A new Ambassador is part of a team that has developed a life-saving social services app

Southteam_008-3We are delighted to announce the appointment of new White Ribbon Ambassador, Akerei (Rei) Maresala-Thomson.

A former police-officer, Rei is now the General Manager of The Village Collective, an organisation equipping Pacific youth and families with knowledge, resources, and information relating to sexual health and well-being. With aspirational goals for his organisation to change the current social landscape of Pacific youth statistics, Rei has set some outcomes through grassroots, strength-based and sustainable solutions. Rei promotes education around a wide range of issues to migrant communities as he believes we are fighting a losing battle with more entering New Zealand without proper pre-migration training of our common laws, road rules and budgeting advice. In essence, the basics to give them a strong foundation of where to start. He is seen as a strong leader in the community, especially within Pasifika groups, and ‘walks the talk’ when it comes to bringing an end to men’s violence against women. Because of this, he has recently been asked to speak at the 22nd International Summit on Violence, Abuse and Trauma run by IVAT in San Diego, USA. 

rei with app

Rei has been in the news already by helping to develop a life-saving social services app. Stuff recently reported on his achievement of releasing the MYRIVR app, which gives users access to more than 6800 providers from emergency helplines, education needs, government agencies, youth services, Maori and ethnic services and more. Rei said, “the app makes the process of accessing help simple.”

It is interesting to understand what motivates Rei to be so passionate about empowering other people to make better lives for themselves. Rei’s family is originally from Samoa and the transition to New Zealand was not easy back in the early 80s. His parents were ill-prepared for life in Aotearoa and this led to violence. “My parents didn’t even know what an IRD number was” Rei says. Fast-forward to the present and Rei and most of his siblings are now helping to provide the integration into New Zealand culture that their own family did not have.  They hope they can make positive changes in the fields of family violence, sexual abuse and health, so that others don’t suffer the same experiences.











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White Ribbon is a community led campaign to end men's violence towards women

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