World Famous in Palmerston North - 23 July 2014
When Palmerston North wanted to raise awareness of family violence among young people, the city engaged the support of six local celebrities.
The youth-friendly celebs — musician Tiki Taane, Rugby World Cup hero Aaron Cruden, Black Sticks captain Kayla Sharland, comedian Coach Dan, Freestyle Motorcross rider Levi Sherwood and Massey University band The Nerines — all donated their time to support the It's not OK campaign.
One of the most successful aspects was a competition for 10 to 17-year-olds to devise a radio spot. Eighty teams of four youth entered the contest, gathering more than 9,000 votes from the public.
The winning team was Palmerston North's Intermediate Normal School whose radio spot was professionally recorded. As well, the team's members each won an iPad 2 and their school was treated to a lunchtime concert by Tiki Taane.
Tiki told Police magazine Ten One it was the best school concert he'd ever played and he loved being part of the campaign.
"When I was younger my mother experienced the same issues. She and my father had split and she met another man. He was violent and I had to go to court and testify."
He says that was a hard time in his life. Statistics show family violence is a massive issue so he was pleased to take part.
Appealing to youth
Jimmy Ballantyne, Palmerston North City Council Safety Officer, says the different elements of the contest were devised to appeal to a young audience.
"We wanted to reach out to them through the media that they use. Giving kids the power to decide who was the winner was also a good move. It gave them a say.
"The competition was open to whatever kids wanted to do. Some did raps and some did messages."
Jimmy says the local champions were also carefully chosen.
"The kids got involved because of characters like Coach Dan who's world famous in Palmerston North."
The contest was a collaboration among the city council and groups including the Edge radio station, which donated staff and air time, Police, the Manawatu Abuse Intervention Network and Women's Refuge.
Another element was associating It's not OK messages on rubber bracelets or pamphlets with youth-friendly local personalities.
"Every time we handed our stuff out everything we heard from kids was positive. The association with people like Tiki Taane made the campaign pretty cool."
Jimmy says the messages have been kept alive with a presence at community days and other projects.
For the future, the council is planning ads on the back of buses featuring photos of local celebrities.
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