All Whites stand up against domestic violence

New Zealand Football supports White Ribbon NZ

Left to right: Harry Ngata, Tim Brown, David Mulligan, Leo Bertos, Tony Lochhead, Ivan Vicelich and Mark Paston - SHANE WENZLICK/PHOTOSPORT

AUCKLAND – New Zealand Football and the New Zealand Professional Footballers Association (NZPFA) have partnered with White Ribbon – a campaign offering men the chance to be part of the solution to end violence against women – as the All Whites official cause.

The White Ribbon campaign raises awareness of men’s violence against women – which in New Zealand is generally directed at wives, girlfriends and other intimate partners.

The worldwide campaign, led in New Zealand by the Families Commission, is a cause that senior international and father of one, Ivan Vicelich said had the full support from All Whites players.

“Sometimes being tough gets confused with being violent but as a team we demonstrate that that both on and off the field violence is not ok,” Vicelich said.

“Most of us have wives now, some have daughters. But all of us, and in fact all men have women in their lives – a friend, a sister, their mother – that they wouldn’t want to see in harm’s way.

“Signing up for White Ribbon is a way we can publically show that men are the solution.”

Future All Whites games would be used to raise awareness of the White Ribbon campaign while members of the team will also sign the personal pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. Signed pledges from prominent men in communities all over New Zealand will be published in newspapers on White Ribbon Day on November 25.

Enhancing the All Whites connection will be NZPFA board member and former international Harry Ngata, who joins the likes of Ruben Wiki and Prime Minister John Key as a White Ribbon Ambassador.

White Ribbon Ambassadors encourage men to get involved by helping to challenge and change men’s abusive behaviour and attitudes towards women.

Ngata’s father, the late Dr. Paratene (Pat) Ngata, was an active campaigner for the cause.

“For me it’s about legacy – not just from Dad’s work but also about the sort of role models sportsmen can be, and the sort of influence they can have when they stand up for up for what is right,” Ngata said.

“You don’t have to experience violence to understand just how terrible the effects can be on women, and children.”

The campaign is led by the Families Commission which actively supports a suite of family violence initiatives including the It’s Not OK campaign, the Family Violence Clearinghouse, Family Violence Statistics report and the White Ribbon Campaign.

“We welcome Harry Ngata as a new White Ribbon Ambassador and the support of role models like the All Whites in the drive to end violence against women,” said Families Commission White Ribbon Campaign Manager Rob McCann.

“The campaign is about men talking to men in ways that men understand. That’s why it’s great to hear athletes like Ivan Vicelich, Ben Sigmund or Ruben Wiki to convey the message – that you can be tough and play with controlled aggression, but you can’t bring that aggression into the home.”

New Zealand Football was also exploring further initiatives to support White Ribbon through domestic football.