The Cook Island Development Agency of New Zealand (CIDANZ) says it’s time for Pasifika communities to stand up and show support for people experiencing homophobic, transphobic and biphobic bullying.
CIDANZ is hosting an event in Mangere this weekend in support of Pasifika rainbow communities, who experience higher rates of bullying in New Zealand, particularly at school.
“The Pasifika community has a part to play in preventing bullying. It’s time for us to stand up and show support for those affected by it,” CIDANZ spokesperson Selina Patia says.
“It’s important to understand how our behaviour can impact on others and create more welcoming and inclusive schools, workplaces and communities. When people feel truly accepted, included and valued by their peers, bullying can lose much of its sting.”
Held alongside the Mangere Markets on Saturday 4 May, the first-time Pasifika event is part of Pink Shirt Day, a bullying prevention campaign run by the Mental Health Foundation.
Pink Shirt Day started in Canada in 2007 when two students took a stand against homophobic bullying after a new Year 10 student was harassed and threatened for wearing pink. The next day hundreds of students showed up in pink, some from head-to-toe, to stand together against bullying. It has been celebrated in New Zealand since 2009.
CIDANZ hopes the Pasifika event will turn Mangere pink and start important conversations.
“The theme is ‘courageous conversations’ so we hope it will help families understand the issues affecting rainbow communities, embrace each other’s differences and start conversations on how to create positive environments that prevent bullying,” Patia says.
The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) says bullying can have serious and ongoing impacts on mental health and wellbeing.
“Research shows people who are bullied are more likely to experience depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts at the time, and that can trauma can reappear later in life,” MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson says.
“Bullying can also negatively impact bystanders to bullying, and in workplaces it can affect staff performance and productivity.”
“We’re honoured the first Pasifika Pink Shirt Day is being run by a recognised, local Pasifika organisation. We know this event is just the beginning of long-lasting change when it comes to bullying prevention in our Pasifika communities,” Mr Robinson says.
The MHF and CIDANZ are encouraging the Pasifika community in Auckland community to attend the event where they will be entertained by performances by local groups and interactive activities.
The Pasifika Pink Shirt Day is being held prior to the nationwide Pink Shirt Day on Friday 17 May.
Pasifika Pink Shirt Day 2019 event details:
For more information on the Pasifika event or Pink Shirt Day, please contact:
021 998 949
About Pink Shirt Day
The Cook Islands Development Agency New Zealand (CIDANZ) trades under the Taokota’anga Charitable Trust, based in Mangere, South Auckland. Its mandate is to increase social and local economic development by supporting individuals and families to actively participate in initiatives that can generate financial wellness.