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Poetry is back!

Posted: 
Thursday, 10 Sep 2020

White Ribbon’s annual spoken word competition is returning this year with a new twist – it will be entirely online. 

The Spoken Word competition is open to all senior secondary school students, aged 15 years or older.  The theme this year is 'respectful relationships', which research shows is a protection against violence.  The focus is on encouraging men and boys to:

  • understand and model respectful behaviours
  • ensure enthusiastic consent in their sexual relationships
  • reject and challenge the outdated rules around masculinity 
  • role model concepts that support healthy masculinity.

“Poetry has been used as a healing tool for many centuries and is making a comeback.” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann.

“Finding the words to articulate a traumatic experience can bring relief. We created this opportunity to give young people a voice so their thoughts on family harm and violence against women could be heard. We are incredibly proud of last year’s entries which had very inspiring takes and ideas on ending male violence in New Zealand.”

Last year’s winner was 16 year-old Hannah Dorey from St Mary’s College, Wellington, with her piece ‘Respectfully’. It focuses on an unhealthy relationship and its impacts and developing the strength to end it and walk away. The heartfelt poem draws parallels between the experience of drowning and an abusive relationship.

This year, selected finalists will be given the opportunity to take part in White Ribbon’s nationwide November campaign and help make the change they envision.

The Spoken Word competition will be held on the evening of Thursday 17th September via a zoom link, available here.

Entries close on Sunday 13th September. For more information or to submit your entry, go to the White Ribbon website, or email contact@whiteribbon.org.nz