Local artist to take on White Ribbon residency at Whanganui Hospital


13 November 2018

A live art display at Whanganui Hospital later this month will be the centrepiece of Whanganui DHB’s effort to support this year’s White Ribbon campaign.

The White Ribbon movement aims to actively engage the community, and particularly men, in the effort to stop violence towards women and children.

Local artist Dan Mills will set up inside the hospital’s Main Entrance foyer on the morning of Friday 23 November, to create an artwork based on the White Ribbon kaupapa (theme). In addition, 3000 white ribbons have been ordered and a roster of male staff members will be distributing them to hospital visitors on the day.

The art display has been organised by WDHB’s Child Youth Mortality Review Committee regional co-ordinator Terry Sarten, who says the live art work will embrace the focus of this year’s campaign which is encouraging people to actively engage with the White Ribbon kaupapa.

“There will be live updates on the WDHB Facebook page as Dan works on the large canvas so staff and the wider community can follow its progress as it emerges,” Mr Sarten says. “We hope staff and the public will stop by, talk to the White Ribbon team and check out Dan’s artwork as it gradually develops into its finished form.”

Mr Mills is donating his time and talent for the project with local businesses Meteor Office Products Depot and Philp-Wrights providing funding to cover the cost of art materials.

Mr Sarten says physical violence, as well as emotional and psychological abuse, does enormous damage to children and women and it has long term consequences.

“Men in our community can change that by challenging their mates, uncles, grandfathers, fathers and sons to act when they are aware of abusive behaviour,” he says. “They can play a crucial role in changing families, workplaces and communities.”

Also on display at the hospital’s front entrance, as it has for past White Ribbon events, will be the waka used for WDHB’s employee cultural awareness programme. The presence of the waka represents the kotahitanga and collaboration shown by community groups in support of the White Ribbon kaupapa. Later in the morning, the waka will be taken to the annual White Ribbon march in the city centre.

The White Ribbon march begins at 12 noon, starting at the corner of St Hill Street and Taupo Quay (opposite Trafalgar Square) before heading up Victoria Avenue.

The live art display will also wrap up shortly before midday, so members of the public and staff who are available can head along to the march. Whanganui DHB is also supporting a ‘Community Korero’ hui at Te Ao Hou Marae, Aramoho on Tuesday 20 November. The hui is aimed at developing actions to prevent violence towards wahine and tamariki. The meeting starts at 7pm, with interested members of the public encouraged to attend.

For more information about White Ribbon, visit: whiteribbon.org.nz