Wellington Gay and Lesbian Scene
(Wellington, North Island, New Zealand NZ)
There is a relatively small gay and lesbian scene spread around the North Island and here in Wellington, a number of LGBT friendly venues are present in the city. These tend to be based around Cuba Street and Courtenay Place, within the Courtenay Quarter and the inner-city Te Aro district, along with Lambton Quay.
Many of the bars and nightspots around Courtenay Place welcome a fairly mixed and varied crowd, staying open until late throughout the week and often remaining open until dawn makes itself known. Of note, theatres in this part of Wellington include the BATS, the Downstage, the Embassy, the Paramount and the St. James theatres, as well as the Opera House.
Located on Cuba Street, just down the road from the Michael Fowler Centre concert venue and Wellington Town Hall, Club Ivy has recently relocated to this present location from Dixon Street, being found within the basement of the former James Smith department store. Club Ivy is the city's only dedicated gay nightclub and offers regular themed nights, cocktails, cabaret entertainment and fun competitions. Of interest, in the 1970s and early years of the 1980s, the mid-section of Cuba Street and Vivian Street operated as Wellington's infamous Red Light district, with a number of gay bars and clubs, and although this area now appears quite different, traces of its previous incarnation are still apparent.
Gay Festivals and Events
Dating back to the mid-1980s and previously named the Wellington Gay and Lesbian Fair, Out in the Square takes place every year and is held around March. This is the highlight of Wellington's LGBT calendar and features an abundance of entertainment, including stalls and a dance extravaganza.
The fair was formerly based around the suburb of Newton, before making a presence in the city centre from 2008 onwards and drawing close to 10,000 attendees. Out in the Square is now associated with the Wellington pride festival named Proud, which is usually held the month before in Civic Square.
Screening many independent short films and insightful documentaries, the 'Out Takes: A Reel Queer Film Festival' comes to Wellington in the middle of June each year and also comprises an awards ceremony.
Useful publications and resources include the following:
A popular newspaper published fortnightly, full of LGBT information about the Wellington gay scene and sold at most newsagents in the city.
- Up Newspaper
A monthly gay magazine, sold at many of the city's newsagents.
- New Zealand Gay Guide
Published quarterly, this is a small book full of LGBT information, often including an extensive 'Events and Festivals' section, complete with a listing of participating entertainment venues.
- Rainbow Wellington
Representing the various interests of the local gay community, Rainbow Wellington organises many social activities and themed gatherings around the city.