Ruia Te Taitea, Ka Tu Taikaka Anake: Shake Off The Old, To Reveal The New
This year we are asking people to challenge the #outdated
and spend some time thinking and talking about the advice
they have been given that is harmful rather than helpful.
The whakatauki above sits at the heart of this year’s
White Ribbon campaign. As individuals and as a society we
need to shake off the old, to reveal the
The outdated ideas that this campaign
literally overwrites are still circulating and we need to
ensure our rangatahi grow up with advice that focuses on
equality, healthy masculinity and respectful relationships.
When kids hear old clichés like “treat em mean, keep em
keen” they’re receiving a false idea that relationships
should be based on mind games and manipulation. Real,
respectful relationships require us to treat our partners as
our equals by listening and making decisions
Chair of the White Ribbon Campaign
Trust ,Takurua Tawera believes, “so many of our young men
are suffering from the impact of trauma and bad role
modelling. We need to stand up and speak out on these issues
and show in our words and our deeds that there are other
options. Better choices lead to better lives for men and
New Zealand has the highest rate
of reported violence towards women in the developed world.
One in three women will experience partner violence at some
point in their lives. On average, 14 women a year are killed
by their partners or ex-partners.
to act now to change the future and rewrite our story”,
says Mr Tawera. “We all want to turn these statistics
around, but if we want to see a change in these unhealthy
behaviours we have to change our attitudes. We know that research
shows that stereotypical ideas about what it means to be
are man are linked not only to domestic violence but also
mental health issues.
is about being kind, empathetic, finding peaceful
resolutions to problems. It is about boys and men being
confident in who they are without feeling pressure to be a
certain type of boy or man. It is really heartening to hear
men speaking out on this issue and sharing their stories of
change. They are inspiring role models for young men, so
they know they don’t need to perpetuate these outdated
ideas and can instead engage with women as equal
The origins of our whakatauki
are in the natural world. In a totara tree the
taitea is the outer, white or sapwood,
which soon decays, and near the centre is the
taikaka or hardest
“By removing these outdated
ideas,” says Mr Tawera, “we will be left with a core of
strength. Share the wisdom of our whakatauki and shake off
the old, to reveal the
Masculinity looks like:
masculinity is rejecting unhelpful outdated stereotypes and
unspoken rules about what it is to be a boy or
· Healthy masculinity is about being
kind, empathetic, finding peaceful resolutions to
· Healthy masculinity is about
boys and men being confident in who they are without feeling
pressure to be a certain type of boy/man.
Boys and men can still be ‘brave’, and have
‘muscles’, be assertive, tough, love rugby, enjoy time
with other men and boys, enjoy a ‘pint’ with the lads
(for men!). But boys and men should also be free to express
sad emotions, enjoy cooking, dancing, gardening and anything
else that does not fit into gender
· Healthy masculinity is
treating everyone with respect.
masculinity is recognising that people express gender and
sexuality in a variety of ways.
· White Ribbon calls the
expectations that men must always appear dominant, tough and
in charge “The Man Box”.
· It’s a box
that’s prescriptive and restrictive. Any different
behaviours are dismissed as being not
· Often a boy and a man will
believe he needs to appear tough and in-control in front of
other men. This is from a fear, real or not, that they’ll
reject him, possibly violently, if he doesn’t fit in.
Being told to ‘Man Up’ is to be reminded to get back
into The Man Box. A man may use violence to show his peers
he is manly.
· Suppressing individual
identities and diverse emotional responses is stressful.
It’s also unhealthy as these men avoid asking for
· Men who break out of The Man Box to
choose their own masculine identity report that they’re
less stressed, more satisfied with life and have happier