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Waitakere marches against family violence

Media release

November 25, 2008

Waitakere marches against family violence

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More than 1000 people took to the streets in Waitakere today to call for an end to family violence.

The third annual White Ribbon March saw people marching under the banner, Family Violence – It’s Not Okay in Waitakere and was led by Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey.

Mayor Harvey, along with Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, established the Mayoral Taskforce on Family Violence with the aim of ridding this city of the scourge of family violence.

Today he delighted in those prepared to join in campaign.

“When I started this several years ago I didn’t know if we could do this and today I look at all the people who have turned out and I can say, to use Barack Obama’s tagline ‘yes we can’.

“We can call a halt to violence in our city because it just does not need to happen.”

Mayor Harvey asked the community not to shy away from helping someone in need.

“It’s not okay to not tell the many support groups, such as police, if you know something going on next door.

“Give them the mercy of your support and compassion. Don’t let there be another Nia Glassie,” Mayor Harvey said.

In Waitakere, police respond to around 350 domestic call-outs each month.

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Today’s march attracted people from all ages, cultures and backgrounds. Many marched with hand painted banners with slogans including “Speak Out”, “You Can Make a Difference” and “You Can Help”.

Sandra Alofivae of the Families Commission in Auckland praised Waitakere for doing things “your own way out west”.

She said each year the White Ribbon campaign grows in New Zealand with around half a million white ribbons requested by event organisers throughout the country, including 65,000 for Waitakere.

“You as a community are standing in a gap, you are saying no more to violence and we hear your voices.”

A poignant reminder of what the march is all about came from Vic Tamati and Jude Simpson, a perpetrator and a survivor of family violence.

Vic is one of the faces of the national It’s Not OK! Campaign and challenged men to stand up and put their hands up to lead the way and stop the violence going on in their families.

Today’s event was organised by Waitakere City Council in association with Waitemata District Health Board, the Police and the Waitakere Anti-Violence Essential Services (WAVES) family violence network.

The Mayoral Taskforce has also developed a Waitakere version of the national It’s Not OK! campaign through a series of billboards. Initially the billboards featured well known Waitakere residents including Mayor Bob Harvey, Michael Jones, Va’aiga “Inga” Tuigamala, Robyn Malcolm and Pio Terei.

A new billboard featuring local residents went up earlier this month and can be viewed on Railside Ave, Henderson and on Great North Rd in New Lynn and Great North Rd in Kelston.


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