A student-led anti-bully initiative has scooped a $30,000 prize.

Sitcks n' Stones aims to educate students about the mental and physical pain inflicted by bullying at schools, including cyber bullying.

The Otago group is the latest recipient of $30,000 funding from Jetstar's Flying Start Programme, which hands out quarterly grants to community groups or organisations working in charity, health, sport, education or the arts.

The Herald on Sunday supports the programme.


The grant is $15,000 cash and $15,000 worth of Jetstar travel.

The cash will be spent to design and promote a board game aimed at raising awareness of the perils of bullying.

It will be available to schools and sold to the public.

Backers of the initiative also hope to develop an online version.

Sticks n' Stones will use the travel grant to head to Melbourne for the National Centre Against Bullying Conference next July.

Five schools are part of Sticks n' Stones. Each has an action group including pupils and an adult support person.

Ashleigh Smith, chairwoman of the Maniototo Area School's action group, said the fact Sticks n' Stones was driven by students had helped the anti-bullying message get through to teens.

"We decided we couldn't have another regular group that was adult-led, where adults came into our school and told us how to behave, because it wasn't working.


Their messages weren't connecting with us," the 18-year-old said.

"We decided our group would be totally teenage-led so we make all the decisions. It is teenagers relating to teenagers and young people taking the lead to promote positive actions."

The Year 13 student said bullying affected every teenager. "It can negatively affect people and lead to tragic circumstances," she said.

Jetstar chief executive Grant Kerr said the Flying Start Programme's judging panel was impressed with Sticks n' Stones.

He described it as a "standout applicant".

"What they are doing is amazing. We have seen how social media these days is managed and can be manipulated so this application was a great initiative," he said.

More than 160 community groups applied for funding in the latest round.

Previous recipients of Flying Start grants include Bellyful, Arthritis New Zealand, Clown Doctors, Hand in Hand, Big Buddy and Hearing Dogs New Zealand.