White Ribbon Riders bring message of peace

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A thundering rumble reverberated around the grounds of Alexandra Primary School on Monday, but the black leather-clad men and women riding mighty motorcycles brought a message of peace.

They were taking part in the White Ribbon Ride, an annual trek across the country run by the White Ribbon Trust.

Trust ambassador Blair McKenzie said the ride took place every November to address the issue of family harm and men’s violence towards women.

The aim was to ensure men took ownership of their behaviour “making sure we are looking after our partners, our children, and doing what men should be doing”, he said.

Pupils Tui Simpson, Harley Turnbull and Jack Sinnamon welcomed the bikers on behalf of the school.

Harley said pupils in years 7 and 8 had been learning about sexuality “preparing for the teenage years that are yet to come”.

Tui said self worth was “very important” and they had been working on slogans to help motivate each other.

“Just because I am a girl doesn’t mean I can’t achieve great things,” she said.

Jack said another slogan was “to be yourself in a world which is always trying to change you is one of the biggest achievements you could ever achieve”.

Mr McKenzie thanked the pupils for sharing and listening to the trust’s message to “open up”.

This year, the campaign was focusing on “unspoken language”. Young men in particular were taught to “toughen up” but instead the trust was encouraging men to “open up and share what’s in their hearts”.

Sharing the problems they had, rather than “bottling them up” was the goal.

“That’s about sharing problems, sharing situations that are bothering you, and not bottling them up inside,” Mr McKenzie said.