Pink Shirt Day is here

15 Oct, 2020

Speak up and stand together to stop bullying.

Global bullying prevention campaign Pink Shirt Day is here. Tomorrow New Zealanders will wear their pink shirt with pride, spreading aroha and kindness to encourage people to speak up and stand together to stop bullying.

Close to 20,000 official 2020 t-shirts have been purchased already, with sales continuing through Friday at Cotton On stores throughout Aotearoa.  People from schools, workplaces, whānau and communities will stand together to Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying! 

Mental Health Foundation (MHF) chief executive Shaun Robinson says Pink Shirt Day is a good time for all New Zealanders to take a stand against some of the bullying behaviour that has cropped up as a result of COVID-19 stress.

“Many front-line workers, health specialists, supermarket workers, bus drivers, medical personnel and hotel workers have been targeted with unacceptable behaviour just for doing their jobs,” Mr Robinson says.  “They tell us they are frequently verbally abused or shunned because of what they do for work.” 

“Bullying can impact people’s mental wellbeing, leading to an increase in depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. We all need to take a stand when we see bullying happening.

Being bullied often makes people feel alone, unseen and isolated. Standing beside them and showing awhi/support will help and make the person feel valued,” Mr Robinson says.

Workplace bullying is prevalent in Aotearoa, with 1 in 10 workers admitting to being bullied on the job.  This needs to stop. The Pink Shirt Day workplace toolkit provides information on how to build and sustain a bully-free workplace.  Workplaces that prevent bullying have:

  • implemented strong and well communicated policies and processes;
  • leadership that shows commitment to preventing bullying and will intervene when it occurs;
  • practice positive communication as the norm; and
  • affirm diversity in the workplace

When these actions happen, a workplace will flourish and bullying will reduce.

“Diversity in Aotearoa needs to be celebrated. Unfortunately, racist bullying directed at Asian, Pasifika and other communities is all too prevalent, Mr Robinson says. “Collectively we need to show it’s unacceptable by standing up to bullying and speaking out when we see someone being bullied because of their race.” 

Well known New Zealanders like Dame Val Adams, Sir John Kirwin, Hilary Barry, Antonia Prebble and Suzy Cato are getting behind Pink Shirt Day tomorrow.

“There’s still time to get your pink t-shirt in selected Cotton On stores across Aotearoa. 100% of net proceeds raised will go back into the Pink Shirt Day campaign to help run programmes like rainbow inclusive schools workshops, and let us continue to create positive change in our communities,” Mr Robinson says.

For more information on the Pink Shirt Day and local story angles please contact:

Mark Wilson
Senior Public Relations & Media Engagement Officer, MHF
021 998 949
mark.wilson@mentalhealth.org.nz

More info: 

  • Adult tees cost $25 and children’s $15.
  • People can still buy their Pink Shirt Day t-shirts from select Cotton On stores around New Zealand.
  • Visit the website: www.pinkshirtday.org.nz.
  • There are a range of resources you can download to help bring Pink Shirt Day to life.
  • Every year, one in 10 workers in Aotearoa experience bullying in the workplace. Be part of creating change by transforming your workplace.

On Friday 16 October:

  • Wear your t-shirt with pride and join the sea of pink today!
  • Post a photo or video to social media and don’t forget to write #PinkShirtDayNZ.
  • Share a personal story if you feel comfortable.