Four Māngere boys scored free cookies after they spotted a man from a TV campaign against family violence and recited the advertisement to him word for word.

The anti-violence campaigner Vic Tamati ran into the four boys aged between 10 and 12 at the Māngere town centre Subway branch at about 2pm on Saturday.

A posting on the It's not OK Campaign Facebook page said he walked in the door and one of the boys asked him to buy him a biscuit.

Vic Tamati and the boys at Subway... On Saturday after finishing a presentation in Avondale I stopped at some shops by...

Posted by It's not OK Campaign on Sunday, 16 July 2017

"We had this discussion," Tamati said.

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"I said, 'Who does this? Who sees someone come in the door and ask for a cookie?" he said.

"He goes, 'I do'.

"I go, 'you just did'.

"And then one of the other boys looked at me and said, 'I know you'.

"I said, 'no bro, I'm not your father'. I thought they were just kids being silly so I decided to just play along.

"He said, 'no you're on tv'.

"I said, 'nah, bro, you can't get a cookie out of me that way'."

But then the boys started reciting the advertisement.

"He goes, 'you're that fellow on that ad, family violence is okay' - nah, it's not okay'.

"Then the other one remembers I said it's not okay to hit women, and I go 'wow-oh!'

"The first one started reciting back the words. It was just shocking, and I said to him, 'how do you remember me?' And he goes, 'by your hair'.

"I asked the other one and he goes, 'oh, I saw it in this home and that home and that home that I've been to'.

"Then we just sat down, had a wee talk to them about different things. I talked to them a little bit about family violence. I asked them where they all lived. They told me. I took a photo with them.

"And I said, 'you boys have been good to me and you can all get a biscuit'."

Tamati said he did not ask the boy who had lived in multiple homes to give any details of his past. He believed the four boys had gone into Subway to ask the staff for free cookies.

Tamati himself grew up only a few streets away from where all four boys lived in māngere.

"I was just so sad, sad that it's still happening, that the kids who were my age when I was living there are still going through that," he said.

"But I was totally stoked that two of them knew the ads. I get it [recognition] from adults all the time but they can't remember it word for word, but these little kids knew it word for word."

Tamati is a fulltime campaigner and counsellor on family violence with his own non-profit agency Safe man safe family Aotearoa.

Family violence: Where to get help

• Women's refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• It's not OK: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence
• National network of stopping violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz
• White ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz

How to hide your visit

If you are reading this information on the Herald website and you're worried that someone using the same computer will find out what you've been looking at, you can follow the steps at the link Here to hide your visit. Each of the websites above also have a section that outlines this process.

If you're in danger now:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay