Press Release – Northland District Health Board
Decorated with white ribbons the Northern Wairua Bridge, was a sight to behold as more than 400 riders from across Northland, plus the Northern Street Rodders’ vehicles converged on Dargaville today as part of the official 2012 White Ribbon Ride.
Founded in 2008, the Northland leg of the ride started at the Bream Bay Trust in Ruakaka, crossed the Brynderwyns to a hot rod show in Maungaturoto, then headed to Dargaville where they were met by local police at the Northern Wairoa Bridge.
After a police escort through the main streets, the convoy was welcomed to Selwyn Park by local children performing a stirring haka powhiri and waiata and waving bold banners such as ‘Love your family’, ‘Speak up’.
The message was clear. Enough is enough.
“ For too long we have been silent about the killing of our women and children”, Phil Paikea, Northland White Ribbon Ride founder said. “We are standing up as Tāne, granddads, fathers, and brothers and making a pledge to stop family violence”.
This year an average of 14 women will die, while over 3,500 convictions will be recorded against men for assaults on women. One in three women will experience partner violence at some point in their lives.
“We are killing our wives, sisters and mothers”, said Tony Brooking, a ride leader. “I have six sisters so that means just about half of them will be hurt, it is not good enough”.
This message was echoed by Aaron Morrison a member of the Hauraki Chapter Patriots Defence Force Motorcycle Club and a serving soldier.
“The Selwyn Park Primary children have shown true culture today with their haka powhiri welcome, which is our culture at it’s best”, Aaron said. “A culture of drinking, drugs, violence is a horrible culture, snap out of it, stand up and make a difference”. His tip for Dargaville was “Respect our Women”.
There was also a strong call for leaders in the community to step up and make their voices heard.
“ For a lot of us family violence has been close to home but each of us can have influence within our own people, be leaders amongst of our own”, Phil Paikea encouraged. “ We have hapu and an iwi so never mind leaning on the government for answers in our own communities, it is up to us”.
NZ Police Senior Sergeant Rob Nordstrom spoke to a crowd of more than 2000 people acknowledging that the people of Dargaville are ready for change.
“ The turn out here today tells me that this community has had enough of family violence”, he said. “ I urge you to take this happy family environment you see here today back into your homes and speak up so that we can help victims of family violence and stop the pain”.
“ The message is don’t turn up your stereo and shut your curtains. Stand up and ring us, so we don’t have to be the ones that eventually clean up the mess. Let us know so we can help offenders get the right support to stop being violent for good”.
Police estimate only 18 per cent of family violence is ever reported. Violence against women is not just physical, but includes emotional and psychological violence such as manipulation, intimidation and coercion.
Event organiser Tina Stewart is the person who took up the challenge to put the Dargaville event together. Last year Tina organised a convoy of bikes and cars that went down to Dairy Flat to show the ride organisers they were serious about holding the White Ribbon events in 2012.
“ What an effort everyone showed to “stand up and be counted”, Tina said. When I pulled up to Bream Bay yesterday and saw the bikes and cars and then when we arrived in Dargaville it was overwhelming”.
“What an awesome turn out today, there are more people here today that there was in Manukau City”, noted Tony Brooking.
“ Today is by far the best turn out we have had which tells me you must be hoha as well, you have had enough and are ready to stand up”, Aaron Morrison said.
The event kicked off with Warkworth band The Damage taking to the stage and Dargaville Intermediate School kupa haka lead by Principal and White Ribbon Committee Member Brendon Lucich performed in between the band’s sets.
Northland DHB, Woman’s Refuge, Te Korowai Aroha Pumau, Te Uri O Hau, SOS, Youth Service and Kaipara Abuse Prevention were there to promote a violent free community with heaps of entertainment on offer including the very popular Harley bike rides and photo opportunities with classic cars.
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 It’s Not Ok 0800 456 450 or Women’s Refuge 0800 733 843 or visit www.nnsvs.org.nz 
Wear a white ribbon every day, join a White Ribbon project or activity and show your support.
One in three women will experience partner violence at some point in their lives[i] 
On average, 14 women are killed by their partners or ex partners in New Zealand each year.[ii] 
Over 3,500 convictions are recorded against men each year for assaults on women[iii] 
Only 20% of abuse cases are reported[iv] 
The Families Commission and White Ribbon Committee work with multiple agencies and NGOs to coordinate the national campaign. The White Ribbon campaign compliments but is separate to the family violence It’s Not OK campaign.
i]  Snively, Suzanne, The New Zealand Economic Cost of Family Violence (1996)
[ii]  New Zealand Police
[iii]  New Zealand Police
[iv]  New Zealand Police