League legend support for White Ribbon Day
November 16, 2009
League legend support for White Ribbon Day in Waitakere
What do a couple of rugby league legends, a mayor and a group of motorbike-loving blokes have in common?
They’re among those throwing their support behind this year’s White Ribbon Day parade in Henderson on November 25 – a chance for people to stand together and say: “Family Violence – It’s Not OK in Waitakere”.
It’s a sentiment that sits well with rugby league legends Ruben Wiki and Awen Guttenbeil, who are happy to use their profile to get men to realise that violence against women is not acceptable.
“We have a duty to our families, our friends and our whānau to stand up, acknowledge the problem and begin to change,” says Wiki, a national White Ribbon ambassador.
“As men, what we can do to help is speak up when men say or do things that we wouldn’t want our sisters, wives or children to experience.”
The parade starts at 11.15am from Mount Lebanon Lane in Henderson before making its way down Great North Road, through central Henderson, finishing at Falls Park around midday, where people can enjoy fun lunchtime entertainment with family.
And while Wiki will join the national event in Wellington on White Ribbon Day, Awen Guttenbeil will be in Henderson for the big day, leading the parade from the front.
He will join Mayor Bob Harvey and some of the city’s other male leaders on the parade’s front line. The all male line-up references the White Ribbon movement which was established by men to stop violence against women.
Revving up the participants will be a group of riders from the Kiwi Trikers Social Club.
This is the fourth White Ribbon parade held in Waitakere, and each year, community awareness of it grows. Waitakere is nationally recognised for its efforts to rid the city of family violence.
Initiatives include the Mayoral Taskforce on Family Violence launched by Mayor Harvey and Dr Pita Sharples in 2007, made up of family violence and prevention agencies, the council, police and health officials.
The city has hosted forums on family violence and given the issue profile with a series of billboards featuring well known Westies with the tag line, Family Violence - It’s NOT OK in Waitakere.
Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse sits on the taskforce and says one of its successes has been getting the different agencies alongside police, the council and health board to work together for the same goal.
“That unity and commitment has sent a really powerful message to Waitakere and the rest of the country that this city is not going to tolerate violence in our community.
“No one can do it alone. We all have a part to play.”
The White Ribbon Parade 2009 is hosted by Waitakere City Council, Waitemata District Health Board and Waitemata District Police, along with the WAVES network of family violence prevention and intervention agencies.
What: White Ribbon Day Parade
When: 11.15am, Wednesday, November 25.
Where: Assemble at Mount Lebanon Lane, Henderson.