White Ribbon creates positive change through youth poetry competition

1st place Hannah Dorey from St Mary’s College

White Ribbon held their first ever spoken word competition last night at Wellington College with the finalists performing in front of a stellar lineup of celebrity judges.

The event was hosted by talented Samoan comedian Eteuati Ete, of The Laughing Samoans, and featured a judging panel including: Justice – Parliamentary Under-Secretary Jan Logie, award-winning Poet Chris Tse, Kirsten Johnstone Host of Radio New Zealand’s Song Crush, and Cori Gonzalez-Macuer from What We Do in the Shadows and 7 Days.

Ete said the event was a wonderful way for young people to truly understand the importance of equal and respectful relationships as they’re starting to form relationships themselves. “I only wish we had these types of open discussions when I was at school. It would have assisted me in being a better husband and father from the beginning.”

The competition was open to high-school students and challenged the students to create a spoken word piece on the theme of ‘Respectful Relationships’.

The judges had a hard decision with all the finalists producing compelling work. Taking out first place was Hannah Dorey from St Mary’s College, whose poem focuses on building up the strength to ‘respectfully decline’ an unhealthy relationship.

Second place Charlotte Lawrence from St Oran’s Lower Hutt with Under Secretary Jan Logie

Second place went to Charlotte Lawrence from St Oran’s Lower Hutt and third Avni Labhsetwar, Newlands College.

Hannah believes it is important to show people that they can have the strength to walk away from an unhealthy relationship.

“Poetry has been used as a healing tool for many centuries and is making a comeback.” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann. “Finding the words to articulate a traumatic experience can bring relief. We created this opportunity to give young people a voice where their thoughts on family harm and violence against women could be heard. We are incredibly proud of all the students entries which had very inspiring takes on ending (men’s) violence in New Zealand.”

“We are grateful to our generous sponsors who made this event possible. We look forward to building on this experience and creating more opportunities like this for students throughout New Zealand”

White Ribbon is an anti-violence campaign that calls for men to stand up, speak out, and act to prevent violence against women. Family violence accounts for half of all reported serious crime in New Zealand, with one family violence-related police call-out occurring every five minutes. This year the November campaign will be focused on our youth.

Third place Avni Labhsetwar, Newlands College

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The finalists are being filmed in a studio and their spoken words will be used as part of the November Campaign.

You can see their videos here.

Rob McCann
Manager White Ribbon

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