Kids and Gender Toolbox

The new White Ribbon toolbox has gone from black and white to rainbow, says manager Rob McCann.

“We’ve teamed up with experts to develop Kids and Gender, for parents and whānau with kids who break gender rules. These kids often get bullied – boys who want to wear nail polish or play with dolls, or girls who refuse to wear skirts and want to play with trucks. Sometimes this means getting picked on at school, or by older siblings, parents or extended families.”

White Ribbon’s kaupapa of working to end men’s violence towards women includes talking about how to challenge ideas about gender that are the breeding ground for unhealthy attitudes and behaviour.

“The new toolbox is really for parents who haven’t yet connected with the Rainbow world, so they can understand what is happening better, and be loving and supportive of their Rainbow children,” says Mr McCann. “It’s a journey my family have been on too, so I feel like I understand some of the questions that come up. White Ribbon is thrilled to offer some support for families like mine.”

Toolbox author, Sandra Dickson, says plain language is important. “One of the things every parent I talk to says is ‘what do all these words mean?’ We also wanted to point parents to all the awesome information out there – from parent supports to takatāpui resources, to groups for young people who are questioning their sexuality or gender.”

Author – Sandra-Dickson

Ms Dickson, Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura – Outing Violence project manager, says parents mostly just want to know how to support their kids. “We wanted to help answer their questions and make sure they realise they are not alone. Lots of other parents have worked out how to support their Rainbow kids. And honestly, that’s the most important thing to do as a parent – find support for yourself so you can be there for your children.”

“Some parents get worried about what it might mean when they become aware their child is queer or trans. But your child is still the same person – they have just told you a bit more about who they are.”

Nathan Bramwell, manager at Rainbow Hub Waikato, agrees. “We hear from young people all the time, wanting help to deal with families that are struggling to accept them. It’s pretty tough for parents, they don’t always know what their kids need.”

“We also have parents who come and sit in on our youth groups, just so they can be sure their young person is ok. That’s fabulous, and we’re always happy to see that. We’ve seen from parents that having a safe place for their young people, where they can also get support for themselves is a huge relief.”

“One of the parents who reviewed the resource for us asked if she could send it to her parents, then and there,” says Ms Dickson. “She said they wanted to know how to support their trans grandchild.”

Mr Bramwell is also keen to get Kids and Gender out there. “We will be offering this resource to everyone we can! It’s honestly so good to have information we can give out to parents and families that is positive, and doesn’t treat having Rainbow kids as a problem to solve. Our parents really like talking to other parents too, so it’s great the resource is suggesting parents get support, so they can be there for their kids.”

“It’s great to work with other organisations on this kaupapa, helping families and whānau to be safe and welcoming for Rainbow young people. It’s the work we do every day in our Waikato communities.”

The Toolbox was launched online on Monday 29 November, and the webinar will be available here (soon).



supported by:










Checkout our other Toolboxes. While the terminology in the other resources is primarily directed at men or boys, the concepts are universal.

Shining A Light on White Ribbon Day

Today on Parliament steps, White Ribbon was represented by White Ribbon Ambassadors: Air Marshal Kevin Short, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, Judge Peter Boshier, Hannah Dorey, Mark Shepherd and White Ribbon Riders.

White Ribbon Patron, Judge Boshier spoke of the need for change, Commissioner Coster spoke about the Stories of Change that his own officers shared to inspire others, Air Marshal Kevin Short talked about the need to create a Call-In Culture to inspire real change.

Then White Ribbon Ambassador Hannah Dorey shared her ‘story of change’. It was a humbling moment to hear something so personal and so powerful, on the steps of our lawmakers and in front of the Ministers for Family and Sexual Violence Prevention, Corrections, Justice and Women along with MPs from across all of Parliament. Here is that speech:


White Ribbon Speech
25th November 2021

Kia ora everyone,

I’ve always seen myself as a strong person, ever since I was a kid I was determined to run the fastest and prove my strength to every person in the room. By the end of primary school I gained my junior black belt in Rhee Tae Kwon Do and knew at that moment that I could take on anything. Until the nights came where I remembered I was trapped in an unsafe house that was supposed to be a home. Until the first time a boy kissed me when I didn’t want him to. Until I turned eighteen, and was groped and touched every Saturday night in town.

So I stopped wearing skirts, and dresses, and started inspecting the colour of my drink and holding my hand over the brim of my glass. The first time I was sexually assaulted I didn’t know it was wrong, you see I had been drinking and the next morning I convinced myself that I had somehow asked for it. But there were parts I didn’t remember, moments I wasn’t sure happened. So how could I claim anything? After all, it really could have been my fault.

The second time I was sexually assaulted my entire body felt broken, numb. As much as I willed myself to move, I couldn’t. Those memories, will forever visit me in my nightmares. Those moments are what make me jump when someone touches my arm, they’re what make me hold my keys between my finger and thumb when I walk home at night. They remind me of the young kid that was so certain they could take on anyone and anything. That they would never be in danger.

Healing isn’t linear, there’s always going to be setbacks, days and nights when you feel trapped in your own skin. I am not healed, when a part of you is taken like that, it feels impossible to heal. But I realised that I didn’t want to hate myself for someone else’s action. So I decided to speak, to shine a light on what happens behind closed doors. That’s when I discovered White Ribbon had the same goals as me. I first found them in a school hall where I listened to stories of change, stories that made me believe I could heal, stories that made me believe we could change.

So I speak to you now, whoever is listening; my story is not uncommon, my story is one of millions. And although I am healing there are ways to prevent this. We must teach one and other what respect means, we must remind our friends and family that consent is a human right. We must have these conversations, even if they are hard, even if they can be uncomfortable at times.  We must try, because if we continue to keep our secrets hidden in the crevices of our keys, or the bottom of our drinks then we will never know change.

It takes all of us, and the goal of changing unhealthy attitudes is daunting to me. Some days, I have no hope that we can do it. But it’s days like this that remind me we can, our attitudes must learn to grow with us.

So I ask you, a simple favour; start that conversation, teach, listen and learn. I am not ashamed of myself the way I used to be, instead I plan to keep talking, to be the voice of change and speak as loudly as I can to get our society’s attention. It doesn’t seem like much, I know, but a conversation can very easily change someone’s life.

Kia Ora


The White Ribbon Riders then took central stage, still with tears in their eyes to share their journey, and the need to ask for help, especially when victims become perpetrators. Mark Shepard then handed those Stories of Change to Minister Davidson, who spoke eloquently about what these stories and Hannah’s personal account meant to her. The Minister then spoke about the work across all of government and the strategy that she will launch in just a few weeks. The event was then closed by the Minister of Justice who thanked all the participants and the MPs with a special mention for the work the Riders, Hannah and all the other anti-violence advocates undertake.

You can watch the Facebook Live Stream here, the event begins at 8mins in.

You can watch Hannah talking about the issue of consent below.


Special credit to Damon Keen for many of these photos.



Call-in Culture if you want change



You can help prevent men’s violence towards women by being a positive influence on other men.

“Effective prevention has to move beyond just saying violence is wrong,” says White Ribbon Ambassador Richie Hardcore. “We need to promote alternative healthy behaviours such as Respectful Relationships, Healthy Masculinity and Consent so we’ve created a new video and added a new Toolbox to help men get comfortable with the concept.

If we want change, we must encourage boys and men to recruit and educate other boys and men in ways that lift each other up. An effective way to do this is by ‘inviting’ men, rather than indicting them. This means not only modelling positive behaviour in front of each other, but also understanding that other men might be at a different part of their journey and still working it out for themselves.

“It’s easy to call people out, and let’s face it, we have to call out violence or bad behaviour,” says Mr Hardcore. “Saying nothing simply allows the perpetrator to believe their behaviour or attitude is ok. But we need to be more subtle and start calling people in, not simply calling them out.

Call-In Toolbox“If we want people to change, we need to learn how to effectively engage them, and have meaningful conversations to promote sustained change. The reality is, that believing in the rigid rules of masculinity is 20 times more likely to predict committing violence than other demographic factors like ethnicity, age or income.”[1]

“That means the beliefs that fuel violence are far more entrenched and possibly learned behaviour. Instead of jumping down your mate’s throat for saying the wrong thing, try asking questions: If your mate says something sexist, ask them why they think that, or where they got that idea from? You could tell them that you don’t understand and ask them what they mean. You can also draw on your own values that support respectful behaviour.”

David Cournane, White Ribbon Ambassador and deputy principal of Aotea College agrees. “Once upon a time if you were coaching a team you would have highlighted mistakes and used shame to call out unwanted behaviours. While we still have to correct errors, there is now much more of a focus on finding those moments where the players are doing something well, and using these as key learning moments.  With a focus upon growing from our strengths and our successes, we are more likely to engage those around us.

“I know that being empathetic, and understanding the drivers behind someone’s behaviour, and speaking to those issues, is far more effective than just simply calling someone out. If you want people to change, you’ve got to give them a reason to change, and that requires being empathetic and kind,” says Mr Cournane.


Call-in Culture

Talk with other men

We’re all on a journey to reduce and eliminate men’s violence and we need to demonstrate not just why something is harmful, but that there are alternatives that are more fulfilling. In this journey, it is important to involve men in violence prevention efforts, not only because men perpetrate the majority of violence, but because men can play a positive role in intervening in this space.[1]

Most men think violence against women is unacceptable. In fact, men routinely overestimate other men’s comfort with sexist, coercive, and derogatory comments and behaviours.[2] Research repeatedly shows that most men are uncomfortable when other men act in sexist and discriminatory ways, but are afraid to raise this because they believe they are in a minority.[3] Yet, men also drastically underestimate other men’s willingness to intervene in violence against women.[4]

As recent research in Aotearoa has shown, when given the chance to speak openly and safely about difficult questions of sex, gender, and ethics, some young men engage in critical and thoughtful ways around topics that they often find difficult to discuss.[5] Thus, while we must continue to hold individual men and male dominated institutions responsible for their actions, we can avoid language that implies that all men and boys are to blame, and instead harness their sense of fairness and their frustration with witnessing injustice.[6]

Shining a Light can make a difference: Invited, not indicted

You can help prevent violence by being a positive influence on other men. Effective prevention moves beyond simply stopping violence into promoting alternative healthy behaviours. We must encourage boys and men to recruit and educate other boys and men in ways that lift each other up. An effective way to do this is by ‘inviting’ men, rather than indicting them. This means not only modelling positive behaviour in front of each other, but also understanding that other men might be at a different part of their journey and still working it out for themselves.

So, when someone says something stupid online, or says something sexist in real life, this is an opportunity to effectively engage them and have meaningful conversations to promote sustained change. But jumping down your mate’s throat for saying the wrong thing might not be the best way to get him to change his behaviour. Instead, try asking questions: If your mate says something sexist, ask them why they think that, or where they got that idea from? You could tell them that you don’t understand and ask them what they mean. You can also draw on your own values that support respectful behaviour. These could be cultural values, such as the Tikanga Māori values of Mana Tāne, Mana Wahine, religious beliefs, or general ideas like Everyone’s equal or A fair go for all.

Stay cool and calm, and really try to listen

Because some men are used to fighting, conflict, and arguing, it can be very disarming to show some compassion and care.  Take every opportunity to talk to men about how men are portrayed on TV, among friends, and in whānau. Talk to them about the ‘man box’ – where men must appear tough, aggressive and in charge in front of other men. Listen and encourage them to try out different ways to express their identities and values.

Check out White Ribbon’s toolbox on Breaking out of the Man Box

[1] Flood (2020).

[2] Baker, (2013).

[3] Katz, (2018); The Men’s Project & Flood, (2020).

[4] Baker (2013).

[5] Gavey, et al. (2021).

[6] Kaufman, (2003).

[1] The Men’s Project & Flood, M (2020).

Shine a Light on Stories of Change

White Ribbon is gathering ‘stories of change’ to Shine a Light on violence prevention and what works.

White Ribbon’s annual November campaign is sharing the real-life experiences of both perpetrators and survivors to highlight the need to tackle men’s violence towards women. The charity is asking people to submit their ‘story of change’, via a secure website in any format e.g. a video, word document or audio file.

“We want to shine a light on what works and what supports people to change,” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann. “We know that when you have real life examples of change, that can be really motivating. But all too often, most of us don’t share our stories of experiencing or breaking the cycle of family violence. Too often these parts of our lives are hidden in the shadows in much the same way that family harm is often hidden behind closed doors.”

“Our first story this campaign is being told by Catherine Daniels, a new White Ribbon Ambassador who experienced childhood trauma and sexual abuse. Unable to talk about the abuse she suffered, she began her own journey of healing by telling her story through her sculptures and art,” says Mr McCann.

While telling her story has helped Catherine heal, she has also helped many survivors to recognize their own experiences in the artwork, and enabled them to begin their own journey of healing.

“My husband and I had been married for nearly eight years before my secrets made me sick enough, that I couldn’t hold them in any longer. When I opened up to him about my childhood sexual abuse, he struggled to cope. It was easier for him to shut his anger down and say all that stuff is grey. I don’t do grey. I only do black and white. My husband shut it out for over 25 years. We never spoke about it and when we did, it caused a lot of pressure on everyone.

“When I made the first girl sitting on her suitcase with a small teddy bear beside her, I brought it inside to show him. He said “what’s that?” I told him it was me as a little girl and read him out a small piece of writing I had written.

“He just looked at it staring as if he could finally see what had been hidden inside of me all those years. That was the light bulb moment for him and the start of ‘The Secret Keeper’ for me. Showing my husband what was hidden inside of me as something tangible that he could see and talk about, was like pulling a plug out of a dam we had both built up.

“For the next five years, emotions flooded out as we talked about every sculpture and read each piece of writing. These sculptures and their story have shown him an entirely different way. He has completely changed and is now able to see and think in grey, not just black and white, says Catherine.”

Stories of change can come in many forms, and by sharing your story, you might be able to inspire others to recognize their behavior or their experiences and help others find the strength to make a change.

For more information about this year’s White Ribbon Campaign or to share your story The campaign will also highlight four key messages; Healthy Masculinity, Respectful Relationships, Consent, Call-in Culture along with working the Disabilities sector and Rainbow community for the first time.

Video of Catherine Daniels speaking Permission is granted to download and/or embed
The Secret Keeper –  currently at the Exhibitions Gallery of Fine Art in Wellington until the 20th November
The Secret Keeper website
If you feel you need help after reading this article
More detailed information on this year’s campaign can be found here


Atene Skyline Track Trek

If you’re going to be in Wanganui on the 27th of November you might want to join Anne-maree Parker and her team as they challenge themselves to complete the Atene Skyline Track Trek to shine a light on domestic violence. It’s a great year for an outdoor event with plenty of fresh air!

She has organized this event as everyone knows someone who has experienced domestic violence and she wants to help to break that destructive cycle. She notes: “We want to bring this issue out into the open to be talked about because domestic violence can be quiet and deadly, unspoken and hiding behind closed doors.”

This year we are focusing on the things that work to help prevent violence and support positive change and Anne-maree offers some excellent advice that really does help. She thinks we need to be supportive of people affected by domestic violence, without judgement. “Being non-judgmental will empower them to see positivity in their life, that’s the goodness you can offer.” She adds by “being open and talking about it that opens doors toward change. It plants a seed in our community to reflect on.” Where better to think about these issues than surrounded by strong forests that started from a small seed!

We are also really grateful for Anne-maree’s efforts to support White Ribbon by setting up a givealittle page for the event. If you can’t make it but want to show your support for the kaupapa and Anne-maree’s efforts to support change, please consider making a donation.


Structured program for the Atene Skyline Track trek:

  • 06:15 Start arriving
  • Mark off names on attendance sheet
  • Issue entrants with white ribbon
  • 06:45 Run down of events
  • Quick talk about the purpose of the day
  • 07:00 Departure
  • 10:30 Mid way
  • Lunch
  • Quiz and prize
  • Photos
  • 11:30ish Head back out
  • E.T.A 16:30 Photos at end
  • Receive participant certificate
  • BBQ and refreshment to celebrate a wonderful day

To register please contact Anne-maree directly on 0272955456 or via email ANNEMAREEPARKER78@GMAIL.COM

The Secret Keeper

We are excited to be working with Catherine Daniels to shine a light on her exhibition The Secret Keeper that we know will have an important impact on community understanding of the issues of childhood trauma and sexual abuse throughout New Zealand. The exhibition has already been shown in Palmerston North and Whanganui, and has provoked powerful responses in viewers from those communities.

After its initial exhibition in Whanganui at the Community Arts Centre, Russell Simpson the Chief Executive of Whanganui DHB invited Catherine to take The Secret Keeper to the hospital to help staff and public gain more awareness about childhood trauma and sexual abuse. A number of clinical psychologists have commented on how valuable the exhibition was both for their clients and for themselves in gaining a deeper understanding of the lived experience of complex trauma.

On the 21st of October the exhibition is opening in Wellington at the Exhibitions Gallery of Fine Art (20 Brandon Street) and we urge you to go along and see it in person. After Wellington, it is heading to Napier where it will be shown at the Community Arts Centre from the 18th March through to the 7th April.

It is extremely hard to talk about trauma and abuse and one story Catherine shared really resonated with us. She said: “My husband and I had been married for nearly eight years before my secrets made me sick enough, that I couldn’t hold them in any longer. When I opened up to him about my childhood sexual abuse, he struggled to cope. It was easier for him to shut his anger down and say all that stuff is grey. I don’t do grey. I only do black and white. He shut it out for over 25 years. We never spoke about it and when we did it caused a lot of pressure on everyone. When I made the first girl sitting on her suitcase with a small teddy bear beside her, I brought it inside to show him. He said “what’s that?” I told him it was me as a little girl and read him out a small piece of writing I had written. He just looked at it staring as if he could finally see what had been hidden inside of me all those years. That was the light bulb moment for him and the start of The Secret Keeper for me. Showing my husband what was hidden inside of me as something tangible that he could see and talk about was like pulling a plug out of a dam we had both built up. For the next five years, emotions flooded out as we talked about every sculpture and read each piece of writing. These sculptures and their story have shown him an entirely different way. He has completely changed and is now able to see and think in grey, not just black and white.”

The age range of people visiting has been from 4 years old to over 90. Many have opened up for the first time. One elderly lady visited and talked about her childhood trauma. Catherine recalled: “The next day she returned and waited to speak with me. She handed me her journal with a pencil drawing of two faces. The first face had stitches covering the mouth. The second face, the mouth was open with no stitches, but tears of red blood were around the mouth and dripping down the face. She talked with me some more and said ‘thank you for taking the stitches off my mouth, but there is still pain and hurt inside’. I handed back her journal and felt the power of her drawing and the conversation it had started.” Catherine also spoke about a small girl who looked at one of the sculptures with many faces inside her tummy and turned to her mother and said to her ‘see mummy I told you I had them in my tummy just like that little girl’

Originally the exhibition contained 49 sculptures, but they keep growing. Catherine has created 7 new sculptures for Wellington that haven’t been exhibited before. There will also be some sculptures for sale at the Wellington exhibition. Catherine has worked with a team of creatives who have provided vital support and who have brought their own skills to help share Catherine’s story and make it accessible in a range of formats.

Catherine has created a book that brings her words and sculptures together. It is both beautiful and extremely moving. The Secret Keeper has been published by Joan Rosier-Jones and Gayelene Holly of Tangerine Publications. They have been such an important part of Catherine’s journey. From the first day Catherine met with Joan, she talked with her and supported her every week over a five-year period to help get all Catherine’s childhood trauma written down on paper.

Award-winning photographer Esther Bunning is also a vital part of the team. She has made a new range of prints featuring Catherine’s sculptures for Wellington and for the first time a limited edition range. Esther’s work is organic and emotive, and adds another level of humanity to the work. She helps people view the world a little differently than what they’re used to, with her creative use of in-camera techniques and a love of unconventional storytelling. Using her visual voice to make a difference, or bring awareness for those who can’t speak for themselves is something she is passionate about. There is also a video that plays at every exhibition made by Terry Hann that shows some beautiful images of the girls in the studio and being made.

These sculptures enabled Catherine to portray her emotions and trauma in something tangible that others could see and start to understand. “The power my husband and I have found in turning my emotions into the writing and these sculptures has had a huge impact on our own lives and the lives of others”.

We asked Catherine if she had anything she wanted to say to the White Ribbon community and this is her response: “The Secret Keeper project is the most powerful thing I have ever done. There are so many different ways to deal with trauma, violence isn’t one.”

The book, photographs, sculptures and box sets are available on the website. Catherine has generously given us three box sets to give away over the next three weeks. If you would like to go in the draw to win one of the sets below all you need to do is follow this link, like it and share it on your social media page. Then please send a screen shot to either or message White Ribbon on FB to go into the draw. One box set wlil be drawn each week.

Share Your Story Of Change

click the button below to upload your story of change


Gathering of Stories
This year as part of the White Ribbon Campaign we want to collect stories of change to help shine a light on what works in violence prevention in our communities. We know there are many people who have really inspiring stories of change and redemption that could help people who are currently trapped in abusive, violent and unhealthy relationships. We want to know how you coped, where you got the support, and the tools that helped to change your situation. We want to hear from both former perpetrators and survivors.

We want to make it as easy as possible to take part, so there are a range of ways you can get involved and share your story. Our White Ribbon Riders are travelling the South Island and will collect stories in person, so you can attend a local event and take part that way. You can use Messenger on Facebook to share your story with us privately, either in text or by video. You can post to your own Facebook page and use the hashtag #WRstoriesofchange or #ShineALight. You can click the button above that allows you to upload videos, images and documents, and of course you can always send us your story by email to

We want to share your stories with the wider community so, however you get in touch, please tell us whether you give permission for your story to be shared, and if so, whether you are happy for your name to be used, or whether you would prefer to be anonymous. Either is absolutely fine and we realise it is sometimes not safe or appropriate to provide your details. Please share this invitation with people you know who might want to take part. As always, we are so grateful to the White Ribbon community for standing up, speaking out and acting to prevent violence. It really does make a difference.

You can find out more about this year’s campaign here.

Judge Singh’s poem for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

White Ribbon Ambassador Judge Ajit Swaran Singh delivered the poem below to two Auckland community groups to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Judge Singh has long been a vital advocate for violence prevention and we are thrilled to be able to share his poem with you. It is especially relevant this year as we begin to work with groups that have been historically marginalised, including the elderly. The original text is in Hindi (using the English alphabet) and the English translation is in brackets below.



World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

12 June 2021        Bharatiya Samaj

19 June 2021        Shanti Niwas

Edited version: 


Viswah ke buzurgo joh hai zurm ke sikaar

(World’s Elders who are victims of abuse)

Jaankari mileh woonhe kya hai woon ka adhikaar

(Need to be made aware of their rights)

Ishwar kripa kare woonhe kabhi koi dukh nah pahuchaye

(Pray no one ever abuses our Elders)

Nah hum jurm kare, jurm sahe kar nah chup rahe, jurm dekh hum jurm ke khilaf awaaz uthaye

(Never commit elder/family violence nor condone it or remain silent when you witness elder/family violence)


Sharirik ho yah mansik, jurm burzurgo par gambhir dukh pahuchaye

(Whether physical or psychological, abuse inflicts serious harm/trauma on our Elders)

Paisa loote, tana mare, ana jana par pabandhi lagai aur pidhith (पीड़ित’) ko rahat na dilwaye

(Financial abuse, verbal abuse, restrictions on social interactions and/or failure to provide necessaries of life/treatment)

Aise ghatia harkatoh koh hum zurm kahelaye

(Such inhumane conduct constitutes abuse)

Jo buzurgo par kare atyachar

(Those who commit abuse on Elders)

Hum sab mil kar badleh woon ka ghatia soch aur bichaar

(Our responsibility is to change/rehabilitate perpetrators inhumane conduct/mindset)

Prayaas kare: buzorgo ke saath hum insaniyat darshai

(We should treat Elders in a humane way)

Woon ke saath ijjat aur prem ka rishta hum sada nibhai

(Our relationship with our Elders should be one of mutual respect & affection)

Hum woonhe khusiyah deh beshumaar

(We should give them infinite happiness)

Woon ko hum deh azzadi aur anant pyar

(From us, they deserve independence & infinite love)

Har lambhe woon ke chehere par ho muskaan

(May eternal smile adorn their faces)

Maast ho kar weh chumeh sitaro seh jagmagati hui aasman

(Joyfully, may they embrace/kiss star studded sky)

Tabhi puri hogi hamare buzurgo ka armaan

(Only then would their aspirations be fulfilled)

Saraahane (सराहनीय) hai woon ka balidan

(Commendable is their sacrifice)

Anmol hai woon ka yogdan

(Invaluable is their contributions/legacy)

Uttam parvarish ke liyeh hum par hai woon ka ehasaan

(For the wonderful way in which they have nurtured us, we are ever so grateful & indebted)

Hamare purvajo se hame mili hai bahoot maan aur shaan

(To our Elders, we owe our success & fame)

Kush kishmat walo ko hi milti hai itna anmol daan

(Fortunate ones are blessed with such invaluable gift)

Aaj hamare kaamyadi par hai woon ka ashirwaad

(For our achievements, we have their blessings)

Au hum sab mil kar tehe dil se woon ko deh hardik dhanyawaad.

(Together, let us acknowledge our Elders with heartfelt gratitude & appreciation)


सूभाग़ और अजित

Subhag Singh &

Dr Ajit Swaran Singh

District Court Judge

White Ribbon Ambassador

Challenging #outdated ideas can make a real difference

One thing that has been particularly powerful in the White Ribbon campaign over the past two years is the strength of the youth voices who have taken part. It is so important that we listen and learn from their experiences.

Charlie Simpson shared a powerful story last year that we really want to highlight. He spoke about a foster child who joined his family and the impact of his upbringing on his interaction in the family at the beginning. It is sad to hear there are still children being exposed to #outdated ideas like “men should be the boss” and “boys don’t cry” and learn about the impact those ideas have on a child.

However, the most powerful part of Charlie’s story is the change that occurred when his foster brother joined their family and saw new positive attitudes and ways of expressing his feelings. It highlighted the potential for change. We are not stuck with #outdated ideas and #unspoken rules. We can change and our kids will adapt. His story really emphasized the importance of being good role models for our kids.

If an idea is no longer fit for purpose, it is time to find a better way. No parent is perfect. We all have the potential to be better and do better with our kids. It is great to hear of an example of that capacity for change and it is clear that the young boy in the story will have a future with healthier relationships now that those #outdated ideas have been discarded for ones that support respectful relationships, where partners treat each other as equals and can openly express their emotions.

We have a number of toolboxes that may be helpful and while some like “Raising boys who respect”, mention a specific gender in their title they are appropriate for both girls and boys.

Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme in Christchurch

The Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme (YALP) is being held at Christ’s College on Friday 24 September from 9am-3pm and aims to give students the information about family violence and respectful relationships, and encourage students to find their own way of communicating this information to their peers. It is so important that young people get these messages not only from the adults in their lives, but also that they take some ownership of this issue if we want to see real change in Aotearoa.

Speakers include:


Richie Hardcore, educator, keynote speaker and activist, working in violence prevention, masculinities, mental health and wellness.

Richie is also a retired multiple New Zealand Muay Thai champion, and now works as a coach and personal trainer, having helped some of New Zealand’s most successful fighters achieve their goals. With a fighting career that spanned more than 20 years, he was paid to punch people in the face. These days, that energy is channelled towards Richie’s big mission – to help make the world better by supporting people to live their best lives. He’s spent time as a community worker in drug and alcohol harm reduction, is a campaigner against domestic and sexual violence, and a sexual consent educator. Richie is passionate about helping to overturn this country’s mental health statistics. An excellent public speaker, he’s also an experienced radio host and MC, using his skills to help educate, inspire and challenge.

Eteuati Ete (formerly of the Laughing Samoans)

Eteuati Ete is a comedian, actor, writer and theatre producer who has decided to use his profile and influence particularly amongst Maori and Pasefika to raise awareness of family harm by sharing his own story of family violence as a victim and a perpetrator. He and his wife Mele Wendt have over the last few years been sharing their lived experience of family violence, as presenters in the Nga Vaka Family Violence programme. They believe that “violence thrives in silence” and by speaking out they will encourage and embolden victims to find their own voice. They also provide practical advice on how they were able to eliminate the violence in their marriage. While Ete has been an actor for almost forty years who’s appeared in film, tv and theatre, having been one of the first Pasefika people to attend the New Zealand Drama School, he’s perhaps best known as one half of the highly successful Laughing Samoans comedy duo.

Mele Wendt MNZM, White Ribbon Ambassador

Mele Wendt has a past lived experience of family harm which she and her husband, Eteuati Ete, publicly speak about. Having survived a turbulent period over 20 years ago, they share the particular factors that enabled their marriage to become violence-free and to thrive. Professionally, Mele worked for 24 years in education – first as a secondary school teacher and then at Victoria University of Wellington as the founding Pacific Liaison Officer and the manager of the domestic student recruitment office. She then served ten years as the Executive Director of Fulbright New Zealand. In the past few years Mele has been serving on a number of boards (including Chair of the Pasifika Education Centre in Auckland) and providing consultancies in several areas. Mele is involved in a number of women’s organisations and Pacific community groups, including P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A., the national organisation for Pacific women. She is a strong advocate for and mentor to women and girls, especially in the Pacific community. Mele is Samoan and pakeha/palagi, and has lived in Wellington for over 30 years. With four grown children, she and Ete are doting grandparents of three grandchildren and recently Mele was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to governance, the Pacific community and women.

Rob McCann, White Ribbon Manager

Graduating from Otago University with a double degree majoring in law and drama, Rob has worked for both community organisations and commercial businesses as a manager, coordinator and leader and currently manages the White Ribbon anti-violence campaign. He’s also a first time councillor at the Kapiti Coast District Council. Rob has extensive experience as a speaker and presenter.



* Breakout sessions occur after each speaker.

Pre COVID, 30 schools and 240 students and staff attended the first full-day workshop with students reporting the event was ‘very engaging’, ‘should continue each year’, ‘thoroughly enjoyed the experience’, ‘would definitely attend in the future’ and ‘really enjoyed the day and learned a lot from it’.

• 86% felt the speakers helped them understand the causes of family violence
• 91% felt speakers helped them understand what a healthy relationship looks like
• 69% strongly agreed the speakers were engaging with a further 31% agreeing
• The workshop at the end of the day helped me come up with ideas of how to create change in my school or community (25% strongly agreed, 60% agreed, 13% neither agreed nor disagreed, and 2% disagreed).










The students also made some helpful suggestions which have been acted upon, such as more time for collaboration between students. This is now built into the programme with a reduced number of speakers and more post-session discussions. Three of these discussion sessions mix students from different schools together, while the final session is in school groups to brainstorm ideas that students can undertake to raise awareness, and highlight healthy relationships in their communities.
For more information on this year’s Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme click here.

  • Notes:
    The programme supports key messages from the Mates and Dates and Loves Me Not Programmes as evidence suggests that peer communication and multiple connections with anti-violence messages increase the chance of change.
  • Students will have the opportunity to learn about violence prevention and take a leadership role on the issue within their schools. As in previous years, we would prefer to focus on Year 12 and Year 13 students as they already have leadership roles within schools.
  • Schools that would like ongoing support will be assigned an adult White Ribbon Ambassador or staff member, to provide support for students and teachers involved in the programme.
  • The dress code is up to schools. Predominantly schools chose to send students in formal attire.
  • Schools that sent a teacher or support person found that this assisted their students, especially when it came to supporting the students to organise their activities when back at school.
  • Following the workshops, students have spread the kaupapa in their schools via a range of impressive activities including a spoken word competition.

How to Register

If you would like to register to be part of this programme in 2021 or would like further information, please contact or if you’d more course information from us and we will send out the registration forms.  There is no cost to participate in this programme as we do not want to create any barriers to participation, but we are very happy when schools allocate mufti days etc. to raising funds for our charity!

It is so important that young people get these messages not only from the adults in their lives but also that they take ownership of this issue and message if we want to see real change in the future.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us at any time. We look forward to working with you to help prevent violence in our community.