Riders gather for White Ribbon day

DIANA WORTHY
Last updated 05:00 27/11/2013
Bikers

SETTING OFF: Bikers get ready for the ride from Onetangi to Oneroa to mark White Ribbon Day.

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Men on motorbikes drove home the message that violence towards women must stop when they roared from Onetangi to Oneroa at the weekend.

The ride was a show of support for a week-long motorcycle tour that draws attention to the nation's domestic violence record.

It culminates in the annual anti-domestic violence White Ribbon Day.

The riders - and representatives from the island's Living Without Violence group, police, politics and marae - were joined by victims and former perpetrators at the day's 11am gathering in Alison Park, Oneroa.

Police Sergeant Peter Knight, who organised the cavalcade, raised the Living Without Violence flag over the memorial stone after opening prayers from Paora Toi Te Rangiuaia.

"During the last 12 months we attended 40 incidents where alleged violence has taken place in the home and that's not counting the odd argument," Mr Knight says.

"The worst thing for us is when kids are there.

"Who's the biggest teacher? The adult is. Kids watching think it's normal.

"It's not."

Living Without Violence men's programme co-ordinator Wiremu Te Taniwha speaks as a former gang member and perpetrator.

He says his wife and children lived in an environment where power and control ruled.

"I thought violence was normal.

"What's significant for me is even though my children grew up in an atmosphere of violence, my grandchildren totally don't know what violence is," he says.

"It takes the man to look at himself and say, ‘I've got a problem,' and reach out to agencies to make a change."

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