Hawke's Bay police, firefighters and St John Ambulance officers have taken a united stance by taking a special pledge.

The Fire Service and St John Ambulance crews have agreed to put their names to the White Ribbon campaign - to show their support for reducing family violence in the community and violence against women.

Like a growing number of New Zealanders they stepped forward to "take the pledge" as part of the campaign which runs every November.

Hawke's Bay police family violence unit co-ordinator Detective Daryl More said police were challenged by the Napier City Council to take the pledge about a fortnight ago and were all too keen to do so.


"So now we've challenged the fire service and St John Ambulance and they've also agreed."

Mr Moore said family violence and violence against women was a "major issue" in the community, and sadly Hawke's Bay's record was not a good one.

"There has to be more public awareness and we have to make changes."

Napier MP Stuart Nash agreed as he addressed the gathering of police and St John, although the fire service were unable to make it after being called away. "It is about taking responsibility for our community - people know it goes on and they have to man up and say it isn't right."

White Ribbon is a campaign to change attitudes and behaviours around men's violence towards women and it is led by men, for men.

While the campaign centres on November 25 being White Ribbon Day it now takes place across the whole month, driven by campaign teams in town and cities across the country.

The campaign was launched in Canada in 1991 and was introduced into New Zealand in 2004 by the United Nations Development Fund for Women with volunteers making and distributing 15,000 ribbons through women's and human rights organisations.

The Families Commission embraced White Ribbon Day as part of its work to raise awareness of family violence and encourage social change.


The commission joined Women's Refuge, National Network of Stopping Violence Services, Amnesty International, Human Rights Commission, YWCA, YMCA, Save the Children and Relationship Services in promoting the campaign.

By 2006 about 200,000 ribbons were distributed and that figure doubled the following year.

Earlier this month Police Commissioner Mike Bush became the latest high profile New Zealander to take on the role as a White Ribbon Ambassador.

He joined Prime Minister John Key, Maori Party leader Te Ururoa Flavell and recently retired deputy mayor of Wellington, Ian McKinnon.

White Ribbon chairman, Judge Peter Boshier, said that the timing of the appointment this month was particularly important as the international White Ribbon Day is held each year on November 25.

"This is a time when we should all reflect on what needs to be done to reduce our appalling family violence statistics," he said.

"Commissioner Bush's willingness to accept nomination sends a powerful message to other men and to all NZ leaders."