Te Awamutu locals on White Ribbon Day showed their support against domestic violence in our community by donning high heels or decorated gumboots for a mass walk down Alexandra St.

The In Her Shoes event, organised by Violence Free Waipa Te Awamutu and Ministry of Social Development (MSD) saw about 30 people get into the spirit of the event including Te Awamutu's Community Constable Ryan Fleming who sported red high heels.

Violence Free Waipa Te Awamutu co-ordinator Ange Holt said she was blown away by the support the event received.

It was the first event of its kind for Te Awamutu and the idea sparked from her co-organiser Rosemary Tui Tama, manager of Te Awamutu MSD, who ran a similar event when she worked at the Five Cross Roads MSD branch.

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"I was stoked by the response and support from the community. There was such a great vibe because people really got into it and enjoyed it," says Ange.

While the internationally recognised day particularly calls for support in stopping violence against women, Ange said the local event really was about putting a stop to domestic violence in its entirety.

"White Ribbon is about stopping violence against women, and admittedly that is the biggest issue, but the day is about encouraging healthy and respectful relationships and stopping violence against everyone," said Ange.

Service providers lined Alexandra St during the walk with information stalls for anyone who wanted to find out more about what help is on offer.

Those providers were Kainga Aroha, Epilepsy Foundation, Stroke Foundation, Raukawa Trust, MSD, Violence Free Waipa, Maniapoto Maori Trust, Waikato Mental Health, Maori Women's Welfare League and Community Health Social Workers DHB.

White Ribbon ambassador David White speaking at Monday's event in Te Awamutu. Photo / Dean Taylor
White Ribbon ambassador David White speaking at Monday's event in Te Awamutu. Photo / Dean Taylor

The walk, which started at the Te Awamutu Courier, concluded at Ata Poutama (Department of Corrections) and it was here that domestic violence campaigner and nominee for 2020 New Zealander of the Year and White Ribbon ambassador David White spoke about his campaign.

"We were super lucky to have David join us. He not only spoke at the end of the event but he also put on some high heels and walked with us," said Ange.

In 2009 David's daughter Helen Meads was tragically shot dead by her husband and millionaire racehorse breeder Greg Meads four days after she told him she was leaving him. Since then David has been a strong campaigner for putting an end to family violence.

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For 10 years, the White Ribbon ambassador has been talking to groups including prison inmates and at events such as In Her Shoes about domestic violence in efforts to stop what happened to his family happening to others.

Earlier this year he also embarked on his Harm Ends — Future Begins Tour where he visited 71 electorates in 71 days to deliver 120 presentations about what people can do to help stop the violence.

After his talk, David and those who attended the In Her Shoes event enjoyed a free sausage sizzle provided by Corrections staff.