Motorcyclists make their point
A different sort of motorcycle gang roared into Glenview School last week – tough-seeming gentlemen spreading a message of nonviolence.
Ten White Ribbon riders visited three Eastern Porirua primary schools and Porirua College last Monday as part of a 5000 kilometre, 10-day ride through New Zealand. The rally is in its fifth year and is funded by the Families Commission.
The men taking part might have looked tough in leather and patches, but were gentlemen, said Jacko, a rider with the ex-military Patriot Defence Force motorcycle club.
‘‘This is our way of making a difference,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s a men’s initiative. It’s men standing up and taking ownership of the problem and wanting to be part of the solution.’’
By storming into schools on Harley Davidsons, the riders really got the attention of young boys and girls, Jacko said.
Fellow rider Takurua Tawaera said some Glenview pupils asked him what gang he was from, which allowed him to start a conversation about the group’s mission.
Mr Tawaera’s motorcycle club, Te Ahi Kikoha, is made up of social workers, ex-gang members and ex-prisoners, many with a history of violence against women.
Now reformed, members aim to eradicate degrading or sexualising language and acts towards women, Mr Tawaera said.
‘‘We do it because we care for women and families.
‘‘What can we contribute now that we didn’t do in our younger life?’’
Riders collected pledges from men to renounce violence against women, White Ribbon campaign manager Rob McCann said.
‘‘ Violence against women results in 14 deaths each year. It also affects those who use it, often making them feel sad, isolated, ashamed and frightened of losing relationships,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s about men taking responsibility for their own, and other men’s, violence.’’
Motors and morals: Glenview School pupil Maila Lafaele, 11, got a thrill meeting White Ribbon motorcyclist John Crofts last Monday.