They may be a rugged looking bunch on noisy motorbikes but the message they bring is one of love and respect.

They are the White Ribbon Riders making their annual tour around the lower North Island with the aim of stopping violence towards women.

White Ribbon campaign manager Robb McCann said the korero this year is about sexual violence and encouraging fathers to talk to their sons.

"Those of us who are now middle-aged had very limited access to pornographic material but it is impossible for modern parents to hide sexually explicit content from their kids - it's everywhere," he said.


"We surveyed New Zealand fathers and most of them said they find it really difficult to talk to their sons.

"They understand that it is imperative to talk to their daughters about keeping themselves safe but they say talking to boys is really hard."

Around 40 White Ribbon riders will set out from Raetihi on Saturday November 18 and visit schools, marae, workplaces and public forums.

They will spend next Wednesday in Whanganui visiting the Tupoho Trust, Te Oranganui
Iwi Health Authority and Keith St School before heading to Ratana Pa in the evening.

White Ribbon ride leader Takurua Tawera says being a part of the ride is a choice he has made to be a better man.

"The starting point for putting things right is when fathers and other men help boys and young men develop respectful behaviour in their relationships," he says.

"People who don't think this is an important message may be part of the problem.

"We have seen in recent times high profile Hollywood producers in the spotlight for violent and abusive sexual behavior towards women.

"It happens at all levels of society."

The White Ribbon Lower North Island Ride will visit 11 schools along the way, engaging with both primary and secondary students to encourage respectful relationships among young people.

Mr Tawera said the itinerary also includes community market days, activities, meetings and events.

He hopes that people will come and join the riders as they stop off along the way and says the full itinerary is online at