Korero Mai, Korero Atu, Mauri Tu, Mauri Ora Stand Together, Stop Bullying!

That is the message behind a sea of pink that swept across Central Otago schools on Friday.

Pink Shirt Day is about working together to stop bullying, and promotes kindness and inclusiveness.

The global movement began in Canada in 2007 when two pupils stood up for a boy being bullied for wearing a pink shirt.

In a show of solidarity the pupils bought pink shirts and gave them out to their classmates to wear.

Fourteen years later, Pink Shirt Day has expanded throughout the globe, and across Central Otago.

In the Ida Valley, Poolburn School gave the senior pupils in years 4 to 8 responsibility to organise an “extravaganza” of activities with cupcake decorating, and pupils wearing pink shirts they designed and decorated.

Poolburn School principal Melissa Gare said while Pink Shirt Day was only a snippet in time, staff and pupils were passionate about seeing values of kindness and inclusivity all of the time.

The years 4 to 8 pupils would become ambassadors for the Sticks ‘n Stones programme at school with a facilitator to assist them.

“We were so proud to donate $72.70 to Karla Sanders on behalf of Sticks ‘n Stones to carry on the amazing work they do in our area,” she said.

At Alexandra Primary School pupils dressed in pink and shared pink iced buns for morning tea, with activities arranged by the schools Sticks ‘n Stones ambassadors.

St Gerard’s Primary School year 7 pupil and Sticks ‘n Stones ambassador Jay-T McFadyen (12) said the day was about “supporting anti-bullying”.

The school pupils had dressed in pink and were taking part in a range of activities.

“We’re doing quite a lot of activities actually chalk on the [tennis] court, some baking, a parade around the [tennis] court,” he said.

Year 6 pupil and Sticks ‘n Stones ambassador Louisa Marsden (10) said it was important people stepped in when they saw people being bullied.