Sunset Primary School students were feeling the beat as part of the Bully Free Bro programme.

Top-ranked female beatboxer, Hope Haami aka HopeOne, visited the Rotorua school yesterday to help spread the anti-bullying message.

Haami is of Maori descent from Australia and was in the city as part of her national tour. The 27-year-old was third in the female section in the World Beatbox Championships in Berlin, Germany in 2009. Beatboxing is a form of vocal percussion which reproduces the sounds of drum beats, rhythms and musical sounds.

Haami said she knew first hand on what it's like to be bullied.


"When I was young everybody said I couldn't beatbox because I was a girl.

"I started teaching myself when I was 13 and was the only girl entering competitions."

She said people telling her she couldn't compete only motivated her more to succeed.

Since then she has competed throughout the world, appeared in a VICKS commercial and has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in music such as George Clinton, Michael Franti, Cold Chisel and The Wailers.

"We need to get the message out there that it's not okay to bully.

"It could really ruin someone's life," Haami said.

Bully Free Bro co-ordinator Warren Tumarae said it was great to have strong role models like Haami sharing her story.

"A friend of mine tagged me on Facebook in a video clip of hers and I messaged asking if she would like to come to Rotorua and become an ambassador of the Bully Free Bro," he said.


"It's about engaging with the kids to spread the message and they really like the whole beatbox thing."

Haami also spread the Bully Free Bro message at the Rotorua Youth Centre last night which was organised by Crash Palace Creative Arts Trust which aimed to uplift and empower children through music and art.