Chief of Defence Force announced as a White Ribbon Ambassador

CDF, LTGEN Tim Keating wearing his White Ribbon pin.

CDF, LTGEN Tim Keating

14 October 2015

Chief of Defence Force announced as a White Ribbon Ambassador

Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating, is the latest in a number of high profile New Zealand men who have taken on the role of White Ribbon Ambassador to send a message about reducing men’s violence towards women.

White Ribbon is a campaign that educates men about non-violent attitudes towards women. The campaign aims to end men’s violence towards women, the seriousness of which is indicated by the 100,000 incidents which police attended in 2014. Ambassadors are a key way in which the White Ribbon Campaign challenges the behaviour of abusive men and builds support and visibility for non-violence.

“We welcome Tim as a White Ribbon Ambassador,’ says Judge Peter Boshier, White Ribbon Committee Chair. “The New Zealand Defence Force has played a significant role within White Ribbon for many years now, with both former and current members taking part in the White Ribbon Motorcycle Ride across New Zealand under the banner of The Patriots. Many of these men and women have served overseas in peacekeeping roles, and they want to bring that peace into New Zealand communities and families. That is a very powerful message.

“Lieutenant General Tim Keating’s willingness to accept this nomination sends a clear signal both within the Defence Force, and to all New Zealand leaders, that violence towards women is a serious issue that demands leadership from the very top,” says Judge Boshier.

Lieutenant General Keating said: “I am honoured to be nominated as a White Ribbon Ambassador. I am very pleased to be able to lend what weight I can to this vital cause. The New Zealand Defence Force supports the important message of the White Ribbon campaign.

“We have an opportunity through the White Ribbon ambassadorship to demonstrate, not just to NZDF, but the wider community, leadership on this issue. Within the NZDF, we have developed a family violence prevent and management policy, and education and training programme that promote workplace wellbeing and safety.

“I know that the Defence Force will again get behind White Ribbon activities this year, including participation by the NZDF Patriot Motorcycle Group in the White Ribbon Ride.”


  • There are now over 80 White Ribbon Ambassadors
  • They are men from all walks of life who are willing to lend their leadership to the White Ribbon cause
  • All Ambassadors volunteer their time freely to the campaign to end men’s violence towards women
  • This year the campaign is focusing on Respectful Relationships
  • Ambassadors must commit to the kaupapa of the campaign and can include men who were formerly violent, however they must acknowledge that past behaviour, and be living violence free lives
  • The campaign launches on 09 November and is organised by the White Ribbon Trust with expert advice from the White Ribbon Committee chaired by Judge Boshier

Rodger Barlow – White Ribbon Ambassador

Rodger Barlow

Rodger Barlow

I was bought up in what is now a very desirable area of the North Shore of Auckland. To me, Devonport and its immediate environs was just a reasonably large playground. Swimming at Narrow Neck or Cheltenham beach, if not in the tidal estuary at the bottom of our section, sailing my small yacht on the harbour, and playing endless games of cricket are my summer memories. Winter was soccer and rugby, both played with enthusiasm and a complete lack of skill on my part. Most people should be able to have memories such as these, but I now know that not all are able to do so.

My father had a small business in Devonport, so when I left school I started an apprenticeship with him. It was around this time that I became aware that not all of my friends and acquaintances had the same safe upbringing as I had. Many times during my school years I had wondered about the bruises and accidents that some of my friends had. When I started work, my circle of friends expanded and I met people with different views of life and experiences that I had never imagined would exist. Mostly they were people who had what is now known as a dysfunctional family. Much of the problem was caused by alcohol, and I am sure that many of the fathers were suffering from stresses and depressions left over from WWII. Of course, at this period of time, these were not recognised as an identifiable and possibly treatable illness. However, abuse, usually physical, was a fact of life for some of these people, and they mostly succeeded in keeping it secret, but there was the occasional comment or slip of the tongue that made me aware of the situation. Did I do anything about it? No. Why not? Well, it really wasn’t my problem was it? I did mention it to my parents at one stage and was told by them that,” yes these things did happen but not in our family”. The classic “if we ignore it, it will go away” process. I believe that many people were and maybe still are using this approach. Preferring to ignore the issue rather than do anything about it.

However, life continues, and I got married and then applied for Secondary Teacher Training. At that time there was a major shortage of Technical Teachers and I won a position in one of the intakes. This was the era of one year full-time specialist teacher training programmes, so at the end of the swinging sixties there I was, standing in front of my first class of around 30 boys. Talk about a steep learning curve. I stumbled from one crisis to another for the first six months and seriously doubted my ability to carry on in the profession. The school I taught at was in the centre of a low social economic area and gangs were a fact of life for many of the students. Training college had not prepared me for these people, and neither had my previous life experiences. A senior teacher at the school, now sadly passed, must have seen something in me and took it upon himself to mentor me. Not only was I mentored by this man, but I was introduced to a way of working with the disadvantaged youth of the area. I can remember working with one of the local Maori wardens and visiting houses in the early hours of the morning looking for children who had, for various reasons, not gone home after school. The process would not work today with the current laws, but it was reasonably successful for us. It was during this period of time that I developed my social justice ideals.

Next period of my life was the 18 years I spent working for a tertiary training centre in Hamilton. I started the section that I worked in, built it up to the second largest of its kind in NZ and looked after two full-time staff. The students we had were a diverse bunch of adolescents. Some were great and some weren’t. These were male students between 16 and 21 years of age, full of testosterone and bullet proof. For many of them, violence and alcohol was a fact of life, it was used to solve personal problems, it was used on and off the football field, and a couple of times, was used in the classroom to solve some imagined or real slight. More than once, I went to the local police station on a Friday morning to check on the well-being of my students. On the other hand, when one of my students was arrested for selling drugs, I found myself on the prosecution team. We won, he lost.

Then, at the beginning of 1990, I changed jobs and went back to teaching in a state school. Life was much quieter there until September 1993, when a young female living not far from the school was murdered, along with her two young children. This was a particularly gruesome murder as all the victims had their throats cut and the perpetrator was the young girl’s partner. At the subsequent trial he was deemed to be insane by the jury and was found not guilty as a result. What made this more horrifying was the fact that the girl was a friend of my daughter, and she had been a guest at our home on several occasions. It was because of this incident that I became a member of Victim Support in Hamilton, and I worked with them for a period of time. During my time with Victim Support I spent a great deal of my time with victims of violence of one form or another, much of it perpetrated by males against females. I was uncomfortable at times in this role – here I am, a male, trying to get the confidence of a female who has been assaulted by a male, often her partner and the father of her children. There were times when I did not do too well, and I felt that I had let people down, but maybe what I did was helpful to them in the big picture. There were also other occasions when people had lost children in motor vehicle accidents and I found these cases difficult for me, for a number of reasons.

Eventually, I won a position in a central King Country school, and moved down there to teach. I did not continue with my Victim Support work whilst I was there, but I did get an inkling of what some people have been unfortunate enough to go through when I had an altercation with one of the male students. He threatened to kill me and, for some reason, the Deputy Principal – a threat that I did not take seriously at the time. I thought that it was just an adolescent young man blowing off steam. However the incident was reported to the Police, and the boy was arrested that night, some one hundred metres from my home. When arrested he was carrying a boning knife and a steel bar. He spent time in the cells and appeared in court where he was sentenced and released into the care of a Youth initiative that specialised in cases like his. Apart from seeing him at the requisite family conference, where he tried to attack me with a chair, I have not seen him since the day at school, but I understand that he is back in the community, now working.

Underlying all of these events has been the aggression that some males are not able to control or direct. I believe that much of what I have witnessed, or been privy to, is evidence of learned behaviour or ingrained behaviour, in that often the perpetrators have witnessed violence being used to solve issues, and they do not understand any other methods. This unfortunately is a method used by a minority of students in school, a problem that teachers are only too aware of. These students are the by-product of the environment they grow up in, and I believe, therein lies the problem.

I now work part-time in a Secondary School in the Counties/Manukau area, I am the Post Primary Teachers Association’s Executive Member for the region, working voluntarily for the teachers of my area and I find life far less stressful than I have in the past.

I believe that White Ribbon has a role to play in reducing the number of incidences such as those I have outlined. We are not experts, but we have knowledge and collectively there is a vast amount of experience that can be channeled. Here is an opportunity for us to take the initiative, be role models, talk about our own experiences, and stand up against this inappropriate behaviour. Men talking to men about their experiences, good and bad, can help. Just having a person who is not judgmental to talk to and unload to may be the catalyst needed to help a man who has an anger management problem, or does not know any other way of solving problems. White Ribbon can assist in this cause.

White Ribbon Ride Leader is now an Ambassador


South Island White Ribbon Rider leader Colin Agnew

Colin Agnew was the Vice President of the South Island Chapter of the Patriots Defence Force Motorcycle Club, and is now the leader of this year’s South Island leg of the White Ribbon Ride.

Mr Agnew has been involved with the White Ribbon Ride since it first began in 2008 and is very pleased to become an ambassador – though he may look tough, he has a soft heart.

“The ride means a lot to me, and the stories I’ve heard have only increased my determination to keep coming back each year.”

One memorable ride was 2011 when a woman in Gore recognised his motorbike and approached him with her three children. The woman had talked to him at a White Ribbon Ride a few years before, and told them it gave her the confidence to pack up and leave her violent household. She said she was now living in Gore, safe and happy with her children.

“It’s a sign to me that I need to keep doing this as long as it takes.”

It’s these kinds of stories, both from those closest to Agnew and complete strangers which encourage him to continue to want to help those suffering from family violence.

“I don’t think anyone has the right to abuse someone, and that sharing their stories helps not just the person in that situation but encourages others to speak out too.”

The White Ribbon Ride will be visiting towns throughout the South Island this year, and will need help from organisations to host them.

Riders can join in the Ride at any location and can participate for the day, or the week and take part in the events that are held by each town.

This year we will also be encouraging scooters and bikes under 250cc’s to join in when the event is within the city limits.

The ride spreads the White Ribbon anti-violence message, by going directly into communities where violence can often be pervasive.

It proves to men you can still be tough without having to condone abuse, and allows women to see that not all men are violent.

The Ride will launch from Nelson on the 17th November, and travel down the West Coast reaching Haast on 19th and traveling through Wanaka on 20th. By the 22nd the rides reaches Invercargill before beginning the ride north through Dunedin and onto Christchurch for White Ribbon day on 25 November and ending in Blenheim on 26th.

South Island White Ribbon Ride

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Peter McLaren takes up new role as a White Ribbon Ambassador


Peter McLaren

Peter McLaren, founder of McLaren Associates, is the latest to join the ranks of White Ribbon Ambassadors, who want to see men stand up and say No to violence against women.

Mr McLaren recently retired as Managing Director of McLaren Associates in Wellington after 26 years, and has decided to take on new roles, saying he was very pleased to be approached by White Ribbon to become an Ambassador.

The announcement came on his 70th birthday celebration among friends and family, including his long-time friend Judge Peter Boshier, Chair of White Ribbon, who made the announcement.

“I’m very proud to be a part of White Ribbon” he said.

Family is his number one priority in life which he notes as “first and foremost” in his life. Though he believes he grew up rather sheltered from violence in his modest upbringing in a safe and loving environment, he wishes to make those around him more aware of the nature of violence toward women and how much goes unsaid.

“It’s something I detest. Violence, I just can’t stand.”

McLaren has had lots of involvement with Wellington and other community initiatives in the past, having been Chairperson for the Wellington After Care Association, on the board of Rotary Wellington and SPCA Wellington and Committee Member of Variety Club, along with numerous other roles.

His involvement in White Ribbon is a new direction as he begins afresh to take some time and decide what he will do next. He says he will proudly wear the White Ribbon to demonstrate his zero tolerance of violence against women.

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Michael Laws on Nigella Lawson

Michael Laws is right in that too many New Zealand men still remain silent when our mates or male relatives disparage women or boast about “giving her a clip”.

DR Russell Wills

Dr Russell Wills, Children’s Commissioner, White Ribbon Ambassador

White Ribbon ambassadors take on the role because men need to take responsibility for men’s violence towards women. Wearing the ribbon tells our communities we have pledged to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women.

Real men don’t stay silent. We speak up. We intervene. We do this because we know that for our society to become less violent towards women and children the change starts with us.

Leaving a violent man is not simple. The risk of being killed is highest immediately after leaving. Poverty is inescapable for many women who leave. Violent men threaten loss of contact with children, or harm to them. If we all understood these simple truths, maybe more women would leave, and they and their children would be safer.

New Zealand can and must be a safer, less violent place. That change must start with us.

Dr Russell Wills
Children’s Commissioner
White Ribbon Ambassador
Laws Nigella

Tikka Rajinder Parkash Bedi becomes a White Ribbon Ambassador

Raj Bedi

Raj Bedi has a Masters in Sociology and LL.B. and migrated to New Zealand in 2002 from India. His professional journey in New Zealand includes fulfilling roles as a South Asian Life Style Coordinator-ProCare, Community Centre Manager YMCA Auckland and Programme Advisor Migrant/Adult Educator Ora Limited NZ. Currently he is a qualified interpreter with CMDHB, ADHB and DOL.

Raj believes that an effective way to change attitudes of men towards women is by educating and raising awareness through legal, cultural, spiritual and religious settings. He is well known for his commitment to raising awareness among the community.

His voluntary roles are: Assistant Secretary-NZ Indian Central Association since 2010, Secretary-Auckland Sikh Society Inc (2009-2012), past V-President and present Executive member NZ Punjabi Cultural Association (2006-2012), Past Secretary and present executive member Manukau Indian Association (2008-2012) and Member Lions Club Papatoetoe (2010-2012). Raj received a Volunteer award from the then Manukau Mayor His Worship Len Brown twice over the last ten years and has recently been appointed a Justice of the Peace in April 2012.

His other interests are travel, appearing in TV commercials, music and meeting people from various cultural backgrounds and ethnicities.

As an Ambassador, Raj intends to continue promoting the kaupapa at speaking engagements, community events, and motivating others to challenge the abusive behavior of men in the families.

Student leader steps up to the mark for White Ribbon campaign

Pete Hodkinson

Pete Hodkinson, President of the NZ Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA), today became the latest Ambassador for the White Ribbon campaign on the eve of the White Ribbon Ride starting tomorrow Saturday 17 November.

The White Ribbon Day campaign raises awareness of men’s violence against women – which in New Zealand is generally directly at wives, girlfriends and other intimate partners. Ambassadors use their public profile to champion a violence free lifestyle to other men.

‘I’m honoured to be joining other White Ribbon Ambassadors in encouraging all men to exhibit zero tolerance for any form of violence towards women,’ says Pete Hodkinson.

‘As well as offering my personal support to the campaign I’m putting out a call to all male students to examine their behaviour and to commit to pushing back on all forms of violence – including psychological and emotional abuse – by taking the White Ribbon Pledge publicly via Facebook

‘This year’s focus on the amount of fear that is caused by violent verbal behaviour is a reminder of forms of abuse that are too often underestimated.

‘As students head into a break from their studies this is a good time to reflect on any negative behaviour they may have witnessed during the year. As they head into 2013 they should do so with a determination to make the places they live and study in, the safest possible environments for women, and to speak out against violence’.


Notes: Pete Hodkinson will be serving his second term as President of NZUSA in 2013 after being re-elected in 2012. Through his involvement in the Student movement Pete has represented New Zealand students locally during his time at Unitec, nationally through NZUSA and is also actively engaged in working with the Pacific Students Association and Commonwealth Students Association. He represented New Zealand at the Global Student Leadership Summit held in London in September 2012. He is an accomplished public speaker, a musician and a Crossfit athlete.




New White Ribbon Ambassador

The White Ribbon Campaign welcomes Martin Sloman as a White Ribbon Ambassador.

Martin Sloman is a counsellor working in Primary Mental Health and in private practice. Originally from Wales, Martin arrived in New Zealand from the UK in 2009. He has a wife and two children and lives on the Kapiti Coast.

In his career history Martin has been a senior IT Manager in the UK, before eventually changing career direction to work as a therapist. He has a particular interest in men’s mental health and together with Kapiti musician Ryan Edwards formed “Whirlwind” (, which endeavours to encourage men to tell and share their stories about surviving the tough stuff, and not to rely on negative coping strategies which can often include abuse or violence. The postcards from the project contain stark quotes from famous and ordinary men and have been circulated NZ wide. They have a particular presence in “living without violence” organisations.

There is much synergy between Whirlwind’s story and the role of a White Ribbon Ambassador. Martin regards it as an honour to be in this role, that it brings together his “professional ethos as a therapist, his desire to be a support for men and their whanau and his own personal experience as father, husband, friend and as a man”.