INDEPENDENT NEWS

‘Ordinary’ people faces of new billboard

Published: Sat 1 Nov 2008 12:13 PM
Embargoed until 1am, Saturday, November 1, 2008
Media Release
October 30, 2008
‘Ordinary’ people faces of new billboard
Just days after her birthday, Waitakere teenager Christine Finlay is giving a gift back to the city with her involvement in the latest anti family violence billboard campaign.
The secondary school student turned 17 on Friday and is included on a billboard featuring a group of ‘not so famous’ Westies that are being installed throughout the city this weekend.
Christine joins Michael Alofa, his wife police Sergeant Kelly Farrant-Alofa, Ngareta Renata and Fiona Cunningham as the new faces of the, family violence is “Not OK in Waitakere campaign, which has previously featured high profile Waitakere residents such as, sportsmen Michael Jones and Va’aiga ‘Inga’ Tuigamala, actor Robyn Malcolm, Mayor Bob Harvey, actor Tammy Davis and entertainer Pio Terei.
The billboards are a local version of a national campaign and were first launched by Mayor Harvey in 2006 when he established a Mayoral Taskforce Against Family Violence, along with Maori Party co-leader and local kaumätua Dr Pita Sharples.
Two years on and for Mayor Harvey, who announced details of the new billboard at the Police Association annual conference earlier this week, the commitment to rid the city of the “scourge of family violence” is as strong as ever.
“Family violence in this country continues on a daily basis with all too often fatal consequences and while many great things are happening in our community we cannot let up for a second. It has to stop and we have to be part of the solution.”
Meanwhile, Christine has applauded the decision to feature “ordinary Waitakere residents” in the promotion and hopes to add a youthful perspective to the campaign.
“I think it brings a more realistic approach the issue of family violence and by raising it as an issue on such a large scale, will help people be more familiar with it.”
She says family violence affects people of all ages and she hopes that through her involvement she can generate interest in the campaign among her peers.
The new billboard campaign is once again designed to raise awareness of family violence and help change attitudes and behaviour. While a bit daunted about having their faces on a large billboard the new “stars” say their appearance is testament to how strong they personally feel about the project.
“I just look at our daughter and how precious she is to us and know that if having my face on a billboard can make a difference and bring home the message that violence is not okay, then overcoming a bit of shyness is worth it,” says Michael Alofa, a resident in Henderson.
Wife Kelly is in charge of the family violence team at Henderson Police and also features on the billboard.
For Ngareta Renata, the concept of featuring people from different walks of society was a major factor in becoming involved with the campaign.
“I view husbands or wives and their children as pillars in family life. They are so much more important than a big house, a new car or even a job, they should be the rocks in ones life, something to cherish.”
Fiona Cunningham has worked in the mayor’s office at Waitakere City Council for more than four years and helped Mayor Harvey set up the Mayoral Taskforce.
The billboards will be in Railside Ave, Henderson and on Great North Rd in New Lynn and Great North Rd in Kelston from this weekend to December 31.

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