The Death Podcast

Mark Longley speaks at a Parliamentary breakfast

Mark Longley is an Ambassador for White Ribbon, an organisation that began in response to the murder of 14 women in Canada and has now spread to 60 countries around the globe. Its aim is to speak to men, about men’s violence towards women and demonstrate the alternatives to violence – respectful relationships.

It’s a role Mark would never have taken on had it not been for the death of his daughter Emily Longley at the hands of a violent young man in the UK.

“As a parent that has lost a child, you are always trying to make sense of the tragedy. I donate my time to White Ribbon in the hope that no other family ever has to go through what we have endured. We talk about men taking responsibility to change the behaviour of our mates. In my daughter’s story, if just one of her boyfriend’s mates had not remained silent, Emily could be alive today. That’s a theme I return to, in the hope that I can influence other young men out there.”

Mark and Emily Longley

“But what I also noticed, is that we don’t talk about death. No one prepares us and the routines we have in place just don’t cut it.  We don’t know what to say or do when people experience the impacts of a death and I wanted to explore that.”

Mark and the Newshub team have put together a three part podcast which is about love, grief and hope.

“I have spoken to people who have experienced grief, from losing a father to suicide to a grandmother 20 years ago whose loss is still keenly felt. I spoke to experts and colleagues and looked at both the process of grieving and helping those we know are mourning. And here is the thing: death, for all its inevitability, sucks. It doesn’t matter if it is your daughter, your grandmother, your spouse or a relative, it sucks and yet it remains taboo in many societies, and I wanted to challenge that.”

The podcast is called Death and is in three chapters.

Emily Longley

  • Chapter 1. Death
  • Chapter 2. Grief
  • Chapter 3. Hope

“I know I’m on a journey and it’s taken me out of my comfort zone, but I do it to honour Emily, and play my part to reduce the level of violence in New Zealand. In December last year I spoke at two vigils for Grace Millane – the British backpacker who was murdered in New Zealand. It’s not something I would have done if my daughter were alive, but I know that work and this podcast are something Emily would be proud of.

“Death is going to come to us all, so this is a podcast for everyone, whether you are experiencing grief or know someone who is. We talk about death and loss, but also love and hope. I loved Emily and when she died, I almost died too. But I found a way through and I hope this podcast will help anyone else who is grieving find their way through it.”

Mark would like to thank everyone who took part as it takes courage to recount your own personal experiences and share them with the world.

Click to listen to the Death podcast on:












Newshub’s homepage for the show
Profile in The Guardian
Interview on Australia’s ABC network
BBC article


White Ribbon would like to acknowledge Newshub Reporting for support with this story.

Workforce Inclusion and Diversity conference

The 2nd Annual Workforce Inclusion and Diversity conference (Auckland, 28 – 30 August 2019) will feature over 30 diverse speakers, over 20 solution-focused case studies, and a number of interactive panels, roundtable sessions and inspirational keynotes to help you to implement best practice D&I strategies at your organisation.

Hear from:

  • Tamati Coffey, MP for Waiariki 
  • Anne Fitisemanu, Chief Executive Officer, Tupu Toa
  • Ailsa Claire, OBE Chief Executive Officer, Auckland District Health Board
  • Heather Shotter, Chief Executive officer, Palmerston North City Council
  • Chris Quin, Chief Executive Officer, Foodstuffs New Zealand
  • David Walsh, Chief Executive Officer, New Zealand Post 
  • Rachel Froggatt, Chief Executive Officer, Women in Sport Aotearoa
  • Glen Cornelius, Managing Director, Harrison Grierson

PLUS, our very own Anna Campbell, White Ribbon Board Member and Ambassador, on supporting employees in the workplace dealing with domestic violence.

And many others…

 Key themes to be covered:

  • Aligning D&I with business goals
  • Leadership development Maori and Pacific Islanders
  • Achieving gender equity, equality and balance
  • Intersectionality
  • Neurodiversity
  • LGBTQIA+ inclusive initiatives
  • Addressing unconscious bias, myths, assumptions
  • Improving mental wellbeing
  • Promoting religious diversity
  • Leading a multigenerational workforce
  • Inclusive workplace for staff with disabilities
  • Enablers for successful flexibility and work-life balance

For more information download the brochure or visit

To register, click here and apply VIP discount code ‘WR10’ to save 10% off your ticket!

Have questions? Email or call 02 91888 8950


White Ribbon Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme (YALP) Wellington

White Ribbon is teaming up with Wellington College to get our Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme underway in the wider Wellington Region. The White Ribbon Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme supports high school students to promote respectful behaviour.

We are holding a day long workshop on 02 August with Ambassadors such as Mark Longley, Eteuati Ete from the Laughing Samoans, White Ribbon Riders, NZ Police, local support services and all four local Mayors.

The workshop educates and activates young people, providing them with the knowledge and skills to lead and create action within their schools and wider communities and links them to White Ribbon Ambassadors who can mentor them.

Students then go back into their school communities as Youth Ambassadors  who are able to spread the kaupapa within their peer groups

Draft Programme

09:45am Welcome Welcome, overview and house rules

Gregor Fountain, Wellington College Principal

10:00am Overview of Family Violence in NZ An overview of the issue facing New Zealand including what family violence/harm actually is and who it affects and some of the responses to end violence.

Rob McCann, White Ribbon Manager

10:45am Emily Longley’s Story Emily Longley was murdered by her boyfriend and that could have been prevented.

Mark Longley, White Ribbon Ambassador and Board Member

11:00am Leadership What leadership looks like and how to get people on board to support an idea.

Mayors Ray Wallace, Wayne Guppy, Justin Lester, Mike Tana

11:50am Recap of morning activities David Cournane to lead the recap


noon Lunch  


12:30pm Violence in our homes and communities The effects of violence in homes and how change is possible.

Eteuati Ete (member of the Laughing Samoans) and Mele Wendt, White Ribbon Ambassadors




Police and Community response How the Police and Community Agencies respond to violence occurring and how they hope to prevent violence.
1:45pm White Ribbon Riders The White Ribbon Ride, plus opportunity for photos with bikes

Rick Hepi, White Ribbon Rider TBC

2:00pm How to create change Workshops on how to create change in your communities eg at school or in clubs

Led by Ron Vink, White Ribbon Ambassador

Students split into groups, each with a facilitator

Mark Longley, Rob McCann, Eteuati Ete, Mele Wendt, White Ribbon Rider, David Cournane, additional Ambassadors

2:40pm Wrap-up Summary of day’s learnings and the next steps

Mark Longley and Rob McCann


3:00pm Students depart  


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White Ribbon would like to acknowledge the Millane Family who have decided to donate proceeds from the sale of a bracelet made by and LL Loves which celebrates the life of their daughter Grace Millane who was murdered in New Zealand while backpacking.

  • To find out more about how the Youth Ambassador Leadership programme works click here.
  • To contact White Ribbon to discuss the YALP click here.


‘Harm Ends Futures Begin’ – David White’s story

David White on The AM Show 2019

When David White refers to himself as being ‘Just a granddad from Matamata’, you can’t help thinking if all granddads were like him, the world would be a better place.

David’s daughter Helen Meads was shot dead by her millionaire racehorse breeder husband Greg Meads 11 years ago. Just days earlier, she had finally declared she was leaving him after years of psychological and physical abuse, but he got to her before she could escape. Helen’s mistake was to tell him she was going.

To ensure stories like his daughters aren’t repeated, with the support of the Police, David has spent the last seven years sharing his experience with whoever needs to hear his message – health professionals, prisoners and the general public. He speaks from the heart. His story is confronting and he delivers it with real honesty and this resonates with his audiences. It gives them the strength to reach out, speak up for others or change their behaviour and David has made a difference.

People regularly call him to reach out about their situation. Hardcore prisoners have had light bulb moments after listening to what he has to say and vowed to change their ways. He has even had a letter turn up at home addressed to “Helen Mead’s Dad, Matamata’, from a random stranger asking for help.

Speaking to a packed room of health professionals at Northland DHB who regularly deal with family violence, David implored to them to not be “if only” people. He explained that he and several other people directly involved with Helen have had “if only” moments since her death and now it is time to stop being polite and to start making a change.

Before Helen married Greg, he made her sign a prenuptial agreement, and he held that over her throughout their turbulent marriage. Outwardly she was a happy person, who loved her horses, her kids and was a popular figure in the racing industry. Behind closed doors, Helen suffered at the hands of Greg. She did attempt to leave several times but never made it. When her mother and her daughter found out she had died, they both knew it would have had something to do with Greg.

Greg was convicted of her murder in 2010, but even from prison, he tried to keep control over her family. David and his wife Pam had to fight for the custody and financial security of Helen’s children, which lasted for nine long, expensive years. The children have suffered not only losing their mum but have had to live with the trauma of Greg being responsible, which the couple have had to navigate through.

Launching 'Helen, the Helen Meads Tragedy' in 2012

Launching ‘Helen, the Helen Meads Tragedy’ in 2012

During one of David’s presentations, he had a light bulb moment of his own when he realised for them to carry on and create a healthy environment for their grandchildren, they had to stop hating Greg.

With that, he set up a meeting with Greg in prison to discuss how to move forward for the kids, explaining that otherwise, they could lose them too. David agreed to support Greg’s release at his next parole hearing so he could be around as a father again and Greg broke down. He then decided to release his finances to support his children, which took just 12 minutes, after nine years of fighting.

“Greg has two and a half years until parole, and I’ll do all that’s required of me as far as corrections are concerned. We haven’t forgiven him, but what are our choices? We have none. We are doing this for our grandchildren.” David believes the key to change is to get people in danger to reach out and to equip those that they reach out to, to have the power to act. “We need to put confidentiality aside and put lives first. We have to understand that it’s all 100 percent preventable. It needn’t happen.”

Before this speaking tour, David approached 71 MPs around the country, asking them to support him. Only 44 responded. He still visited each of the 71 electorates, making 120 presentations from February until the end of May, because as he says, “Greg was worth $40,000,000, but he was still violent – violence knows no boundaries. Family violence is intergenerational, and we need to stop it. If we can raise the alarm, family safety teams can step in.”

Northland DHB violence intervention programme coordinator Paula Anderson says the Ministry of Health Violence Intervention Programme (VIP) has been in operation across all DHB’s in New Zealand since 2007. VIP aims to prevent and reduce health harm from family violence, specifically child abuse and intimate partner violence. VIP operates across all Northland DHB sites, and the VIP team provide consultation, support and training for all DHB staff around intervention in child abuse and intimate partner violence.

“It is important that ‘every door at Northland DHB is the right door’ for individuals seeking support for family violence. Every day, staff from around the DHB identify individuals and their children experiencing family violence, engage in safety planning and refer to external services and agencies to support the safety of the family/whanau.”

After his last presentation on Friday, David retired. He says he’s been speaking out for seven years and has decided to pull back as he’s lost resilience. He and Pam then ended this long journey by going to Spirit’s Bay, where they could finally grieve.

If you are in danger or are being subjected to sexual violence, call 111 – or call these 24 hour helplines:

  • Women’s Refuge (Females only) – crisis line available on 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843
  • Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust (Males only) – 0800 044 334 Rape Crisis – 0800 88 33 00 Victim Support – 0800 842 846

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.

Honouring Grace Millane

White Ribbon New Zealand has just received an extremely generous donation of £768 from jewellery maker LL Loves in the UK. The tragic murder of British backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand last December brought New Zealanders together in condemnation of this appalling act of violence and in sadness at the loss faced by her family and friends.

In the wake of their personal tragedy, Grace’s family and friends committed themselves to fundraising and awareness-raising events to honour her memory. They worked with LL Loves, one of Grace’s favourite jewellery makers, to produce a beautiful bracelet featuring an enamel White Ribbon. It is available in sterling silver or gold vermeil. Each comes in a white linen pouch designed by Grace’s family that has one of her favourite quotes on the front and is available here.

Anthea Sully, Chief Executive of White Ribbon UK commented:
“We have been deeply moved by the way in which Grace’s family and friends have worked with us to bring something good out of such a terrible loss by incorporating the white ribbon into their beautiful commemorative bracelet. We hope this collaboration means that part of Grace’s legacy is a world where male violence against women is ended once and for all”.

Initially twenty percent of the money from each bracelet was to be donated to White Ribbon UK. After a large number of New Zealanders ordered bracelets online, the family very generously asked LL Loves to donate the twenty percent from New Zealand orders to White Ribbon New Zealand.

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When Grace was murdered Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern highlighted our hurt and shame that it happened here saying “she should have been safe here and she wasn’t”. There are things we can all do to try to ensure we are all safer here. We all need to take responsibility for educating our young men. We have a series of toolboxes that provide advice on consent, respectful relationships and preventing violence.

Businesses also have a role to play in creating a culture where violence is not tolerated but where victims are given support and perpetrators are assisted in changing their behaviour. White Ribbon Business Accreditation is free and is suitable for organisations of any size. To find out more click here

We are extremely grateful for the Millane family’s generosity and their support for White Ribbon’s efforts to help prevent violence. Grace’s bracelets are an elegant daily reminder of a beautiful talented young woman, who should have been safe in our country. Now is the time to recommit to preventing future losses.

Business has a role preventing violence

“New Zealand Businesses are playing a significant role in supporting victims of domestic violence,” says White Ribbon Ambassador Anna Campbell, “but we need to do more.”

On Monday 1 April a new law comes into effect that allows for domestic violence leave of up to 10 working days.

“White Ribbon worked with The Warehouse to develop a business accreditation framework that ensures organisations have appropriate policy and training,” says Ms Campbell, “but we also need businesses to be involved in violence prevention.

“Our country has the highest rate of reported violence in the developed world. To change, this we need an all-of-society-approach. That is why White Ribbon supports and encourages businesses to prevent violence through education and awareness raising as part of our accreditation process.

“We’ve kept the process as simple as possible. Our team works with organisations to ensure their policies create a safe workspace. We’ve brought the best examples together so that organisations do not need to reinvent the wheel.

“We then train key staff so the organisation has the knowledge and skills to support victims and users of domestic abuse in the workplace and ultimately deliver the training themselves.

“Lastly we work with businesses to ensure they have violence prevention built into their yearly activities, and where possible, this includes both employees and to customers. This ensures that we are not just working with victims and survivors, but helping to break the cycle of family violence by supporting those who use violence to change” says Ms Campbell.

For more information about White Ribbon’s free Accreditation program contact White Ribbon

Law Commission Report could help family violence sexual victims

The Law Commission today publishes its report The Second Review of the Evidence Act 2006 – Te Arotake Tuarua i te Evidence Act 2006. The report considers a range of issues with the Evidence Act, the legislation governing evidence in criminal and civil cases, and makes 27 recommendations for reform. These include reforms designed to improve the court process for victims of sexual and family violence, while at the same time ensuring defendants’ rights to a fair trial are preserved.
“Our consultation highlighted that the process of giving evidence can be particularly stressful for complainants in sexual and family violence cases,” said Hon Sir Douglas White. Our review has also shown there is a risk of jurors being affected by myths and misconceptions about sexual and family violence. We are therefore recommending a number of improvements to the rules of evidence in sexual and family violence cases.”
These recommendations include:
There should be tighter controls on admitting evidence of a complainant’s previous sexual experience with the defendant and evidence of a complainant’s sexual disposition.
Family violence complainants should be entitled to record their evidence (including evidence in-chief and cross-examination) in advance of the trial and have the video played at the hearing. The Commission has previously made similar recommendations in relation to sexual
violence complainants.
Judges should be required to intervene when questioning of a witness is unacceptable.
Judicial directions should be developed to address myths and misconceptions that jurors might hold in sexual and family violence cases.
These are significant changes that could help victims of sexual violence better navigate the judicial system. Take for example the myths that too many jurors might think are real, which the report suggests should be addressed.
• A complainant who dresses ‘provocatively’ or acts ‘flirtatiously’ is at least partially responsible for the offending.
• A complainant who drinks alcohol or takes drugs is at least partially responsible for the offending.
• “Real rape” is committed by strangers and/or sexual violence by a partner or acquaintance is less serious.
• It is not rape unless the offender uses force or the complainant suffers physical injuries.
• A family violence victim can avoid future violence by leaving the relationship.
Fore more information read the Law Commission Press Release or the full report.

Let us renew our commitment to stand up and speak out.

New Zealand has been shaken by the tragedy in Christchurch. Our hearts go out to the families, friends and colleagues of those who have been hurt and to the many White Ribbon Ambassadors who are connected to the Muslim Community in New Zealand. You can donate to the families here.

Hate has no place in our country and our Prime Minister has categorically stated, this is not us.

It is my strong belief that many in our country will focus their attention on ensuring that the views that helped to fuel the murders are rejected publicly, and often.

While White Ribbon focuses on a different kind of violence, namely men’s violence towards women, this horrific event should remind us that allowing the extreme views of a minority to go unchallenged creates the opportunity for violence.

Sometimes we conflate freedom of speech and hate speech. Sometimes we don’t call out those who signal their despicable views because they are written on a t-shirt, hidden within jokes, within the lyrics of a song, in the images of a music video, or are simply part of the patriarchy that has been accepted for generations.

Words and actions matter, but so too does inaction. Not speaking to our young men about Respectful Relationships or Respectful Sexual Relationships allows others to fill in the gaps. It enables porn to become an educator and young men like the Rape Busters crew to exist and flourish.

So in the wake of this tragedy let us renew our commitment to stand up and speak out. For more information on how you can do this check out these Eight Actions That Can Reduce Violence.

Rob McCann
White Ribbon Manager

Listening and believing women.

Reflecting on and changing your behaviour.

Disrupting other men’s violence towards women.

Treating women as equals.

Choose how to be a man and how you will act.

Talk to a young man about breaking out of the ‘Man Box’.

Think about what media you watch

Talk with young men about respectful relationships and pornography.























Help us to take the next steps in your community by:

1. Nominating someone to become a White Ribbon Ambassador in your community. The form is here and it’s easy to nominate someone. Contact us to discuss if you have any questions. More information is here.

2. Getting a local business involved in violence prevention by undertaking White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation. More information here. Contact White Ribbon to discuss here.

3. Getting a Youth Ambassador Scheme up and running in your local schools. More info here or download the PDF. Contact us to discuss.


To read the full March Newsletter click here.

Raising Domestic Violence Awareness: IWD at Nielsen

This year our #InternationalWomensDay focus at #Nielsen was on raising domestic violence
awareness. We welcomed guest speakers from #WhiteRibbon to our local offices in Auckland,
Sydney, Wellington and Melbourne, where we were able to ask questions and learn more about
the harrowing effects of violence against women in our society. One week on from #IWD, we are
still blown away by the astounding statistics that, even as data experts, we struggle to grasp.
The impact to victims of domestic violence really do touch on people of every culture, age,
background, and socioeconomic status.

We were joined by Stephanie Callanan, Manager of the Australian White Ribbon Workplace
Program for four years in the Sydney office, Richie Hardcore who is a Public Speaker, Educator
and MC for Domestic Violence and on the Board of the White Ribbon in NZ who spoke in the
Auckland office, Rob McCann, who has worked for White Ribbon for over 10 years and is
currently the Manager for the New Zealand organisation, in the Wellington office, and Sunila
Kotwal, the Diversity and Inclusion Manager for White Ribbon AUS, in Melbourne.

Those who attended these events learned more about the issue of men’s violence against
women and many felt more empowered to play a part in driving awareness and contributing
towards taking a stand against this type of violence. It was great to hear feedback, from the
events that people’s perceptions and misconceptions had been altered –

“ Stephanie spoke about some very eye opening stats, and spoke very honestly about her own
experiences with domestic violence from a recent relationship. As an associate who is not
originally from Australia, I had the misconception that domestic violence doesn’t happen here. I
was shocked to find that it does, and in several different ways.”

“It was an intense session where we got to discuss and hear more about the violence against
women in different ways, making the topic feel closer to our own reality. The statistics were
shocking and it changed my mindset in regards to how much can I contribute to making an
impact against this.”

“It was a breath of fresh air to hear Richie talk so passionately and openly about ‘masculinity’
and how it can become ‘toxic,’ affecting relationships with women.I hope it made everyone think
about how they can shape societies future by providing our young men with better, more varied
role models.”

We continue to be committed to supporting any of our Pacific associates experiencing domestic
violence through our new Domestic Violence Family Leave policy. Launched on White Ribbon
Day in 2018, the policy seeks to support associates who may be experiencing the effects of
violence at home with up to 10 days paid leave.