Poi, mau rākau and dance videos raise anti-bullying awareness

By Jessica Tyson

As part of Pink Shirt Day today, people around Aotearoa are making videos to raise awareness of anti-bullying as part of an online challenge, the Auaha Challenge.

So far videos have been submitted by tamariki, parents and adults performing poi, may rākau demos and dances as part of the challenge, which is being led by kapa haka champion Kawariki Morgan.

“We wanted to raise awareness that Pink Shirt Day is about anti-bullying and then get people involved in the kaupapa. but mostly push the message that we need to stand together - we need to speak up to stop bullying.”

As part of the challenge, Morgan is calling on whānau to make their own creative video to Maimoa’s waiata Whāia.

“It could be a dance, a poi, a mau rākau demo, whatever you want to create while wearing your pink shirt and using the hashtags #pinkshirtdaynz and #auahachallenge,” Morgan says.

Aotearoa has the third-highest rates of school bullying out of 51 OECD countries.

Not standing by

Studies by the Mental Health Foundation show that people who are bullied are more likely to experience mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts. The annual Pink Shirt Day is designed to raise awareness about preventing bullying.

“It’s a reminder that small actions lead to larger actions that create positive change where we live, work and play. It's a chance to celebrate the diverse, wonderful people around us and take meaningful steps to prevent bullying,” Morgan says.

As part of the campaign this year, bystanders of bullying are also being asked to raise their voices when they see another person being bullied.

“It’s about behaviours and being an upstander, not standing by and letting bullying happen. So, if you see it happen, say something. It can be hard but there’s no way to stop bullying if we can speak up. Being an upstander is when you see it happen, call it out.”

Pink Shirt Day started in Canada, where two high school students took a stand against homophobic bullying after a student was harassed for wearing māwhero, pink.