White Ribbon creates positive change through youth poetry competition

Poetry is back. White Ribbon’s annual spoken word competition is returning this year with a new twist – it will be entirely online. High school students between the ages of 15 and 18 will now be able to enter regardless of where they live. “We’re very excited” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann “Taking the competition online means students can be heard from literally anywhere in New Zealand.”

The theme this year is Respectful Relationships, which research shows is a protection against violence. White Ribbon is focused on encouraging men and boys to be motivated and skilled to use respectful behaviours; ensure enthusiastic consent in their sexual relationships; to reject and Challenge the #Outdated rules around masculinity and role model concepts that support healthy masculinity.

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

Hannah DoreyHannah Dorey from St Mary’s College, was delighted to be named last year’s winner and take home the $500 cash prize. The sixteen-year-old’s piece ‘Respectfully’ focused on highlighting an unhealthy relationship and dedicating the poem to ‘respectfully declining’ that relationship. She wowed the celebrity judges and brought tears to the eyes of nearly everyone in attendance.

This year, selected finalists will be given the opportunity to take part in White Ribbon’s nationwide November campaign, and help make the change they envision.

This Spoken Word competition is open to all senior secondary school students in New Zealand and will be held on the evening of Thursday 17th September using a zoom link available here.

Entries close on Sunday 13th September, 7.00pm.

For more information or to submit your entry, follow this link or, email contact@whiteribbon.org.nz

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