Bay of Plenty Times

White Rib­bon pledge amid som­bre set­ting

- Kiri Gille­spie Society · United Nations · Salisbury

Thirty-one years af­ter the bru­tal rape and mur­der of Bri­tish back­packer Mon­ica Cantwell a small group of peo­ple scaled­mauaoand pledged to stand against vi­o­lence on­wom­e­nas part of White Rib­bon Day.

Cantwell was killed at the top of Mauaoon Novem­ber 20, 1989. These days, a large rock adorned with a plaque hon­ours her­mem­ory just me­tres from where her body was found.

Yes­ter­day morn­ing, the rock was shrouded in grey mist as peo­ple gath­ered to re­mem­ber Cantwell and look for­ward to bet­ter times.

Or­gan­iser Buddy Mikaere said the wetweather pre­vent­ed­many peo­ple from at­tend­ing but also cre­ated an eerie calm for those peo­ple­who­did, such as act­ing mayor Tina Sal­is­bury and Tau­ranga Women’s Refuge fam­ily re­silience kaumahi (worker) Hori Ahomiro.

“Be­ing up there at that par­tic­u­lar spot was quite poignant,” Mikaere said.

“With the mist all around, it was quite a som­bre set­ting but a cel­e­bra­tion as well, mark­ing this day and peo­ple hav­ing good and sound and sen­si­ble things to say.

“It was just lovely. We­had peo­ple therewhore­ad poetry, ev­ery­one sang re­ally well. Wewill try to do it again next year, of course, mak­ing it an an­nual event.”

White Rib­bon Day, Novem­ber 25, is the in­ter­na­tional day­when­peo­ple wear awhite rib­bon to show that they do not con­done vi­o­lence to­wards women. It be­gan in Canada in 1991 and was adopted by the United Na­tions, be­ing in­tro­duced to Newzealand in 2004.

Mikaere said the event, mark­ing the day, ac­knowl­edged there were is­sues in so­ci­ety “but this is some­thing­we­can do, as a com­mu­nity, with­out toomuch ef­fort”.

In­newzealand, an av­er­age of 24 adults and nine chil­dren a year are killed in fam­ily vi­o­lence. At least

Be­ing up there at that par­tic­u­lar spot was quite poignant. Buddy Mikaere

an­other 3500 con­vic­tions a year are recorded again­st­men­for as­saults on­wom­e­nand one in five­women will ex­pe­ri­ence sex­ual as­sault at some­point in their lives.

Mikaere has long sup­ported Tau­ranga Women’s Refuge and held the first White Rib­bon Day­mauao ser­vice last year to mark the 30th an­niver­sary of Cantwell’s death.

Ahomiro, who is also a Bay of Plenty District Health Board mem­ber, said the ser­vice had felt “eerie” in the mist and the rain also lifted dur­ing the ser­vice, re­turn­ing af­ter it was over.

“For us, asma¯ori, there’s awairua in that space,” he said.

Ahomiro spoke of the im­por­tance to ac­knowl­edge the need to look af­ter­wom­e­nand chil­dren but also the­menin­volved and en­sure they were ed­u­cated about vi­o­lence.

 ?? Photo / File ?? Buddy Mikaere at the Mon­ica Cantwell me­mo­rial rock at Mauao sum­mit, pic­tured in Novem­ber 2019.
Photo / File Buddy Mikaere at the Mon­ica Cantwell me­mo­rial rock at Mauao sum­mit, pic­tured in Novem­ber 2019.
 ?? Photo / File ?? The Mon­ica Cantwell me­mo­rial rock at Mauao sum­mit.
Photo / File The Mon­ica Cantwell me­mo­rial rock at Mauao sum­mit.

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