New Zealand’s biggest gay event takes a step closer this week with the opening of registrations for the 2nd AsiaPacific Outgames to be held in Wellington next March.

According to website QNA, The Outgames will involve 16 sporting competitions, a human rights conference, an arts and cultural festival and some very large parties. Over 1,000 participants and another 1,000 partners, family members and supporters are expected in the capital from over 15 countries in the region.

“It is the first time that this type of event has been held in New Zealand,” Outgames co-chair David Hindley told the website, “and we are getting strong support for it from both within the capital, and within our target markets overseas.”

The opening of registrations will be marked by events this coming weekend on both sides of the Tasman, in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Melbourne and Brisbane. The Wellington event will be held in the Wellington City Council chambers this Friday night, June 11, with Councillor John Morrison representing the mayor.

“Outgames will bring a strong commercial benefit for Wellington city as all these types of events do,” Hindley said.

The majority of international participants will come from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, which all have very strong gay and lesbian sporting clubs.

The event is also being promoted strongly in Asia. Beyond New Zealand and Australia, mainland China is the source of the largest number of hits on the Outgames website, followed by Singapore and Hong Kong.

The sporting activities for the event cover a very broad range from the traditional running and swimming through to mountain biking.

The Outgames will be held from Saturday 12 to Saturday 19 March 2011.

Information is on the website

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