Captains Log – South Island White Ribbon Ride 2015
November 18, 2015
Captains Log 16.11.15
The riders are gathering and it’s time for the briefing. The core group have already had a two hour session on the campaign and messages a month ago, so this will be a good refresher. It’s great to see everyone including our North Island Riders who join us each year for this epic journey. A visit to the Classic Museum is a must, and it was a great place for a group photo.
Captains Log 17.11.15
The South Island White Ribbon Ride kicked off from Zumo’s Coffee House in Nelson this morning, with a sizeable crowd and a great turnout of bikes. Everyone was pleased to offload all the extra bags and luggage into the Support Van driven by our two Army Support Drivers. A fairly brisk tail wind had us at Talley’s for a good chat and a delicious lunch that they provided. There was a mad rush mid lunch to rescue the helmets and gloves from a classic West Coast downpour. It then rained intermittently through to Greymouth. A quick stop over at Punakaikai where Tiki was absolutely speechless, having never been there before.
Dinner was provided by Soroptomist Club in Hokitika and everyone came away with a full stomach and many great conversations. Plans are afoot for Whitebait for Breakfast….there’s no place quite like the Coast and we are always given a big welcome.
Its been a big day, but its been good riding with good people and our message is being well received.
Captains Log 18.11.15
Rain overnight in Greymouth but we woke to a crisp clear morning. The West Coast is not the West Coast without a feed of whitebait and we were very lucky to not only have White bait for Breakfast but had it cooked for us too! Two pieces of bread with a big fat Pattie jammed in the middle… Heaven!!
First stop of the day was John Paul School where we were given a wonderful welcome by the students and staff. The students listened intently to our Speakers and our hope is that they build on what they have heard and become a catalyst for change. Students performed a Haka Whakamutunga (closing haka) in homage to Nga Ripene Ma – White Ribbon Riders who turned out to tautoko (support) spreading the message.
We were then entertained by Tiki with a lively and interactive rendition of the Ripene Ma complete with actions.
The Primary School Kids were excited to see Boot wearing his Animal Mask and lined up along the fence to high five him.
Next stop was St Mary’s in Hokitika where we received another big West Coast welcome. Its heart warming to see the children so attentive and interested in our message. Once again maestro Tiki entertained the children (and the adults) with his ukulele and singing.
From Hokitika we left technology behind and rode in to the mountainous ranges on our trusty steeds…. hey ho Silver!
Ms Makere Rika-Heke
And now a word from one of our colourful returning riders from Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland)-Ms Makere Rika-Heke aka MAAKZ our Mellow Yellow rider and fashion challenged WR Sista. “So far the journeys been fraught with variable weather as we’ve tipi haere’d through a patchwork of gorgeous vistas. At each stop we’ve called into we’ve gotten a beautiful insight to community spirit and rural hospitality. Only days into WRR 2015 and already fast friends have been made in the pursuit of spreading the message about better healthy respectful relationships.
Wow! What an amazing country we live in, we had a fantastic ride right through from Hokitika to Haast. Riders are sorting themselves out as to where they want to be positioned, front middle or back, and its an awesome sight looking in my rear vision mirror to see the a long snake of head lights and helmets.
Captains Log 19.11.15
We had a great welcome at Haast school this morning, one wee fella, looked like a new entrant, had all the answers and was full of chat. But man did he scarper when the bikes started up. He took off inside and could only be coaxed back out with some fast talking from his teachers and the promise of a hug with Uki Bear our White Ribbon Mascot. The kids love sitting on the bikes, especially when the riders start them up and give them a few revs! All good fun !
Chucks turn for a few words.
Its great seeing the gleeful faces of the kids at schools when we roar in for a visit. The hospitality has been outstanding and the positive feedback about the message we are delivering is at times humbling. After a windy ride to Wanaka the team is now all tucked up in the accommodation block regaling each other with stories of past and present visits. Brian one of the riders decided to go for his morning run and returned in a state. When asked what had happened he informed us that the ground in the West Coast is not always the best, especially when you think you are light enough to skip across the surface and unfortunately find that a paddock full of cow manure does not hold a fully sized human. I always said that exercise is a risky business especially when done on paddocks used to dump cow effluent!
Captains Log 20.11.15
An early start this morning with a substantial breakfast at the Waterfront kindly provided for us again this year by Wanakai.
Our next port of call was the Wanaka Primary School. The welcome we receive from these young people is truly heart warming, the children perform with such great pride and enjoyment. Many of the children remembered us from last year and had a pretty good understanding of what the White Ribbon was all about.
An equally impressive welcome was waiting for us at St Marys Church Queenstown, with a stirring performance from their Kapahaka group. To see more and more people attending community events reinforces our commitment to the White Ribbon Campaign and the message that we bring. This year we are talking about Respectful Relationships, something we know can reduce violence if we know how to create healthy relationships.
Today we were joined by Brian Cadogen (Mayor of Clutha District) and a number of riders from the local area. We must make for quite a sight especially, to the large number of tourists in the area- heads turn, cameras are pointed, and questions are asked and answered.
We are overnight in Te Anau after a hard ride in the wind and then the rain from Five Rivers on-wards. However, we made it to our accommodation and to the events centre on time, where we were hosted by Southland Family Violence Focus Group and sat down to a beautiful meal. We were privileged to hear a young woman tell her story, a story of survival, strength and determination. We admire her courage and take strength ourselves from hearing her journey.
Well writing as a White Ribbon newbie I must say that my experience over the last few days has been quite humbling. The effort that has been put into the ride and the outstanding people I have met on this journey is unbelievable .The great thing about all this is the strong belief by all involved, is that we can make a difference!
To see a big rough biker like I saw today giving children big hugs, and the response from those children and parents was priceless.
The greetings from schools families, support groups encouraging the riders to continue this great cause is incredibly moving… and I will be back.
Thanks Ken Mahon
Captains Log 21.11.15
We woke to a wet morning, so wet weather gear was donned and when everyone was trussed up like Christmas Turkeys we headed off in the pouring rain to Tuatapere for Breakfast at The Last Light Café. One of our riders had a mishap with a faulty side stand and had a close encounter with the road. No serious injuries but nursing a few bumps and bruises.
Fed, watered and warmed we carried on with our journey, this time to the Riverton Union Church which is where my wife and I were married more than a few years ago. A good opportunity for us to renew our marriage vows so with Eru as celebrant Maarkz and Buzz as bridesmaid and best man (they lost interest and wandered off) Tiki as choir and organist, we said our I do’s, the Bride was kissed and were signed up for another 30 years.
The weather showed signs of clearing and our next engagement was the Invercargill Santa Parade. We met up with the Invercargill Soroptomist ladies and with bikes polished and the sun shining we did the slow trip round the streets of Invercargill. Hard work riding a big bike really slowly, but the crowd and the kids especially, loved the roar of our bikes. Except for one wee girl who said I like motorbikes and when I gave my bike a bit of a rev, she burst in to tears!
When we arrived at our accommodation the lady looked out the window and said to her husband “Gosh there are a lot of motorbikes outside. I think they are the people who are coming here.” He replied “No! no! no! the people staying here were meant to be riding bicycles!”
The last event of the day was hosted by Soroptomist Invercargill at St Andrews Church Community Hall beginning with yet another beautifully prepared meal. We were then welcomed to a Public Forum by Kaumatua Herewini Neho with Mayor Tim Shadbolt as guest speaker. Mayor Shadbolt spoke briefly about his own childhood experiences, and is supportive of White Ribbon. Two speakers from the White Ribbon Riders responded, both speaking in a manner that had everyone attentive and engaged. Big thanks to Joanne Fannin President Soroptomost International Invercargill, her team of ladies and Andrae Gold and Karen Aves ( Southland Family Violence Focus Group )
I’ve only been back from England for two weeks and find myself on the White Ribbon Ride for the third year. Jumping on the bike and riding round the South Island is always appealing. Seeing the faces of the adults and children as we travel around makes the sometimes long journeys easier. Being an Englishman I didn’t realise that the domestic violence in New Zealand was as serious as it is. If our message reaches one person at every event we attend, and they then go forward to make change, then we are succeeding. I feel it is a privilege to ride with like minded Kiwis, who are passionate about speaking out. Being a part of this makes me more determined to gain permanent residency and become a Kiwi. Roll on White Ribbon 2016.
Captains Log 22.11.15
A much needed rest day today, with bikes stowed under cover and riders relaxing, or catching up on washing at the Laundromat. Wet riding gear was spread around in an attempt to get everything dry while others caught up on sleep. Southland turned on one of its rough and wild days, starting with a brief thunder storm, you have to admire the people of Southland, thy carry on with their lives and activities regardless of the weather. Evan Brian and Chuck braved the tempest and went for a ride to Bluff.
Now for Brian’s Bit
2015 is my second ride/drive as last year I was asked to drive the support vehicle and trailer when the group was let down for a driver. I was so happy to be there having been a rider since away back in the late 1950s with my Norton Dominator it was going to be good to relive the days of my youth. I just happened to start taking photos along the way making up a photo record of the journey. At the conclusion of that ride I had 2355 photos. Unfortunately I was the only one to feel the full force of the law when I “accidentally” exceeded the speed limit by a whole 12km heading out of Tekapo and was chased by a frustrated officer who couldn’t pin anything on the riders ahead of me who were obeying the rules. I met so many people along the journey and I will remain friends with many of them for the rest of my life how ever long that will be with me being 74 now. Being a Great Granddad on a ride like this makes me realise just how lucky I am to be on these rides and when it’s all over for 2015 it will be a long wait until next November 2016.
Captains Log 23.11.15
We woke to a much better looking day and after sorting out a minor issue with our mobile WiFi we went on our merry way to Owaka through the Catlins, where we were once again delighted to be joined by Mayor of Clutha District Brian Codgan on his motorcycle. Great to have you along with us Brian, next year you should set aside a few more days! Strong gusty wind made for some hard riding with more than a few us getting pushed around on the road. Thankfully everyone remained upright. Our visit to Owaka School was very successful, and what a great group of students they were.
Also a privilege to meet the Young White Ribbon Ambassadors who are coming up with some very innovative ways of raising awareness. The students were delighted to receive a metal White Ribbon each and promised to wear them every day.
We were also joined in Milton by a large number of Patriots who accompanied us to the Milton Correctional Facility where the residents listened attentively to out speakers.
A few minor hiccups were sorted out when we reached Dunedin, with a new side stand having to be fitted to Maarkz Harley, a lump of wood is a bit difficult to carry around!
Today’s SI WRR departed this morning from Te Tomairangi Marae located in the inner city of Invercargill, from where we made our way via the famous motorcycling twists and turns of the Caitlans. True to reputation they did not disappoint, however coupled with the the fierce gusts of wind from the south east proved a challenge for the solid wheels of the Zeus (HD Fatbob).
Replenished by a hot drink from a cafe, it was off to the Owaka Area School to meet with year 7-10 children, who warmly responded to the message we shared about respectful relationships. This was followed by very yummy lunch at the Owaka cafe before proceeding to Balclutha for another brief stop with a group of young students known as the youngest ambassadors for the white ribbon campaign.
A slight dip in the gutter saw one of the ladies ever so gracefully drop her bike, coupled by another of the lady riders discovering she no longer had a jiffy stand on the ‘yellow banana’.
So off to Dunedin, quick smart for repairs, eventually arriving safely, but not without having indicators and bikes in a right turning lane before our road captain decided we actually wanted to go left, at our accommodation!
Captains Log 24.11.15
Another big day with more winds to keep us on top of our game. Today we split in to two groups with one group staying in Dunedin and attending a Breakfast Function at the Warehouse at Anderson’s Bay and a visit to an alternative education centre for troubled youth. The young people were attentive and were proud to talk about the work they have been doing. They are working on a “Bail on Bullying” project and have merchandise complete with a logo designed by one of their students. We were gifted magnets (yes they stay on the tank through howling gales and high speeds) stickers and badges and more to give to students at other schools we visit. They are really proud of their efforts and quite rightly too. Look them up www.bailonbullying.com
The other group of riders were attending events at East Otago High School in Palmerston followed by Waitake Girls High School in Oamaru. The the ride rejoined. There was a huge turnout of bikes from the local area as well as a number of Hot Rods and Police. We were an impressive sight as we made our way to Waitaki Boys High where we were greeted with an enthusiastic and passionate performance.
Just to make the day complete we had a beautiful meal at the Portside Restaurant down at the waterfront.
A big thank you to the organisers of events in Oamaru. Every year things run like clockwork, there is a big turnout of locals and we are well supported with Police escorts enabling travel from one venue to the next so much easier.
Every year on this ride for one reason or another I have to buy a new phone, thought I was going to get away with it this year until it jiggled its way out of the saddle bag and smashed into a thousand (no I didn’t stop to count) pieces on the road to Twizel. We were already playing catch-up when we left the Portside Restaurant. It was at that point Lib discovered that the front tyre on the mighty Moto Guzzi (now renamed Maori Cuzzie) had lost its roundness. For thoser of you who are not riders, tyres are supposed to be round! So two trucks, six men, and an hour and a half later it was repaired. We then headed to Twizel.
Big thanks to Jacob from Advantage The Tyre Professionals. Hope you got out of going to the barbecue that you didn’t really want to go to anyway Jacob (was that supposed to be a secret?).
Tommo and Ben the Support Van Men ( Tommo and Ben go Wild)
My names Ben Markman, I’m one of the two army drivers tasked to support the South Island White Ribbon Ride.
Before coming on the ride, I had heard of the white ribbon but didn’t know a lot about it or what the ride was about. Since being on the ride I have learn’t what this year and the previous years rides have been all about, and also the amazing message the riders are passing on to all the people they meet throughout their travels. After watching the riders talk to schools of 12 pupils on the West Coast through to big crowds in our larger towns, it has hit home how important the message is, and also getting it out to not only school kids but the wider community.
I am glad I have had the opportunity to support this years ride, and I hope next year to join the riders on a bike and help spread the message.
Captains Log 25.11.15
White Ribbon Day
The day got off to a good start with a barbecue breakfast prepared for us at the Twizel Fire Station. Big thanks go to Amy and her army of helpers. Our first visit to the McKenzie Country will certainly not be our last. The hospitality that has been extended to us right around the South Island is humbling.
Students at Twizel Area School were really interested in the White Ribbon and the older students have been given homework – following White Ribbon on Facebook and also checking the website.
The wind today was not nearly as fierce as the last couple of days but did push us around a bit in the McKenzie Country, easing as we got closer to Fairlie. Another successful visit to the local school in Fairlie.
High temperatures had riders stripping off to the bare essentials (no skin showing) and there are a few sun-burnt noses. Our accommodation in Ashburton has a pool, it was soon filled with swimmers cooling down.
We were guests at a Quiz Night organised by Stopping Violence Ashburton with a crowd of around 200 people. An excellent opportunity for our speakers to tell our story. Neither of our teams, the Screaming Eagles or Full Throttle did terribly well at the Quiz, however we did win the White Ribbon section which is just as well, it would have been quite embarrassing to get those questions wrong!
Captains Log 26.11.15
The last day of the South Island Ride. As we pass through home towns of riders some are leaving, sad to see them go, tinged with bit of own bed envy!
We had a fantastic welcome at Ashburton Intermediate this morning, students all waiting for us on the tennis courts and just loved climbing on the bikes. By the time we left everyone was wearing a White Ribbon and Tiki had everyone learning a new Haka with some excellent facial expressions from many of the kids.
Hot riding today, good to get out on the open road to Kaikoura where we visited
Hapuku School. A lovely school in a beautiful setting. We had a short time with the kids before their school bus arrived. There was a wee dog there that barked and barked at the bike and when Maarkz went to leave it chased her out to the gate barking its head off.
We had wild wind from Kaikoura on and it was a relief to have everyone arrive safely in Blenheim at the Railway Station where a crowd were having a grand time in the carpark all themed around White Ribbon. Great to see so many people in attendance and we were entertained with a very professional Kapahaka Group.
So, the last day of the 2015 ride. This ride is the highlight of the year for many of us. Already we are talking about what we could do and where we could go next year. I feel very proud to be part of this campaign and am privileged to have such great people to ride alongside. Thank you to everyone who has taken part, riders, support people, organisers of events and people who attend. Without you the campaign would not be as successful as it is and our reward will be a reduction in the number of Domestic Violence Incidents.
See you next year!
Lib Has The Last Word
It is a privilege and an honour to be part of this campaign alongside such a wonderful group of people. Each one of us brings something unique and special to the ride and together we make for a united and well focused team. When I think of the White Ribbon Riders, I think of whanau.
This campaign always brings to my mind the words of a Madden Brothers song “We are done with being the silent many” So we will continue to take part in the ride, we will continue to speak up about domestic violence and our Grandson has promised to take over when Grandad is too old to ride his motorbike.