Seven professional rugby players leave for Vanuatu this weekend as part of a unique programme that aims to prevent domestic violence.
For the sixth year running New Zealand rugby players are giving their support as role models to the Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence Programme (PPDVP).
The programme is a joint initiative between the New Zealand Aid programme, the New Zealand Police, and Police from five participating Pacific Island nations, including Vanuatu.
Last year the programme won the NZ Rugby Players Association Off the Field Achievment Award
Head of the PPDVP, Cam Ronald said the programme has been very successful with over 60 sports people now having taken part in the programme in Samoa, Tonga, Guam and the Cook Islands.
“One of the best ways of preventing violence is for young men and women to see role models promoting the message that violence is not OK.
"Once again, we are excited and proud that these outstanding young men have decided to extend their role-model status beyond New Zealand and promote a message against domestic violence,” Mr Ronald said.
“They will spend time promoting the “Break the Silence End the Violence” message with young men and women in Vanuatu as well as sharing their passion for rugby through coaching and skills sessions.
This year, the rugby players will also be joined by NZ Age Grade hockey player Matthew Symonds, who will run training sessions with local hockey players.
New Zealand Police assists five countries in the Pacific as part of the PPDVP, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Kiribati and Vanuatu. All of these now have dedicated Domestic Violence Units and police officers that have undergone specialist training.
Personal Development Manager for the Hurricanes Steve Symonds has been involved with the programme since it started and says the anti-violence message is one that is close to the players’ hearts.
“These young men use their personal leave to take part in the trip and give generously of their time and talent to promote what they believe is an important message”.
“Rugby is a hard game and you have to be tough on the field, but the message is that there is a time and place to be aggressive and that it is not at home with your family.
“The players are particularly looked up to by young men and boys - and it is these kids we want to reach with that message,” Mr Symonds said.
The players arrive in Vanuatu on Sunday, November 9 and will stay for a week.
Liaki Moli (Auckland and Blues)
James McGougan (Bay of Plenty, Chiefs and Junior All Black)
Onosai Auva'a (NZ 7s, Auckland and Blues, Counties and offshore
Ambrose Curtis (NZ 7s representative Hurricane and Wellington)
Timo Tutavaha (Hurricane and Taranaki)
Motu Matu’u (Hurricane and Wellington)
Mark Abbott (Hurricane and Hawkes Bay)
Matthew Symonds (NZ Age Group Hockey Player, Capital Representative Player at National League and age group)
For more information:
+64 4 21 192 2912