Gay Out, another key part of the Auckland Pride Festival. 

Passionate about amplifying the voices and uplifting those from historically oppressed, ignored, and under-resourced communities, Victoria is excited to bring this kaupapa to her role in the Festival for 2022. “I’m honoured to produce events with Auckland Pride that ignite powerful queer energy this summer. We’re excited to improve accessibility of the March and Party for our rainbow whānau living with disabilities next year in Tāmaki Makaurau.

The 2022 Auckland Pride team will soon be joined by the administration focused Festival Coordinator role - applications close on October 24 - and a Production Manager.

Speaking on behalf of the Auckland Pride Board, co-chair Kaan Hiini was incredibly proud of the growth of the team tasked with weaving, shaping and delivering the Auckland Pride Festival.  "Our rainbow communities know the importance of the collective - the strength and safety that is found by being supported by a group. So it is hugely exciting to be able to grow the number of people responsible for driving the Festival forward. Their voices, experiences and expertise bring so much to the organisation. Elyssia's energy, vision and aroha for queer creatives is a massive asset for both Auckland Pride and our communities. I can't wait to see the magic we can nurture together. Hāmiora's ambition for the growth of Takatāpuitanga in Tāmaki Makaurau fills my mauri cup to the brim, and Victoria's passion for developing the March and Party to serve our communities even better is something I'm so encouraged and excited by."

The Auckland Pride Festival 2022 will be themed around ‘50 years of Pride in Auckland’, acknowledging a diverse history in the city that began in 1972 as Aotearoa joined the growing international movement for Gay Liberation. Reaching out to event producers with a provocation to consider this theme and incorporate elements of our history into events, Auckland Pride is also making steps towards ensuring greater accessibility for more facets of the community. The Access Pride Fund, Proud Centres, and the Pride & Spark Empowerment Initiative are all currently accepting applications alongside Festival registrations, which are open until December.