Ripēne Mā (White Ribbon) Reserve opens


A Community reserve in Christchurch has been named Ripēne Mā Reserve (White Ribbon in Maori) to honour those who lost their lives to violence. This site has been blessed, and a ceremony held for close family members, and now there is an opportunity for the Christchurch community to participate in the official opening of the reserve on Friday, 27 November at 7pm as part of White Ribbon month.

The park’s new name honours the memory of Rebecca Chamberlain and Tisha Lowry who were both murdered. The council has worked closely with the families and the community to develop plans for the reserve which include the design of butterflies, which is pūrerehua in Māori, one of the names of the victims.

It was named Ripene Ma so that “we could use it as a commemorative memorial site, that we could remember each year during the week of White Ribbon” says Rachael Fonotia, Manager of ACTIS (Aranui Community Trust Incorporated Society).

The Aranui Community Trust has been promoter of White Ribbon for sixteen years. “We are always looking to promote White Ribbon and ways for people to seek help” Fonotia says. “We seek to acknowledge violence with the aim of preventing it.”

The community opening is a chance for families and communities to come together, Fonotia says.  It’s an event “to reflect on what the outcomes of domestic violence might be, and how you might contribute some of your experiences.”

“It’s a site for everybody, for whatever reasons for them, personal reasons;  it’s a site for anybody to reflect,” Fonotia says.

The Christchurch Council invite you to attend the opening and show your support against violence towards women, after which there will be a sausage sizzle at the Aranui Community Trust and an opportunity to start new conversations on how to end the violence in our communities.

For more information contact:
Rachael Fonotia – Manager of the Aranui Community Trust.
03 963 7070 or 021 216 7177


Girl Guides Take Back the Night

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Since 1975 in Philadelphia USA, Take Back the Night has been recognised internationally as a means to empower and support survivors of sexual violence and abuse, raise awareness and encourage a world in which it is safe enough for all to walk home at night. During September and October 2013, between the International Day of Peace (21 September) and the International Day of Non-violence (2 October) it will be branches of the New Zealand World Association of Girl Guide and Girl Scout’s turns to Take Back the Night.

The Take Back the Night rallies, as a part of the national advocacy initiative for the Stop Violence Campaign, will be led and run by New Zealand Girl Guide youth who are passionate about reclaiming the night time as a space in which all should feel secure. The rallies will emphasise that violence of any form is never okay, and have a range of activities and entertainment on offer, such as music, poetry readings and candle lightings. Organisers aim to provide a welcoming environment at the rallies that girls and young women feel comfortable to speak out on why the issue of violence is important to them.

For more information on events in any of the following locations please contact those listed below:

  • The Pencarrow rally will take place at The Dowse Square, Lower Hutt on Saturday 28 September at 6:30pm. Bring a torch and a donation for Women’s Refuge (clothing, non-perishable food, money). RSVP to by 26 September. The wet weather venue is the Moera Community Hall.
  • The New Plymouth rally will take place at the Bowl of the Brooklands lawn on 2 October at 7pm. Again, bring a torch and rug up. Please RSVP by 27 September to
  • Christchurch rally will be held on Friday 27 September at 7pm in the Cathedral Square. Contact Andrea for more details:
  • The Manawatu  rally will also be held on the Friday 27 September at 6.45pm at the Square, Palmerston North. Contact Rachael:
  • The Auckland  rally will be held on Friday, 27 September and all are welcome to contact Theresa on for more information
  • The Wellington event will be held on Sunday 29 September (7-8 pm – tbc) at a venue in the Porirua area (tbc). For more information contact Serena.
  • Finally, the South Canterbury event will be held in Timaru on 5 October. Contact Annette Bray for more information:

All members of Girl Guiding and their friends are welcome to come along to the events.

White Ribbon proudly supports these important events and wish all who attend an entertaining and informative evening.

Volunteers required for All Whites v New Caledonia in Dunedin on Friday 22 March

Theres no roomThe All Whites are playing New Caledonia at the Forsyth Barr Stadium Dunedin on Friday 22 March. This is a major stepping stone towards the All Whites’ goal of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

White Ribbon Campaign is associated with the All Whites, and during their New Zealand matches we have the opportunity to participate in awareness-raising at the games. New Zealand Football and the White Ribbon Campaign want to end men’s violence against women, but we need volunteers to help us on game day.

At the last event in Christchurch the South Island Patriots and a number of Christchurch volunteers handed out ribbons at the start of the match. Younger children were tattooed with the White Ribbon temporary tattoo, White Ribbon Riders rode round the inside of the stadium at half time, and match announcers spoke about the campaign. The official programme included a full-page profile on the Campaign.

At the Otago event some of activities will be:

  • hand out ribbons
  • put tattoos on kids
  • put up posters
  • have White Ribbon Riders and their bikes parked inside the stadium
  • half time messaging
  • full page profile in the programme

Please email us if you would be willing to volunteer to:

  • hand out white ribbons
  • young volunteers (eg your kids who like soccer) to put tattoos on other children (requires water, bucket and bending over)
  • place posters in the stadium prior to the game
  • participate in the event if you own a motorbike

All volunteers are able to watch the match free of charge.

Contact White Ribbon HERE

White Ribbon Media Coverage 2012

media for newsletter

The White Ribbon Campaign media coverage is designed to create positive messages that can affirm change or inspire others to take up the cause. So while it’s important to ensure events are well organised, safe and exciting, it’s also vital that the events are covered by media so that the messages seen and heard by the 100 or so people at the venue are also spread far and wide throughout New Zealand.

Front pages copy

There were ten front page articles in 2012

We rely not only on local and national media to help bring the White Ribbon Ride events into your homes, but also on our own media (White Ribbon Newsletters/Facebook/Website/Twitter).

Here’s an overview of the media that the campaign team were able to track from 26 October to 2 December. In total White Ribbon was covered an amazing 385 times across a wide range of news sources from TV One News to your local newspapers. If you missed your local event, it’s bound to be here.


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The Rolling Haka – Upper Hutt

Rollking Haka copy

In 2011 a member of the community had a terrific idea. They put together a rolling haka to welcome and support the White Ribbon Riders as they moved through Upper Hutt. Wellington weather, for non-locals, was gale force winds and rain, which made the event one for only the hardy. And yet some brave lads from Silverstream, St Pats Heretaunga, Maidstone and St Joseph’s, still turned out.

Schools lined the road to support the White Ribbon Riders

12 schools lined the road welcoming the riders

2012 saw a return to normal weather patterns with the Wellington sun, resuming its traditional position in the sky, so with better weather the scene was set for a record turnout with some 12 schools participating. It was a great event that saw schools coming together to loudly support the kaupapa. Mat Davis, the Rolling Haka organiser from Orongomai Marae Social Services, explains.

“Firstly I would like to congratulate everyone for supporting the White Ribbon Campaign. The riders were amazed to see our community stand up in such numbers and challenge violence towards women through our schools and youth.

The event was filmed by TV One News, Oosh Media (local media company), Stuff and Māori TV with NZ Herald photographers and local media on hand to record the hundreds of youngsters lending their voices to the anit-violence campaign.

A huge mihi to all the school co-ordintators who had the biggest job of getting their schools there. Kaylene (Pinhaven), Davida (Silverstream), Joanne (St Brendon’s), Trevor (Hibs), Jackie (Upper Hutt College), Gillian (Trentham), Viv (Maidstone), Peter (Upper Hutt Primary), Elsie and Briony (St Joseph’s) Shirley (Ferguson Intermediate), Cole from Vibe (Jacket Boys) and all the Principals and other supporters and those such as Salvation Army Training College who spontaneously joined in.

The riders asked me to also pass on their thanks, they were simply blown away by your support. One rider said he was almost driven to tears when he saw our little ones out there supporting their week long ride.

Let’s hope we can make this an annual event”.

Mat Davis
Orongomai Marae Social Services


Additional Rolling Haka media coverage:

NZ Herald video

NZ Herald video with Trevor Lawerence – Hutt International Boys’ School

Rolling Haka Videos

Te Karere – Māori News cover the Rolling Haka

One news rolling haka

One News Website with coverage of the Rolling Haka

It doesn’t take a punch to hurt


Sophie Elliott

When Sophie was first assaulted by the man who eventually killed her, their relationship had been over for some time. In a way I wish he had hit her earlier because she would have been out of there so fast. Of that I have no doubt and consequently Sophie would be alive today.

I’ve travelled all over New Zealand these past two years giving my presentation in schools and at community meetings. My talk is entitled “Sophie’s Story – What WE missed,” because it’s what I missed as well. I talk about Sophie’s five-month on again/off again relationship with Clayton Weatherston. I do this because I don’t want to see other people in the position I’m in. In Sophie’s case there was no physical violence until near the end. It was all psychological and that, I believe, is something we as a society have not adequately dealt with.      Sophie was an intelligent woman and I like to think I’m reasonably astute. So how did it happen without us becoming alert to the signs?

Women tell me that bruises, black eyes and broken bones heal. It’s what gets inside their heads that is harder to deal with. And I’ve seen it first-hand. I watched Sophie, a remarkably confident young woman become an emotional girl lacking in self-esteem only weeks after she started dating Weatherston. I believe his behaviour, rather than warning her off, confused her. She would say, ‘he’s doing my head in,’ and I used to reply, ‘he’s doing mine in too,’ because I couldn’t rationalise it. I’d not struck this before so how could I, or Sophie for that matter, recognise this as classic abuse.

How can this happen? How can we recognise the signs? From what I’ve discovered as I campaign to help young people become aware of what I missed I have learned one thing. That the non-violent aspect of relationship abuse is insidious and can easily lead to more serious repercussions.

I would implore young women in a dating situation to look for answers if they feel a relationship doesn’t feel right. Talk with friends or more especially an older person you can confide in. There is plenty of information available on the internet including the Sophie Elliott Foundation.    So what are some of the signs of non-physical abuse that I missed in Sophie’s relationship? Humiliation by name calling is the most obvious. Fat, ugly, stupid, slut, are the common ones and almost every abuse website contains those same words. Sophie wasn’t fat and, even though I might be biased, she wasn’t ugly and she certainly wasn’t stupid. But the sad thing was Sophie believed him. She would often say, ‘if I lost a bit of weight he’d like me more.’ That seems incredible to me now. Why should a person change because their partner wants them to? What’s wrong with being attracted to someone as they are? No need to change! Also there is often constant criticism and hurtful put-downs that quickly erode self-esteem and self-worth.

Alienation is soul destroying. The abuser will exert control by alienating the partner from friends and family and makes decisions on where you go and who you go with. Hand-in-hand with that is communication, texting in particular. It seems that abusers are insane texters. They want to know where you are, who you are with, what you are wearing, where you are going. Control over your life is a classic sign and it can be suffocating.

Possessiveness is easier to detect. The abuser will often accuse the other of cheating on them, determining what friends you can have and tell you how to think, dress and act. A woman (or man for that matter) shouldn’t be treated like property. If the other partner makes all the decisions then controls who you see, alarm bells should begin to ring.

Threats are common, usually along the lines of if you don’t do something they will either leave you or commit suicide. If they threaten to harm you however, or more particularly, if they threaten to kill, then take it seriously – very seriously.

My advice is never accept intimidation where a partner screams and yells insults or abuse. Don’t accept being talked down to. When possessions, especially ones important to you are smashed, it’s not physical violence as such, but it’s frightening and intimidating. It’s not acceptable.

I believe any decent, healthy relationship should contain a good dose of respect for one another..

I am a firm believer in the White Ribbon campaign. It’s all about guys supporting guys. From a woman’s point of view, when I think about the level of violence in our society, I wonder why? Why the selfishness? Why the anger? I say to men – think about life. We only get one shot at it and there are too many good things out there for everyone. The good life is there for us all to enjoy and it doesn’t cost anything. If things are beyond you, get help to make your life better. The alternative just brings misery on those you supposedly love.


Convicted Murderer Clayton Weatherston

Take Clayton Weatherston as an example. What did he get out of killing Sophie? Nothing – except untold grief for his family and mine. What does he get? – a life now totally ruined. He’s behind bars – what joy is there in that? Was getting rid of Sophie worth it?.My message to men is simple. I say support each other and don’t stand by and let violence pervade our families. If you are being abusive to your girlfriend or partner take time out to think about what you are doing. Ask yourself, ‘does it make me happy to hurt the ones I care about, or would I feel better treating them with love and respect.’

To women I often use a quote from Michelle Obama when she spoke at a girls’ school in Oxford, England:

‘Reach for partners that make you better. Do not bring people into your life that weigh you down. Trust your instincts: good relationships feel good, they feel right. They don’t hurt – they’re not painful.’

Lesley Elliott

Click here to visit the Sophie Elliott Foundation

lesley and sophie

Lesley Elliott at the launch of the Sophie Elliott Foundation

Mayors Sign The White Ribbon Pledge

The White Ribbon Pledge will feature in the November 25 edition of the Sunday Star Times

Mayors throughout New Zealand have taken The Pledge ‘to never commit condone or remain silent about violence towards women’.

  • Join our civic leaders and take the pledge by wearing a White Ribbon, or using facebook to show your support.
  • Click here to use twibbon to put an overlay on your Facebook profile picture and show your support to all your friends.
  • Join the White Ribbon mailing list here.
  • Donate to White Ribbon here.

The White Ribbon team appreciates all your support as we work together to end men’s violence towards women. It’s been a fantastic campaign with hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders participating . Now as we celebrate White Ribbon Day on November 25 – let’s not for one moment believe the mission is completed.

This year an average of 14 women will die, while over 3,500 convictions will be recorded against men for assaults on women while one in three women will experience partner violence at some point in their lives.

We must change the attitudes which allow this violence to continue and that means taking action if you know or suspect violence is occurring.

No longer can we say it’s ok when we know that violence taking place. The White Ribbon Pledge asks us ‘to never remain silent’, for silence breeds violence. As men please use your collective voices to make our message heard – that violence against women is not ok, and that we all have a collective responsibility.

This year we’ve asked if you’re ‘man enough’ because we believe that being a man has nothing to do with violence. The White Ribbon kaupapa encourages healthy relationships built on love and respect. We promote these beliefs through our White Ribbon Ambassadors, the White Ribbon Riders and through the support of you the public, whether by attending White Ribbon Events, wearing the ribbon or taking The Pledge.

Thank you for your support, but please don’t let this issue fall off the radar. Please wear your white ribbon not just today, but 365 days a year and live The Pledge.

Rob McCann
White Ribbon Campaign Manager

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.




Mayors throughout NZ take the White Ribbon Pledge

Mayors throughout New Zealand have helped launch the White Ribbon Campaign by signing The Pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women.

The White Ribbon Pledge is one of a number of initiatives organised by the Families Commission-led White Ribbon Campaign. The pledge brings together New Zealanders throughout the country in a united show of support to end violence against women. As this support grows for a violence-free future, the White Ribbon Campaign hopes to encourage men to take a stand and show they’re man enough to end violence. To sign the pledge simply click here

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The Pledge Sheet signed by NZ Mayors