Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme

After months of planning, on Friday the 2nd of August our reinvigorated Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme launched in Wellington with 235 students from 30 secondary schools around the Lower North Island gathering at Wellington College for a full-day workshop.

These Year 12 and 13 students then returned to their schools as Youth Ambassadors. The workshop provided the Youth Ambassadors with an understanding of what domestic violence looks like in New Zealand and outlined the various forms of violence to ensure they realise it is not simply about physical abuse.

The importance of respectful relationships was highlighted and they learnt how to identify an unhealthy relationship.

Two presentations really stood out because they were lived experiences. Mark Longely spoke about his daughter Emily Longley’s death, and how that could have been prevented and the warning signs. Mele and Ete spoke about their marriage and the violence they both experienced (in Ete’s youth) and during their marriage. These presentations while confronting were inspirational, and each speaker throughout the day covered a range of key points that were carefully planned to provide a framework for students to then take action.

Students brainstorming at YALP Mayor Mike Tana addressing the students at YALP Eteuati Ete, formerly of the Laughing Samoans speaking

At the workshop they heard:

  • Mark Longleys retelling of his daughters death to encourage others to act

    the importance of this work and becoming a leader from Chief Ombudsman and Patron of White Ribbon Judge Peter Boshier

  • about what domestic violence is from the White Ribbon Campaign Manager Rob McCann
  • Local Mayors Justin Lester, Mike Tana and Ray Wallace talked about leadership
  • the tragic result when no-one intervenes to prevent violence from White Ribbon Ambassador Mark Longley
  • causes of violence such as socialisation, the man box and that change is possible and how it can be achieved and from Ambassadors Eteuati Ete and Mele Wendt
  • how best to respond to violence they witness from Police
  • how an initiative like the White Ribbon Ride can promote the kaupapa from White Ribbon Rider Rick Hepi
  • and how to make an event happen from Ambassador Ron Vink

Our aim is to empower these future leaders by giving them the tools to promote change. They have lots of fantastic ideas that they want to make a reality. Each school is being assigned an adult from the White Ribbon team to support them as they spread the kaupapa within their schools and communities.

Please write to us at if you are interested in bringing YALP to your school or community.

White Ribbon Ambassador Mele Wendt sharing her story with students White Ribbon Riders Rick Hepi, Mark Shepherd and Eric Campbell White Ribbon Patron Judge Boshier spoke about his experiences

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