Community Spirit

Dannevirke in the lower North Island has a population of just over 5000. Despite its relatively small size the White Ribbon Ambassadors and supporters in the area have created an impressive programme of regular events to help prevent men’s violence against women. White Ribbon Ambassador Tamai Nicholson leads the local Ambassador cluster and has been influential in raising the profile of White Ribbon in the Dannevirke community over the past few years.

Last year’s Dannevirke White Ribbon dinner catered to 83 guests! There was even a White Ribbon float in the local Christmas parade, featuring a black car decorated with White Ribbons. The local White Ribbon committee runs an annual programme, aiming to have regular quarterly events.

This year they have already been involved in a joint community event with Tararua Youth Services and Tararua REAP called “take it to the streets”, which aimed to connect with families that can be hard to reach in order to develop trust with the services available in the Tararua District. They set up a table with fruit so that people could make their own fruit kebabs, which was very successful with children and adults alike. They also handed out White Ribbon Tattoos, which proved very popular.

The first female White Ribbon Ambassador in the Tararua region Deanna Veerkamp, herself a survivor of domestic violence, has played a major role in organizing the events. She also found that men who had stood up and taken the pledge sometimes struggled to know what to do after that, so she started making up little packs that include all the services available in Dannevirke that can assist men who want to change.

The Dannevirke White Ribbon Committee are currently planning an event in August featuring White Ribbon Ambassador Jude Simpson, who is the Royal New Zealand Police College’s Victims Manager and a tireless advocate for violence prevention.

One key to the success of Dannevirke’s White Ribbon events in recent years is the relatively high number of Ambassadors in the area to spread the kaupapa and the workload. There are four Ambassadors in Dannevirke and three others in the wider region.

If you would consider being nominated or would like to nominate someone else in your community to become a White Ribbon Ambassador, please download the application form here or get in touch with the Campaign team ( for more information.

If you have any stories about White Ribbon events in your area, please get in touch. We would love to share them with the White Ribbon community.

Three generations of White Ribbon Ambassador Deanna Veerkamp’s family working together to prevent men’s violence against women. Deanna sewed cloth White Ribbons onto her daughter and granddaughters’ t-shirts for the event. Another daughter, who couldn’t be there on the day assisted in putting together over 500 packs for them to hand out on the day. They also had balloons and temporary tattoos for the children.

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