Police staff from around the Bay of Plenty District will be lending their support to a number of White Ribbon community events this month aimed at raising awareness of family violence.
White Ribbon Day is the United Nations International Day for the elimination of violence against women and the wearing of a white ribbon has been adopted as the international symbol of opposition to such violence.
Rotorua will be the starting point of the activity with the national launch of the White Ribbon Rider. The ride, led by the Patriots Defence Force Motorcycle Club, Te Ahi Kikoha and South Island Iwi; has become iconic. The group is made up of men willing to declare their opposition to violence and promote healthy relationships by riding travelling across New Zealand asking the question "are you man enough to stop violence towards women?"
They arrive in Rotorua on Friday night (16 November) and will take part in a lake front event on Saturday morning (17 November) which will include live entertainment, speakers, games, a hangi and a white balloon release from 9.30am.
Some of the riders then move on to Tokoroa to lend their support at the Youth Park on Roslin Street between 12.45pm and 2pm. Taupo is the next stop joining the Tu Meke Whanau Day. This event kicks off at the Tongariro South Park Domain at 1pm providing a full afternoon of family entertainment including Kapa Haka and much more.
On Thursday 22, November the Patriot motorcycles arrive in Opotiki where they will support a march that has been organised at 1pm to publicise anti-violence and deliver positive messages.
They then carry on to Whakatane at 3.30pm where teams will be competing in a tug-o-war competition against the Police and Family Violence Intervention teams. If that's a little too strenuous there will also be a bouncy castle and free sausage sizzle.
The following morning (Friday, 23 November) the riders head To Kawerau swinging past Awakeri School for a heap of activities and a Police dog display.
Across the western side of the bay on the Friday evening from 5.30pm police staff will be taking part in another tug-o-war challenge. This popular annual community event is at Fraser Cove, Fraser Street, Tauranga.
If by 23 November you still haven't got your white ribbon to mark the offical White Ribbon Day on the 24th then Taupo is the place to be. Police will be handing them out and you can cheer on the riders in the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge at the same time.
Police encourage everyone to show their support to these events and use the opportunity to find out what support services are available in an informal, anonymous and non judgemental environment.
For details of all the White Ribbon events going on in the Bay of Plenty and around New Zealand go to whiteribbon.org.nz/act/events/listings
Remember violence is not OK, but it is OK to ask for help, so if you are the victim of violence or you know someone who is being abused speak out. If you or someone you know are in immediate danger call 111. Women's Refuge Crisis Line also offers a 24hr helpline service on 0800 REFUGE.
There are a number of other national and local support services that can provide useful help and advice.
For more information about where to get help and how you can help if you know someone affected by family violence go to www.areyouok.org.nz or call 0800 456 450.