Regional | Rainbow Community

No place for hate or bigotry in Te Tai Rāwhiti - mayor

Mayor Rehette Stoltz says last night’s destruction of the rainbow crossing in Gisborne’s central business district only fuels hatred and division between people.

The rainbow crossing was painted on December 20, 2021.

A group of protestors identifying themselves as Destiny Church members, painted white paint over the crossing last night, holding up traffic while that took place.

Stoltz says since the crossing was painted, ”it has been a solid message that we are an inclusive region.

“We accept that people hold different views. However, there is no place for hate or bigotry in Te Tai Rāwhiti.

“Gisborne District Council strongly condemns the vandalism done last night.”

Stoltz said the protestors created a safety issue.

“We will be reinstating the rainbow crossing as quickly as we can.

Rainbows ‘for everyone’

“We absolutely object to individuals interfering with our road markings and the safety of people on our roads.

“We will be working with the police to make those involved accountable and seeking reparations for the cost of the work.

“We stand in solidarity with the rainbow community and strongly support the message of the rainbow crossing as well as the kaupapa of the library event.

“This kind of visibility of acceptance saves lives. We are very mindful of the struggle some of our young people face when there is no recognition for them as they explore their identities.

“Rainbows are representative of joy for everyone.”

In a social media post, Gisborne’s library earlier said it had “something fabulous for curious and fun-loving rangatahi youth ages 16+”.

Rotorua event cancelled

“Join our guests Erika and Coco Flash for a storytelling, lip syncing, and singing interactive performance. Bring along your friends, join us for a fun and glitter-filled frolic.”

Last week a similar Rotorua library event was cancelled after objections from Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki. Rotorua Lakes Council cancelled the show after what it called “hostile dialogue” and a “rapid spread of misinformation”.

But the Gisborne mayor says tonight’s event will go ahead.

“We have every intention of moving forward with the planned event at the HB Williams Library and have done a full risk assessment of the venue.

“Police will be present at the event and protestors have been warned they are not to prevent anyone entering the library.

“I would like to clarify that the library’s programming decisions are made with the intent to provide a wide range of educational and cultural opportunities that reflect the diversity of our community.

‘Important areas of public discourse’

“The event in question was designed to offer perspectives on gender diversity and inclusion, topics that are increasingly being recognised as important areas of public discourse.

“Our aim is to foster a space for open dialogue, learning, and understanding on a variety of subjects.

“It’s also important to note that the day-to-day operations and event programming at the library do not fall under the direct purview of governance or involve voting by councillors or the public.

“Our staff are committed to selecting programmes that educate, inform, and entertain while respecting the broad spectrum of views held by our patrons.

“We recognise that not every programme will align with the personal values of every community member but we strive to maintain a balanced and inclusive calendar of events that serve the varied interests of our community as a whole.”

- Te Ao Maōri News