The Vodafone Warriors are calling for all New Zealanders to have the mana to speak up and speak out against bullying, ahead of Pink Shirt Day tomorrow, 18 May.
The rugby league stars have turned into Pink Shirt Day warriors to support New Zealand’s largest anti-bullying campaign. They swapped their rugby jerseys for pink t-shirts at training this week, and player Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck filmed this video of the boys in action.
“It’s cool to be different and young people in New Zealand should always feel good about who they are,” Vodafone Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck says.
“Pink Shirt Day is a good reminder to be kind and to support our teammates, family and our communities,” he says.
There’s a specific Māori and Pasifika focus to this year’s campaign.
"Rangatahi from Te Kaha O Te Rangatahi Trust translated the original Pink Shirt Day slogan, Speak up, Stand together, Stop bullying’ into something that resonates with them," Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson says.
The slogan Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora, Whakaweto te Whakaweti, translates to Speak up and speak out. To stand together in life and wellness To shut down bullying, intimidation or threats.
“Rangatahi were excited that their kupu was included in a Māori designed t-shirt which used the waha to represent the mana, strength and passion to speak up for others through our kōrero,” Mr Robinson says.
Along with the Vodafone Warriors, a record 2,700 schools, workplaces, community groups, whānau and individuals are supporting Pink Shirt Day this year.
Celebrities including Tiki Taane, Simone Anderson, Jono and Ben, Brodie Kane, Sir Peter Leitch and All Black Sam Whitelock are also joining in to celebrate diversity, promote kindness and aroha and speak out against bullying.
New Zealand rated second-highest for school bullying out of 51 countries and as many as one in five Kiwis are affected by bullying in the workplace.
“Bullying can have serious and ongoing impacts on our mental health and wellbeing. We know that people who are bullied are more likely to experience depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts and avoid going to school,” Mr Robinson says.
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