Auckland Mayor Len Brown Launches White Ribbon Campaign

Len Brown signs the White Ribbon Pledge

The White Ribbon Campaign to end men’s violence against women was today launched by Auckland Mayor and White Ribbon Ambassador Len Brown.

‘I’m proud to launch the 2012 White Ribbon Campaign’ says the Mayor. ‘Violence against women is unacceptable, and as a man I want to play my part in ending this violence.’

The 2012 White Ribbon Campaign was launched today with Mayors throughout New Zealand putting their signatures on a pledge to never commit or condone or remain silent about violence towards women. The signatures will be displayed on 25 November on the international White Ribbon Day.

‘On average, more than one woman dies and over 290 men are convicted for assaults on women every month. Those women are our mothers, daughters, sisters, female workmates and colleagues,’ says Len Brown. ‘As men, we must take responsibility to end this violence, and that is why I and many other community leaders are putting our names on the White Ribbon pledge.’

The White Ribbon Pledge is one of a number of initiatives organised by the Families Commission-led White Ribbon Campaign. The pledge brings together leaders from throughout the country in a united show of support to end violence against women. As 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.

‘We want this campaign to talk to people that are outside the tent,’ says Chief Families Commissioner, Carl Davidson. ‘There are many passionate people throughout the country working to reduce violence, but we need to connect with the many good men that simply don’t believe this problem affects them.’

‘While there’s no violence in my family, I could easily say this issue doesn’t affect me. But I have two daughters, and one day, I might have grandchildren. I don’t need any other reason to make ending violence against women my responsibility. And that goes for nearly every man I know. We all have women in our lives, and to shrug our shoulders and say this violence only affects others is a cop out.’

‘By standing up and not remaining passive bystanders, we can influence our friends, our mates and work colleagues. Are we man enough to stop violence towards women – I’d like to think so,’ says Mr Davidson.

Office of the Mayor:
Glyn JonesChief Press Secretary
White Ribbon Media Contact:
Rob McCannFamilies Commission White Ribbon Campaign Manager
04 917 7045 or 029 917 7045


White Ribbon is an international campaign that asks men to show they won’t tolerate, condone or remain silent about violence towards women. It originated as a men’s movement in Canada and is now part of the United Nations annual calendar.  The Families Commission took a leadership role in New Zealand in 2006 and the campaign now focuses on the whole of November, culminating on 25 November – White Ribbon Day.

White Ribbon is a campaign to change attitudes and behaviours around men’s violence towards women. This is led by men, for men. This isn’t about finger pointing and blame. It is about recognising that there is a serious problem, accepting the fact that abuse could be happening around each and every one of us, and that it’s critical to step from the side-line and take action. White Ribbon promotes a violence-free culture change in New Zealand and in order to facilitate this, organises nationally-led projects to support local initiatives.

KEY Statistics

  • One in three women will experience partner violence at some point in their lives
  • Only 20 percent of abuse cases are reported
  • Over 3,500 convictions are recorded against men each year for assaults on women
  • On average, 14 women a year are killed by their partners or ex-partners
Key Messages

  • Violence towards women is unacceptable
  • Violence is not just physical
  • Men are part of the solution
  • You can help fix this problem



  • Check that your actions and those of your mates are OK – be man enough to make a call on inappropriate behaviour.
  • Make sure the women you know are OK – if not, start a conversation with them, with their partners, or with someone who can help.
  • For advice call the helplines 0800 456 450 or 0800 733 843 or visit
  • Wear a white ribbon every day, join a White Ribbon project or activity – show your support.


This year the campaign will include messages on non-physical violence, an area that is little understood, and very commonly experienced by women. Many women say it is the worst kind of abuse, and often underestimated. It is about manipulation, intimidation and coercion – using fear to get what you want. It’s often not recognised because it can be subtle and hidden. Survivors say psychological abuse attacks their spirit and self-esteem, and its effects can last the longest. Key Messages here.


White Ribbon Ambassadors

There are now 49 Ambassadors who are men from all walks of life that are willing to stand up and support the campaign. Ambassadors include: sports stars Ruben Wiki and Harry Ngata; politicians Prime Minister John Key and Hon Pita Sharples; community leaders Auckland Mayor Len Brown and former Mayor Bob Harvey; sector leaders Tau Huirama and Brian Gardner, Judges Peter Boshier and Ajit Singh; entertainers Stan Walker and Billy TK Jnr and many more. See the full list here.

White Ribbon Ride

The White Ribbon Ride is an exciting initiative to promote a violence-free culture change. The week-long motorcycle tour takes place every November with a lead group of riders steering three convoys through 80 towns in the North and South Islands, picking up support riders in every region. Events are organised in every town, from school and prison visits, marches and breakfasts, to fashion parades, quiz nights and Dads and Lads days. Download the itinerary here.

White Ribbon Online

White Ribbon has an active Facebook presence with multiple posts each day designed to provoke discussion, raise awareness and share success stories. With a viral reach that can exceed a quarter of a million people, this is a unique medium to join the conversation about ending men’s violence towards women Visit our Facebook page.

Resource distribution & online Shop

Over 600,000 free resource items are distributed annually to assist communities with local promotion of the White Ribbon kaupapa. In September 2012, the campaign launched a new online shop where supporters can purchase branded merchandise to help support the campaigns three-year plan to become self-funding. Resources and Shop.


The White Ribbon Committee, made up of government departments and NGOs, provides strategic advice to the Campaign, and increasingly, prominent organisations such as NZ Football are promoting White Ribbon as their cause of choice. The campaign is funded and led by the Families Commission with support from Ministry of Social Development and Te Puni Kōkiri. Further information can be found here.

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”.

All Whites v Tahiti

The All White’s match against Tahiti was a big event in Christchurch with a huge crowd in attendance cheering the All Whites to victory. Check out the photo’s from the match highlighting the White Ribbon activities.

A special thank you to the White Ribbon volunteers and Barnados for their help handing out the thousands of ribbons, face painting a placing the signage.

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New Zealand Football and the New Zealand Professional Footballers Association (NZPFA) partnered with White Ribbon as the All Whites official cause in 2011 and have put together a number of initiatives to profile ending men’s violence towards women.

‘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,’ Ivan Vicelich, All White and father of one 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.’

All Whites games have been used to raise awareness of the White Ribbon with on field messaging from the ground announcers, key messages delivered by the Sky TV commentators, signage, thousands of ribbons distributed to the fans, White Ribbon Riders and rides around the ground, white ribbon tattoos on children, press releases, cross promotion utilising each organisations media channels, ribbons on the players training gear and full page testimonials about White Ribbon in the match programmes.

The All Whites also produced their own poster, while team members took the pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women. Former All White Harry Ngata became a White Ribbon Ambassador and the Football Association created the White Ribbon Cup in 2012 enabling the White Ribbon message to be spread throughout communities.

Hon Pita Sharples – New White Ribbon Ambassador

New Ambassador Hon Pita Sharples

‘The White Ribbon Campaign welcomes Hon Pita Sharples as a new White Ribbon Ambassador in the fight to end violence against women’, says Families Commission Campaign Manager Rob McCann.

The White Ribbon Day campaign raises awareness of men’s violence against women – which in New Zealand is generally directed at wives, girlfriends and other intimate partners. White Ribbon Ambassadors encourage men to get involved by helping to challenge and change men’s abusive behaviour and attitudes towards women.

‘Matariki is a special event in New Zealand’s calendar, celebrating the traditional Maori New Year,’ says Mr McCann. ‘It’s an important time for family to gather and reflect on the past and the future – a future the White Ribbon Campaign would like to be violence-free.

White Ribbon Ambassadors are chosen for their passion and commitment to ending violence towards women. There are now 43 ambassadors who use their public profile to champion a violence-free lifestyle to other men. Dr Sharples has Co-chaired the Waitakere Task Force on Family Violence for many years, initially with former mayor Bob Harvey.

‘I’m honoured to have been nominated as a White Ribbon Ambassador,’ says Dr Sharples. ‘I have worn a White Ribbon for many years as a symbol of non-violence, and now to be asked to take a leadership role is very humbling.

‘I believe that our tamariki are our future and they deserve to grow up in homes that are violence-free, and I want to encourage young men to build relationships based on love and respect’ says Dr Sharples.

Minister Sharples will be formally honoured as a White Ribbon Ambassador at the Matariki Event in South Auckland organised by the South Auckland Family Violence Protection Network. There are now 42 White Ribbon Ambassadors including Ruben Wiki, Stan Walker, Len Brown, David White and the Prime Minister.

White Ribbon March at Waitakere 2011


Remembering Rev’d Dr Hone Kaa

Dr Hone Kaa - Chair Te Kahui Mana Rarik and White Ribbon Ambassador

The White Ribbon Campaign and the Families Commission have received with great sadness, news of the passing of Rev’d Dr Hone Kaa.

Rev’d Dr Hone Kaa, who was a White Ribbon Ambassador, played a vital role in building support and developing a shared understanding of the White Ribbon campaign.

“Dr Kaa embodied the principles of the campaign; his willingness to challenge the behaviour of abusive men and to convey the kaupapa of the campaign to his community will be his legacy” said White Ribbon Campaign Manager, Rob McCann.


‘All of us involved in the White Ribbon campaign and the Families Commission extend our respect and condolences to his family. “We acknowledge the time, energy and commitment Dr Kaa put into supporting the White Ribbon campaign. He was a man of great mana, and will be sorely missed.”

Dr Kaa, a gentle and humorous man, led by example, working in his community for decades.

“Dr Kaa has inspired many men to stand up against violence towards women, with some of these men becoming White Ribbon Ambassadors themselves.  As we work towards a non-violent society, it is men like Dr Kaa who have shown us the way”, says Mr McCann.

‘Helen, the Helen Meads Tragedy’ debuted at number two on the non-fiction category in New Zealand

On the morning of 23 September 2009 Helen Meads was murdered by her husband Greg at the stables on their Matamata farm. It was the final chapter in years of control and abuse and has been documented by her Father and White Ribbon Ambassador, David White.

The book ‘Helen, the Helen Meads Tragedy’ debuted at number two on the non-fiction category in New Zealand bestseller lists after being launched by Women’s Refuge and White Ribbon last week.

“It’s a stunning book”, says Families Commission White Ribbon Campaign Manager Rob McCann. “David has told a story that all New Zealanders need to hear, that violence against women occurs across all of New Zealand.”

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