After a three week public campaign and an intense two days of challenges in February , Bharat Mahajan was announced as the winner of Mr. Gay New Zealand 2021!!!

Mahajan won the most overall points from six different challenges; Online Vote, Online Opinion Piece, One-on-one Interview, LGBTI Knowledge Test, Charity Fundraising and Public Speaking. He was named the winner ahead of Thomas Notton, 24, from Auckland and the announcement followed the final challenge which saw each of the finalists speak to the huge crowd at the Big Gay Out about why they were in the competition and their goals for the next 12 months if they were to win.

In accepting the award in front of the crowd Mahajan paid tribute to his fiancee and whānau for being so supportive. And now he has written an open letter to tell what is goal as the new Mister New Zealand 2021:

“Kia Ora, Hello, Namaste and Malo e Lelei Aoteroa,

All of the different greetings above are to acknowledge my diverse whānau and friends.

Where do I start! I guess it’s by thanking all my whānau and friends. Each and everyone one of you (especially mum, my fiance Adrian, Latu, Jess, Melissa, Eli, Arjun, Ratahi, Kerwin, Dev, Shekinah) are the reason I stand here today as Mr Gay New Zealand 2021.

To my fellow finalists, you guys are truly amazing and there is so much that I have learned from each of you. To Liam Reid, you are an inspiration for our community. A HUGE Thank you to Matt, Tony, Blaise, and Chris for this opportunity, I truly feel very privileged and cannot wait to start making solid, positive changes for our community with your support and guidance.

One of the questions that I was asked on stage was, “what are some of the qualities of a role model and which one do you exhibit”. I answered, for me, it’s not about the size or the magnitude of change one makes but it’s about how about the lives that you touch and all the true connections you make during the journey. I cannot wait to touch more lives with my work- ‘for my people’.

As your new Mr Gay New Zealand 2021, I really want to focus on building a strong LGBTQIA+ workforce within the health sector. I am going to promote and encourage LGBTQIA+ leadership representation at all levels, including within the government for mental health within our LGBTQIA+ community, especially for trans, rural, and our youth/rāngatahi.

I am also very excited to utilise my skills, expertise, and professional relationships that I have built and gained over the years that I have worked within the mental health sector. I know that I can lead and make affirmative change for our LGBTQIA+ community, and as their ambassador, I can support the New Zealand Aids Foundation towards ending new transmissions of HIV in Aotearoa by 2025. I have already started planning and meeting some of the key people who will support me in this journey and would like to especially thank my employer, Pinnacle Incorporated for all of your ongoing support and encouragement.

Lastly, the biggest gift I received along my journey was to start believing in myself, a gift that I wish to share with you all. It is that path that leads me to who I am today; to winning Mr Gay NZ 2021 and now I have all of the support of my community on this huge platform – ‘I WILL NOT TAKE THIS FOR GRANTED’!!!

He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata

What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.

Aroha mai”,

Bharat Mahajan

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Big kiss,

Lesley Middleton, owner of  PINK IN OUR LIVES

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