With the highest rainbow population in Aotearoa New Zealand, Wellington City Council is supporting this project to help improve the mental health and well-being of the capital’s rainbow communities.
Rainbow communities experience disproportionally higher rates of anxiety, suicide, and depression than the general population in Aotearoa New Zealand. Make Visible: Te Whanganui-a-Tara aims to help lower these rates for rainbow communities in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (and beyond) through increased visibility of and support for these communities.
Developed by artist, curator and activist Shannon Novak, the project will include artistic interventions in public spaces, exhibitions, performances, workshops, an online platform for rainbow communities to share experiences, and help grow local archives of Te Whanganui-a-Tara’s rainbow heritage.
The project has already begun with The Blossoming by artist Shawn Wimalaratne in collaboration with Shannon, and commissioned by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The work is on two floors of the PwC Centre and acknowledges and celebrates LGBTQI+ communities and seeks to amplify LGBTQI+ BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour), trans, and intersex communities.
Wellington Mayor-elect Tory Whanau says this project represents our collective responsibility to support the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of all residents – especially those from our more vulnerable communities.
“Our city has increasingly diverse communities, and all Wellingtonians have the right to work, live and play in our city, free from harassment, bullying, and discrimination.
“Make Visible Te Whanganui-a-Tara is an innovative way of working with our rainbow and BIPOC communities, that allows them to be heard and seen in ways that work best for them.
“We also hope this visibility will increase public support to create positive and meaningful change for rainbow communities, so they can feel safe and sound in their hometown,” adds the Mayor-elect.
The Make Visible kaupapa aligns to priorities and outcomes within two of the Council’s key strategies.
Tūpiki Ora Māori Strategy ensures the voices and perspectives of our rangatahi, takatāpui and whānau hauā/ tangata whai kaha are listened to, valued and embedded in decision-making at all levels.
A key focus area in the Aho Tini 2030 Arts, Culture, and Creativity Strategy is Aho Tangata, creating connected, engaged, and inclusive communities through diverse arts and cultural expression.