Te Awamutu has taken its stand against bullying.
Last Friday schools, workplaces and community groups all over town marked Pink Shirt Day – the Mental Health Commission-led day which aims to stamp out bullying by celebrating diversity and promoting kindness and inclusion.
Pink Shirt Day donations each year see about 2700 schools and kura nationwide provided with free information, resources and classroom activities helping to promote wellbeing and prevent bullying.
And, throughout the day, as The News made stops at Te Awamutu Intermediate, Waipā District Council, Te Awamutu College and Fonterra Te Awamutu, the message was the same.
Bullying has no place anywhere in Waipā.
At Te Awamutu Intermediate – where many of the schools more than 500 students had donned pink – principal Pip Mears said the ethos of Pink Shirt Day was an important message to support.
“The day aligns very closely with our values as a school, what we call our shine values. We show respect, we’re honest, we include others, we never give up and we seek excellence.”
More than $600 had been received in Pink Shirt Day donations, Mears said.
At Te Awamutu College, a highlight of the activities marking Pink Shirt Day proved to be a colour run held at lunch time.
Year 13 student Steph Hill, chairperson of the school’s health committee, told The News she got the idea for the colour run from a list of “creative suggestions” for ways to support the initiative on the Pink Shirt Day website.
She paid tribute to a committee of about 40 representatives for the work they put into the day.
“I’m really glad everyone had fun today, and the overarching message of everything we did was simply this. Be kind.”
Council staff – and Mayor Susan O’Regan – at the council buildings on Bank Street were also only too happy to mark Pink Shirt Day.
“The message of inclusion, and of not standing for bullying in any form, is a very important one to be sharing,” Mayor Susan O’Regan said.
At Fonterra Te Awamutu – where staff at different plants across the site wore pink – operations manager Russell Muir told The News bullying prevention in workplaces is an important part of building inclusive, and diverse, staff teams.
“At Fonterra, we do this by offering education around building cultures of care. And yes, while being an upstanding person is an everyday decision, each year we specifically take time to recognise Pink Shirt Day to demonstrate our commitment to showing up for each other, treating each other with care and respect and – at the same time – having a bit of fun,” he said.
Fonterra’s dairy kinds – back row, from left, Stan Lloyd, Brent Miles, Barry Lapthorn, Kelly Bennetto, Kaylee Mant, Jamie Brown, Kelly Johnson and Marlon Weerasinghe, front, from left, Te Amo Pene, Rebekah Taylor, Emma Page and Campbell McDonald.