Welcoming and open-minded or parochial and exclusive? Caitlin Nobes talks to gay and lesbian people about their experiences in Hawke's Bay.
People move to Hawke's Bay from cities for the lifestyle - the sun, sand, wine, and food.
But for gay or lesbian people, how does life in the provinces compare to the big cities?
Most were largely positive about their experiences in the Bay, but some were reluctant to speak openly for fear of a backlash against their businesses.
But many noted that for a group that makes up 10 per cent of the population, there was a distinct lack of support, particularly for young people.
Hawke's Bay Museum and Art Gallery director Douglas Lloyd Jenkins moved here from Auckland about five years ago.
"When I made the decision to move I decided I wasn't going to compromise who I was and that has been fine," he said. "I've often said I'm glad I moved here when I was 40 not at 19. I'm far better able to cope with the world."
Napier has not made the last five years difficult, overall. The only occasional sign of prejudice is boys calling insults from the window of a moving car. It might have bothered him as a teenager but now he gives as good as he gets.
Soon after he moved to Napier he was out in a pair of bright red check trousers. A young girl called out to him - his trousers were cool, where did he get them?
"I said I made them and a young guy shouted 'You must be a poof!'," he recalls. "I said 'Yes darling, very clever'."
He walked away to the sound of the girls teasing their male friend; Mr Lloyd Jenkins liked to think the boy is still called "darling" to this day.
He also stuck to his political views, which were not always understood here.
Invitations to talk about architecture, his area of expertise, came from church groups who were surprised when he asked about the church's position on homosexuality.
"I tend to think hard before doing something for those organisations," he said. "I don't want to compromise my thinking."
His partner, writer Peter Wells, supported him in that stance.
"I think it's important," he said. "I hope it makes people think about their views."
The world was becoming more accepting overall, Mr Wells said. When he was young there was an expectation that gay people would hide their lifestyle.
"Part of the deal was you were meant to be completely invisible. There was no one on TV or radio or films, or if there was it was only negative stereotypes."
But the lack of a gay community in Hawke's Bay was a change from Auckland.
"I can't imagine what it would be like to be young and gay here," he said. "Your family determines a lot but it's a bit worrying that there's not much support."
Alannah Pullen, 18, who grew up in Hastings, knew she was gay when she was 14 and had a mixed experience coming out. Her family and close friends were supportive but high school, which can be tough for anyone, presented extra challenges.
"At swimming, getting changed in front of everybody you were looked at as if you were going to hit on every single one of them. That was hard," she said. "Originally coming out was really good but as I grew up it became harder."
Some teachers and school leaders compounded the problem.
Two years ago, while at high school, she kissed her girlfriend on school grounds and was told to leave the property and write a letter of apology to the Board of Trustees.
There was no support for her, no groups for her age range, and schools were not doing enough for their gay or lesbian students, she said. She was not even allowed to bring her partner to the school ball.
"It's like you don't belong," she said. "You're not a citizen, you're outside, alone."
She was now based in Melbourne, where gay and lesbian social groups and celebrations made her feel welcome.
For Andrew Hall, 25, seeing another boy's experience at high school was one reason he chose not to come out until after high school.
The only other boy in his year who was gay was often taunted.
At 18 Mr Hall came out to his friends and family, and their support was immediate.
"It couldn't have gone better. If your family isn't supportive it's much harder," he said. "It's confusing times at high school. You don't know if you are normal. Having someone to talk to would have helped."
While schools may have guidance counsellors for support, Mr Hall would have preferred a gay person, someone who had had similar experiences.
He goes to Auckland and abroad to meet people and to go out where he feels comfortable.
He stayed in the Bay for a good job but would probably move overseas next year.
Mr Hall chose not to tell people he was gay unless it came up, and most people would not necessarily know.
"I don't rub it in people's faces. I have no problem with people knowing but I wouldn't make it known," he said. "People don't come up and say I'm straight."
Radio host Sarah van der Kley doesn't know exactly how many people were listening, but all of Hawke's Bay could have tuned in when she came out on air during her Classic Hits radio show.
"I wanted to be able to talk about my partner without feeling like I was hiding something quite big," she said "Napier is quite an accepting place, it's not something I would have done in Rotorua."
One emailer told the station to find a host with better family values, but most people, including her bosses and colleagues, were supportive.
Ms van der Kley, 25, had moved around a number of smaller towns and cities throughout the country, from Ashburton to Rotorua, but had never been publicly out before.
"This is a place I want to make my home, I didn't want to hide the life we want to live."
Celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres or Anika Moa who had come out publicly helped make it seem normal and acceptable.
"That's why I came out on the radio, if I hadn't seen that I might not have had the strength to do it."
She and her partner have two children from her partner's previous relationship and had been able to meet other same-sex couples with children through local lesbian social group Deco Divas.
Many of the children went to the same school so the school was used to supporting their students as needed and there had been no problems.
"It's becoming more and more common, there's no standard family set up any more," she said.
Anna, who didn't want to be named to protect her family, moved to Hawke's Bay six years ago with her partner and three children.
Early on she was often asked about her husband and sometimes couldn't help replying: "I don't have a husband, I have a wife."
Self-employed, Anna was careful who she came out to because she didn't want people's biases to affect whether she was employed.
"It's not something where you can categorically say they didn't work with me because of what I am but sometimes people become distant," she said. "It didn't happen in Auckland."
She came out to more people as time went on but always with forethought.
"They get to know me and then I come out and that just becomes a part of who I am, it doesn't define me."
Deco Divas had introduced the couple to other lesbians in the area, although many were a decade or more older than them. Meeting other lesbian couples gave them the chance to relax and share their experiences.
"There's a shared sense of humour, and experiences," she said. "You're not going to be friends with someone just because they're gay or lesbian but it's still nice to be around other women and share with them and they get it."
Anna worried that people in their teens or twenties would find it hard to find that camaraderie in a group where many people were twice their age.
The lack of support worried another recent arrival. Sheila, who wanted to be known by only her first name, had looked for support for friends and clients and was disappointed by what she found.
It was also time that schools and parents started opening up to the possibilities of what children might be feeling.
"They're given this idea of marriage and the house and the dog and the parakeet and the kids.
"Some children know from quite a young age that they're different and we can't keep pigeon-holing them," Sheila said.
She had spoken to schools in the past about being a gay woman and something as simple as that could help.
"For the younger ones coming through, or the middle age woman who's raised her children and is now questioning her sexuality - who's their support?"