New Zealand Prime Minister John Key makes appearance in Orange Day Parade

Yesterday, I was assigned to photograph the Orange Day Parade for the Wellington City Council. It is an annual event where 1,100 school children from around the Wellington region who participate in school patrols are invited to parade through the streets of the city from Parliament to the Town Hall. Once at the Town Hall, they are provided with entertainment, receive prizes for best banner, spirit, costumes and of course the grand prize – best school patrol as deemed by the supervising police officers who go out and observe their performance on a regular basis.

I got to the steps of Parliament early, and started photographing students in their costumes, face paint and posing them with their signs. They were really receptive to being photographed. A lot of them were actively asking for me to take their pictures. Probably in large part due to the fact that these kids were the ones who volunteer their own time on a daily basis to help others, and of course because they were all dressed up and excited!

While I was walking back from the end of the line I heard some kids yelling out “John Key” so it made me stop and look over. Sure enough the Prime Minister of New Zealand, who is not normally in Parliament on Friday’s heard all the excitement and decided to come outside and check it out. To me, it was a great PR exercise- it was good to see Mr Key out there pressing the flesh and being so accommodating to all the very excited young kids. It made my day, but to a large number of students I am sure it was an even bigger deal in their young lives.

A student involved in traffic patrol for her school is dressed in orange with face paint and holding a lolypop stick like the ones she uses on patrol. Steps of Parliment, Friday 17 September, 2010. Photo by Mark Tantrum.

Despite being a little windswept due to the gale force winds, the PM John Key looks composed and calm meeting with the kids getting ready for the Orange Day Parade. Friday, 17th September, 2010. Photo by Mark Tantrum

John Key smiles and shares pleasantries with students getting ready for the parade outside of the steps of Parliament. Friday, 17th September, 2010. Photo by Mark Tantrum

Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key shakes hands with students assembled for the start of the Orange Day Parade on the steps of Parliament. Friday, 17th September, 2010. Photo by Mark Tantrum.

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