Anti-bullying campaign to be launched in Oamaru

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Fale Pasifika O Aoraki’s anti-bullying project will be launched in Oamaru at the end of this week.

The opening of the Timaru-based organisation’s Oamaru branch and the launch of their anti-bullying campaign will be held at the Orwell Street Church on Friday.

Oamaru project worker Beni Latavao, who started in June, said the project would work as an engagement and interaction programme in schools, as well as with parents and local organisations.

With a growing Pasifika population in Oamaru, a need had arisen to connect with the community, he said.

Many migrants had come straight from the Pacific Islands and might need to learn what normal behaviour was in New Zealand, Mr Latavao said.

“It’s about creating that awareness. There is a need to have better education.

“Some don’t realise they are bullying.”

The project, called Fale Pasifika O Aoraki’s Anti-Bullying Stars, will run workshops in schools and those who have completed the programme will be recognised as “stars”.

They will also work with other organisations which run anti-bullying projects, including Youthtown and Police.

“We want our community to be a good community.”

Mr Latavao came to Oamaru from Christchurch, where he worked in administration and mentored in Pasifika training at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT).

His children came to Oamaru to board at St Kevin’s College after the earthquakes, so he is happy to be close to his family.

The opening will demonstrate the programme and feature guest speakers. Food will also be provided.

“It will be really good for the whole community,” Mr Latavao said.

The event will be held at the Orwell Street Church on Friday, July 25, at 11am. People are encouraged to wear a pink shirt to support anti-bullying.

Fale Pasifika O Aoraki’s Oamaru branch is located at the CCS Disability building on Thames St. Phone 437 9023.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

ANTI-BULLYING: Fale Pasifika O Aoraki’s Oamaru project worker Beni Latavao will be holding the anti-bullying project launch this Friday.