On 9 August at 12:12pm around New Zealand, people were asked to pause for three minutes and reflect on the current issues related to child abuse. I thought it was a great idea and wanted to somehow mark this event with something that our children could participate in.
So for the preceding few days, the children created banners and posters that had positive messages on them about their families and friends—things like ‘I love my mum’, ‘I like it when dad hugs me’, ‘I love playing with my family’ etc.
Then at noon we went out in front of our school and shared these posters with the community and passing motorists. At 12:12pm Fr Penehe Patelehio came out and blessed all our children in front of the presbytery.
The media interest in what we were doing was massive. We had TV 1 and TV 3, The Dominion Post, Kapi Mana and CityLife papers here. What we did was show the community and hopefully New Zealand that there is a lot of love in our community and our children are able to celebrate it.
The support and words of encouragement we received from the community and other schools after the event was overwhelming. It wasn’t designed to show off, or get us in the news, it was so that our children could celebrate the things they were proud of in their own lives and families.
Sometimes the media focuses too much on the negative and very little on the positive, so I wanted that to change in this instance.
See also Campaign for Action on Family Violence, page 6.